Sunday, December 27, 2009

All that and a bag of chips


Well Christmas has come and gone again. It is always amazing to me how it seems to take forever to get here and to prepare for and then in a flash it is gone. We had a good Christmas this year. In some ways it was hard, we had a huge void in our family this year with the absence of Braxton's cousin Lauren, who was tragically taken from us in a car wreck in May. I could hear her laughter and see her smile in every present opened.

This year Emma was absolutely hilarious! She has the best facial expressions of anyone in our family. This picture was taken after she got a new bracelet. She is a laugh a minute. I have tried to capture her saying or doing something on video but the minute I pull out my camera she clams up and acts like she has never done anything funny in her life. Ever.

We have spent the last few days relaxing, eating, playing games, eating, hanging with family, eating, sleeping late, eating. If we are nothing else we are consistent. I have also spent some time catching up on some blogs I like to read, while I am eating a snack :). If you want a good laugh you must go to http://boomama.net/ and read her blog from December 21st titled I have so many thoughts. Trust me it is worth the read/watch. I have laughed for the past 10 minutes. I wish I was that quick witted.

Happy New Year to all of my 5 readers! Can't believe it is 2010. We are hoping to be moving at the end of January to our new home. I will go by this week and take some updated pictures to share!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Future Embarrassment

Someday what I am about to blog about will embarrass my oldest son, it would probably embarrass him now if he read my blog. I don't write it to embarrass him I write it because I want to remember it and because I am his momma and recalling funny moments that are somewhat embarrassing is in our job description.

Saturdays during the winter are filled with basketball in the Brady household. Last Saturday was no different. Bennett had a game first and then Preston several hours later. We came home in between games to put Emma down for a nap. During the 3 hour lay over Preston comes in and asks me if he can take a shower. I said, son, in about 2 hours you are going to play basketball why in the world would you want to take a shower? He said, "I don't know, I just want to." Well, I thought an 11 year old that wants to be clean, why should I discourage him.

It was about 15 minutes later that I heard the choking coming from the bedroom. It was coming from Bennett so I was not too concerned, due to the fact that he is my more dramatic child. But I went to investigate nonetheless. As I walked in I began choking myself, on all the Right Guard Sport Deodorant spray. Preston was spraying enough deodorant to keep the entire Memphis region from having body odor. I am not exaggerating. There was a thin fog covering the room. I managed to wave my way through and find Preston on the other side. I said, sweet heart what are you doing? Bennett said, "MOM....make him stop, I am dying over here. "

Here was Preston's response. "I am becoming a man." I had no idea how to respond. A part of me wanted to laugh and a part of me wanted to cry. But before I could respond at all he said, Mom, look do you think I am growing pit hair? I said son, that stuff you are spraying is deodorant, not fertilizer, so I am not sure if you think it will help you grow pit hair or not but no need to spray anymore.

Sadly enough he is right. He is becoming a man. And I am learning more and more what that looks like and what my role is in the process. I am proud of him. He has a kind heart, a gentle spirit and absolutely no body odor!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Not So Tigeriffic....


So the past few days have been filled with news about Tiger Woods. And although I have never been one to really follow any sports figure much less comment on their life for some reason I can't get Tiger off my mind. Braxton and I talked last night about the latest rumors and mud slinging that has been in the media about Tiger. "He has cheated on his wife, several times apparently." One commentator said, "Tiger doesn't need to worry, his endorsements will still hang on to him." I hope that is not at the top of Tiger's worry list right now but who knows.

ESPN, The Today Show, ABC, NBC, etc...everyone is headlining this story. And for what? What is it that peaks our interest and consumes our conversation with something so tragic and sad. Is it that Superman in our minds has fallen off of his pedestal that we put him on? Is it that somewhere deep inside our souls we secretly are glad that he is not as perfect as he seems? Maybe a little more human like us? Is it that his sin brought into light makes us feel like maybe our sin is not quite as bad? Maybe he can hit a golf ball 350 yards, maybe he is the most unbelievable golfer the world has ever seen, but at the end of the day he is not as good of a person as we think we are? And therein lies the trouble.

Sin is sin. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It also says there is no one righteous, not one. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that some sinners are worse than others. That these sins are the "really bad ones" and these are the "okay" ones. No. Tiger is a sinner. No news flash there, or should I say it shouldn't be. We are all "spiritually bankrupt" and until we realize it and mourn over it we will continue to point fingers and make ourselves feel better by categorizing sin and throwing stones.

So what do you do with Tiger? Well, we should have never put him on a pedestal in the first place. But since we did we should not be surprised that he fell. He is not Superman after all at least not in life, maybe just on the golf course. We should get on our knees for two reasons, 1. To pray for him and his family and 2. To give God praise that we are spiritually bankrupt and because of that he sent his son to die for us that we might have life. I am going to drop my stone and walk away because my sin is no different than that of Tiger Woods. I am just guilty of doing the ones that are a little easier to hide.

"So instead of loving what you think is peace, love other men and love God above all. And instead of hating the people you think are warmongers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed—but hate these things in yourself, not in another.”
- Thomas Merton

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Not Just Any Ol' Moon



Last Thursday night I did something that someone who is in their 30's with children probably should not do. I went with 5 girlfriends to see New Moon, seeing the movie is not the problem. Seeing the movie at 12:06am and not getting into the bed until 3:30am....that is the the problem. Today is Sunday and I am still feeling the effects. In fact they seem worse today than any other day. I am exhausted. My body is saying, "please girl don't you know we passed this phase of life up years ago?" Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

We all met at Huey's first for some great hang out time plus a little quiz. My friend Ashleigh had some great review questions just to see which one of us really was the psycho, I mean fanatic. Tona won by a long shot. She even remembered Bella's birthday. After leaving Huey's we proceeded to the theater, which I would like to add here that they had 6 screens at the midnight showing of the film. All 6 were sold out. Some people are sick. Oh wait, maybe that was me, I was there too :).
The movie was actually pretty good. Much better than the first one. I would definitely recommend it. While we were all sitting at Huey's we began talking about how it is the "scenes" in life that you remember. The memory makers, not the day to day mundane stuff. I am grateful to have a life full of family and friends to create "scenes" with.

Braxton and I have been to a couple of parenting events lately and they all say that same thing. Create memories for your children. Give them experiences. When they are in their adult life they won't look back and remember how much laundry you did, how clean your house was, or if the lawn was neat and tidy but they will remember the experiences, the "scenes" you created for them.

I will forever remember the night I went with my girlfriends at midnight and watched New Moon. Thanks girls! Let's never be too old to make a memory like that!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

House Update

Our house is coming along great. This week they are finishing up the drywall. You will notice from this picture that there are two windows missing. That is on purpose. It is a new design technique that allows for a woodsy dark feel to your home. Just kidding. They are on back order and just have not come in yet. The big mound of dirt you see in the front of this picture is what Bennett refers to as the biggest ant hill EVER. Hopefully it will be gone soon, much to Bennett's dismay. He begs to jump in it every time we go by the house. But Bennett, what if there really are ants in there? It's okay mom, I am not allergic. The child has never been in an ant hill and has never been bitten by an ant to my knowledge but somehow he knows he is not allergic. Whatever. I personally think there is a better chance of mice being in there than ants. No real reason I think this, just the fact that our city has stopped killing mice or shall I say rats (cause letting disease infested rodents run rampant in a city makes great sense...here comes the rat flu, you watch) and one of our friends who lives on the street says he has had some in his house lately. Do mice like sandy dirt? Could someone google that for me and let me know, last time I googled some sort of creature (more specifically Camel Crickets) I had nightmares for weeks.

Sorry for the rambling. We are so ready to be back in the hood. Mom's house has been great and I really don't want to move before the holidays but if we could move in January that would be awesome. Today I was in the gym at Bennett's basketball practice and a kid from our neighborhood ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug. He said, "I have not seen you in FOREVER." It is good to feel loved like that. I hope he knows we love him just as much and can't wait to get back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Someday

Tonight I rub your back
because someday comes too soon
Tonight I sing you a song
because someday won't be long
Night Night blankies, toys and pacifiers
traded in for friends, dates and tires

Tonight I rub your back
because someday you won't ask me to
Tonight I sing you a song
because someday you'll be too busy for me to
Missing teeth, giggles and bedtime kisses
traded in for that special girl or prince charming wishes

Tonight I rub your back
because someday you'll be grown
Tonight I sing you a song
because someday I hope you'll have your own
Birthday cakes, buzz cuts, and pigtails
traded in for wedding cakes,tuxes, and veils

Tonight I rub your back
because someday comes too soon
Tonight I sing you a song
because someday won't be long

-Carrie Brady
written for my three beautiful children
I love rubbing your back and singing you songs
November 9,2009



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Risks

It was my 20th time into Sherwin Williams paint store. Okay maybe not 20th but close enough. I could not make a hard and fast decision about the exterior paint color of our home. I thought I had my mind set on something but if you have ever painted anything you know that sometimes what the paint color looks like on the little card is not necessarily what it looks like on your wall or on the siding of your home. But it was about 2 weeks ago when I had decided I was walking into this paint store for the last time. To decide an exterior color at least, I knew there would be more drama ahead for the interior but this was the final decision for the exterior. I had gone round and round between light browns, dark browns, medium browns, I was playing it safe. Because that is what I usually do. I am not generally a risk taker. I like control, organization, and safe colors thank you very much. But I had a weak moment and in what I would like to call, giving in to my builder(he wanted red all along), I took a risk. I went with red.

Now part of my worry was that this house already stands out enough, I did not need to paint it barn red to bring anymore attention to it. But I went with Rustic Red just to show I can be a little crazy every once in awhile. Well, last week the exterior was painted and it is absolutely gorgeous if I do say so myself. It has turned out better than I could ever have expected.

Tonight I was reading a newsletter from Bob Lupton. Bob started a ministry in Atlanta www.fcsministries.org a lot like the Binghampton Development Co in Memphis, in fact the BDC actually studied Bob's ministry before they got started. Braxton and I have a lot of respect for Bob. He is a very wise man with lots of "hood" experience. We even had the privilege of having him come to our home one time. He has written a book called Return Flight that I highly recommend. Anyway, in his newsletter this month he speaks of risks. Not paint color risks but real risks. It made me laugh because I realized that truly I have been a risk taker all along I was just wondrously covered in God's grace so much I did not even realize it.

This is what Bob says when speaking of cross-cultural ministry, "If we were aware of all the potential pitfalls, if we understood all the risks, if we waited until the way ahead was safe and predictable, we probably would never embark on the journey."

I am so glad that God did put some risk taker into this obsessive compulsive, type A, pick a safe color so your neighbors won't gawk, body. I am glad because so far this journey He has had us on for the past 4 years has been amazing and just like the red paint color of my home, it has been better than I could ever have expected.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Along Came a Spider


We like themes in the Brady household! So this year for Halloween our children went as a theme. Braxton wanted them to originally go as a Sonic combo, Emma the tater tots, Bennett the cheeseburger and Preston a route 44 drink. Well, two things about that. One, I don't sew and two I did not have the time or the money to put that little ditty together. So we went with option 2. Emma was a spider thanks to my aunt Laura and a great spider costume find at Marshall's. Preston was the spider web and Bennett was the exterminator. He wanted to be Dr. Toxic and he wore Preston's costume from 2 or 3 years ago when he was Dr. Toxic. But I told Bennett the exterminator was way more cool and he could carry around a squirt bottle labeled, THE EXTERMINATOR. He agreed but proceeded to go around the rest of the night and tell people that his costume doubled as "Dr. Toxic/The Exterminator." Kind of like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. And by the sugar high at the end of the night he was acting much like Jekyl and Hyde.

We had a fun night. We met over on our new street with the Parkinson family and three other families. We had pizza and then went over to a friend's neighborhood to trick or treat. Currently there is not much trick or treating in our neck of the hood but we plan on changing that next year when we move in. Braxton has great thoughts and plans on what we can do for the neighborhood to make it fun. Emma and her friend Romey were so cute together. Romey was a bird in a nest, Romey's mom does sew, so her costume was cute and creative.
The kids got a ton of candy. Emma was hilarious. As we approached the first house she took off running to the front door. Well she got tangled up in her costume and went flying through the air and landed on her belly. Luckily there was so much padding in the costume she was not hurt at all. She jumped right up and said, "I okay, I okay." And went right on up to the door. She then took some candy and started walking right in the person's home. I mean if they are nice enough to give out candy why not go in and sit awhile. It was so funny! It brought back memories of when Preston and our good friend Camille tried to do that when they were that age at the Dorman home. Luckily when that happened we knew the Dormans. I had no idea who these people were. Anyway, we grabbed her up and put her in her stroller to go to more houses. She was not interested. She just sat in her stroller and ate her skittles, very content with one bag. I kept trying to get her to go to more houses and then it occurred to me that I was encouraging gluttony in my 2 year old. So I let it go.

Halloween was also a treat in itself this year that if fell on a Saturday night, not a school night and it was time to turn our clocks back. So the sugar shock was able to wear itself off in plenty of time for church this morning.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Focus




The house is coming along well. I was glad to see the rain back again today because 3 or 4 days without it and I start missing it. Please hear the sarcasm dripping from that. Anyway, luckily most of the outside is done, with the exception of the roof being finished, a few windows, and some paint. So even when it is raining they should be able to get a lot done.

I am really enjoying the process, I know there are moments that are frustrating and I will probably run into more in the future but for now I have enjoyed building another home.

This past week my growth group Bible study was on focusing on things that are eternal and not temporal. I struggle with that. It is just so easy to see things here on earth and get caught up in them because they are tangible and we can literally see them. The study was a good reminder that our life is fleeting and most things only last for a moment.

I heard about a man yesterday who is 84 years old, still works 3 days a week and is currently in Uganda leading a dental clinic. Talk about a life not wasted. I think he gets it for sure. It would be the norm for him to be retired, enjoying doing nothing, traveling for his own pleasure, sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch somewhere, and I don't think anything of those things are wrong from time to time. But I do believe we are called to live for eternity and not for now. David Montague likes to say live for the line, not for the dot. Meaning all of our lives are a dot on a line, the line extends from the beginning of you life through eternity, the dot is your 70+ years on this earth.

Our new home will be an old home 100 years from now and possibly not even be there, it's temporary. But the relationships we build there, the way we share our faith, how we give ourselves away is eternal. I want to invest my time, resources and life wisely so that I live for things eternal and not temporal. I want to live for the line and not the dot.

What are you doing in your life right now that will make an impact in eternity? Is your focus on eternal things or temporary? I am going to start asking myself those two question more often.

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.

Double Whammy

Wednesdays are in general pretty good days. Busy and I try to cram everything I can into 5 hours, because this is when I am completely childless for a day, but a good day nonetheless. Yesterday started out pretty normal. I dropped Emma off at her PDO program, went to work out and then to run a few errands. I stopped to look at paint colors for our house and what I thought would take me 30 minutes ended up taking me almost an hour. Then I rushed down Poplar to pick up Emma, as I did I was running late, which at her PDO program they charge you by the minute if you are late...those three dots back there are my comment on how I feel about that.

Anyway, I got there and was informed that a babysitter of another child had picked up Emma's bag. So we did not have a cup, paci or anything on us. I wanted to ask if they could credit my minutes running late since they gave my child's bag away at the very least. She did have her "night night" on her which saved much blood shed. We then went to pick up Bennett where he greeted us with a big smile, he had received a DOUBLE WHAMMY Happy Gram. Now, I was not educated on the double whammy happy gram but he quickly caught me up to speed. Happy Grams are what the teachers at PDS give if you have had an exceptional day. Like if you have done something out of the ordinary, done really well in a subject, etc... Well, a double whammy is like receiving two of those, they are much coveted and rarely given out. Bennett received his DWHG for being the best vocalist in music practice for the grandparents day program. On a side note, I have no idea where he gets his singing voice, I cannot carry a tune in a bucket and Braxton is not that much better. So we were elated for him!

Here is where it starts going down hill. We get home and I am tired, the kids are hungry, Emma Sanders is in a horrible mood, Bennett has a melt down about a happy meal toy, and then it gets really bad. I start cooking supper. That is not the bad part :) My mom walks in and decides that I should not cook on the front burner of the stove but on the back. She picks up the pan and places it on the back burner (I keep wanting to say eye, but I am not sure if it is really spelled eye). I then walk in the kitchen a few minutes later pick up a pot holder to check on the tenderloin in the oven, then put the pot holder on the eye, the one that is still on, but I did not realize it. I walk into the den and about 5 minutes pass. I start to smell something burn. I head back into the kitchen and see smoke bellowing out from under the pot holder. I literally stand there for a few minutes in shock then proceed to pick up the smoldering pot holder and run out the back door. My throat was burning and I was coughing, no joke, that is how much smoke there is. All I could really think is, great, I am burning my mom's house down. Now we all are going to be homeless.

My mom comes running from the back, semi-freaking out. She grabs every box fan she owns, which is 2, and turns them on high. I am still outside hacking. She then opens the back door for air to flow, because none, and I mean none of the windows in her house open. The cat runs in the back door, now this is important because we have spent the last 6 weeks keeping the cat outside due to Preston's allergies and asthma. Braxton and Preston walk in the door about the same time all of this is happening. Braxton starts chasing the cat, my mom's kitchen is still covered in smoke, and I am trying to decide whether I should laugh or cry.

We manage to get everything under control, get the kitchen aired out and still had dinner by 8pm. It was at dinner that I really laughed out loud because Preston goes hey, guess what? I got a Happy Gram today for the best vocalist in the 5th grade! I think God just knew my night was going to be hard and since he has a great sense of humor, both of my children got vocalist of the day yesterday.

I felt like yesterday was a DOUBLE WHAMMY in more ways than one.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gimme A Break



I used to love this show growing up. It was one of my favorites, I remember thinking that I wished Nell could come live at our house. I still wish she could :)

The Bradys took a break over fall break. It was amazing. We traveled to the Great Smokey Mountains. We enjoyed fresh air, blue skies and gorgeous mountaintop views. It was a good getaway for us as well as for my mom. I think she enjoyed having her house to herself.

We spent one day in Gatlinburg eating, playing, riding an Alpine slide down the mountain, riding a chair lift up a mountain, etc... We also walked along downtown and as we did we came upon a magician. He was set up in front of his magic shop and doing shows every hour or so. We decided to take a rest and watch.
Preston was chosen from the crowd to go up on stage and help with one of his tricks. The particular trick happened to be cutting Preston's head off. Preston was such a great sport. At one point as he has Preston's neck in this contraption he said, "Is there anyone that objects to me performing this trick?" Then without being told to do so, Preston raises his hand. It was hilarious, the crowd went nuts. The basket you see in the picture here is one that he placed below Preston to catch his head, he took off the top and a fake head popped out. Poor Preston, he jumped up and lifted that entire contraption with him, once again, he was a great sport, he just smiled and laughed with everyone else.

It really was a good break. All of my pictures are up at www.bradybunch2.smugmug.comWe were excited to get home and see the progress on the house. It really is coming along. The siding is going on this week along with the roof. We are continually amazed by God's provision and grace.

Please continue to pray for our family as we build and prepare to go back to the hood. We really do miss it. Our friends, the Parkinson's, moved in a couple of weeks ago and now my kids are really excited to get back and have friends on their street.

Hopefully I will get by there this week and take some updated pictures.



Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Purpose = "Going Back This Way"

Yesterday Bennett and I were on the way to check on some things at the new house. I had picked him up from school and we had discussed the events of the day. He had a great day with the exception of telling me that he did not like the pizza in his lunch. Might I add here, I told him not to take pizza in his lunch because he would not be able to heat it up, he disagreed and I decided to let him see for himself. There are lessons best learned by experience. Needless to say I don't think he will take pizza again.

I was driving back towards our neighborhood and he got really quiet. I noticed because the child is usually NEVER quiet. After a few minutes he said, "Mom, I will be glad when we are going back this way." It took me a minute to understand what he was saying. I said, "Oh, Bennett you mean when we are coming home this way everyday?" He replied, "Yeah Mom, I miss it."

He went on to tell me how he misses his friends, Ms. Freddie Mae, Dennis (two of the greatest next door neighbors ever.) I told him that we missed it too.

It made me start thinking, I think if he could verbalize it well he would say that he misses what our life is about in Binghampton. How everyday is filled with a sense of purpose and wonder. How each day we live there we talk to our kids about what it means to step out in faith, to share Jesus with others and to build relationships that go beyond the surface. About forgiveness, mercy and grace. We are all created with that deep longing for purpose, for our life to mean more than just mere existence.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think you have to live in the hood to have purpose. But I do think we are all called and challenged to find purpose each and everyday regardless of where you are. We were created by a loving creator who created us with a "work to do." A purpose in this life, one that is filled with excitement, challenges, wonder and gratitude. That is why our family motto is "Taking Initative for the Benefit of Others"

I am glad my kids are getting opportunities at young ages to understand their purpose. This life is not about us. We were made for so much more. Even my six year old gets it and can't wait to be "going back this way."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Movin' On Up



When Braxton calls my cell phone his ring is the theme song to The Jeffersons "Movin' On Up."

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.Movin on up
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don't fry in the kitchen;
Beans don't burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin'
Just to get up that hill.
Now we're up in the big leagues
Gettin' our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it's you and me baby
There ain't nothin wrong with that.

I just got that song stuck in your head didn't I? There are actually several reasons for this. There are a lot of little inside things to this song that mean something to me. I will give you a few. One is that there are two sides to Binghampton, a East side and a West side, we live on the East side. Another is that what the world sees as movin' on up and what the Bradys see as movin' on up are two completely different things. (Matthew 6:19-20) I have never really understood the whole fish fryin' or bean burning thing so there is nothing there that has any meaning but I like the song nonetheless.

This week we literally started movin' on up on our house building. It has been so fun to watch. In fact I am a little on the obsessed side and every time I even get near the street my car has some sort of strange magnetic pull that forces me to go look at the house. Weird. Anyway, it has come a long way in a week but I am not naive' to think that it will all go this fast. I am very aware of how the outside goes up really fast and then the inside moves somewhat like a slug.

And if I did not know, I would have figured it out this week because everyone that I have told that they started the framing has said, "Oh, let me tell you this part goes so fast and then the inside takes FOREVER.(they literally say that word like that)" Thank you encouraging friends. Don't call me, I will call you the next time I need a reality check.

There is a spider that lives in my mom's backyard. A huge spider I might add. A couple of weeks ago my mom was outside at like 0 dark thirty (5:30am) and saw his huge web that goes perfectly with his huge body. She commented on it and said we needed to show my kids.
Well that night we walk in the backyard and it is gone. About an hour later she is back outside and she comes in and says, "you have got to come see this." So we walk back outside and this same spider is spinning his web. It was amazing how big it had gotten in such a short amount of time. So I run back inside and grab my camera.

Now this picture does not do justice to the size of the spider or his home. It literally spanned about 8 feet wide between two trees and his body was about the size of a quarter, no lie. And he literally spun this baby in about 5 minutes. It was really cool to watch. And a little bit on the scary side, I mean should this dude decide to come inside, not even going to go there. Just know that this blog would end because I don't think you can blog from heaven.

Now I say all that to say, wouldn't it be awesome if our house could go up that fast? It is here where my very witty husband would say the chances are "slim to none and slim has left the building." Hopefully with the spider :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mouth Breather


Exciting times in the Brady/Lockwood home this past week. Bennett lost his first tooth. It had been hanging by a root for days but if you will remember from a previous blog the matter of teeth makes me weak in the knees. He would come home everyday and say "Mom, look at this I can push it almost all the way over with my tongue." I would respond and say, Bennett, I told you I don't like to talk about things like that. Seriously, it makes me queazy. So Thursday night he got his dad to pull it. It just simply one of those things I cannot do. He was super excited and could not wait to put his tooth under the pillow for the tooth fairy, who has still not stopped by. What can I say, she is a slacker and does not easily remember those things which make her nauseous to think about. I told Bennett tonight (Sunday, 3 nights later, nice)that I think the tooth fairy did not realize we had moved and if he would put it under his pillow one more time I was sure she would come. Promise.

Last week in school Bennett's teacher stopped Braxton in the hall to tell him about a conversation that she and Bennett had. It went something like this...

Miss Glenn: Boys, stop talking, I mean no talking at all. I don't even want to see your mouth move. If I see your mouth move, I will assume you are talking.

(Bennett raises his hand)

Miss Glenn: Yes, Bennett

Bennett: Miss Glenn, I just wanted you to know that I am a mouth breather and so my mouth might move when I am breathing and I just did not want you to think I am talking, I am just breathing.

(Miss Glenn walks out of the room because she is laughing.)

We are not sure where he comes up with what comes out of his mouth. He is the funniest 6 year old we know, that is for sure. I am so grateful for his quick wit and joyful personality. I just hope it does not keep him in trouble.

He does think however, that the newly acquired hole in the bottom row of his teeth will help with the whole "mouth breathing" issue. Look mom, I can breathe right through this tooth and I can fit a Capri Sun straw in there too!

Who knew he was multi-talented.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Do For Sister


Our little Billy Ray as we had started to call her due to her lovely mullet(pic above) got a new do today. I have been working up to it for a long time. I had people on both sides either telling me not to do it or to do it. When her daddy said, "get the child's hair cut" I decided it was time to pull the trigger. It seriously was a little bit of a stringy mess. Bless her she has received my genes of baby fine hair. So today was the big day. I took her to Neuvo, which is where I go. Jodie does an amazing job and since she has children herself I knew she would do great with Emma.

My sweet friend Meredeth once again saved the day by going with us. She lugged all the gear, video camera, digital camera, diaper bag, etc...I must mention here that I was prepared for the worst. I even wore a white shirt in case I started sweating profusely. I totally expected flailing arms, stiff back, weeping and gnashing of teeth if you will. But sister stepped up to the plate. She even seemed excited to be there. Like she could get used to the idea of being pampered (that's my girl.) And pampered she was. While in the chair she received a cookie, cup of water, a comb in which she got to brush Jodie's hair, some clips and LOTS of attention.

She did not shed one tear the whole time. And then when she was done she walked around the salon like she was the queen that everyone was waiting to see. She was walking up to strangers saying hello, telling people she is "almost two", etc... I was blown away by how well she did. Her hair looks adorable and I am so glad I went through with it. I see lots of salon mother daughter dates for us in the future. Just wait until she learns about a mani/pedi!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let's Recap

Lately I have run into a few people that had no idea that we had even moved. Not sure if that is my fault or theirs but nonetheless I thought it might be a good time for a recap. If you want to read the story in it entirety you can find it on a previous blog called New Adventure. I am going to spare you from all the gory details and just give a list of the main stuff going on in our life.

1. After living in our home in Binghampton for 3.5 years and much prayer the decision was made to move and build a new home. Old hood, New home. Ummm..that might could be a new reality series...

2. We sold our house way faster than we thought we would without starting to build our new home. (Which I might add here, that some skeptics said we would never be able to sale our home and if we did we would end up in the red, well we sold it and made some money, God is way bigger than any skeptic I know.)

3.We needed a place to go. I talked to mom and asked her what she thought about 5 new roommates :)

4. September 1st we closed on our old home, closed on our new lot and closed on a construction loan. Big Day. Oh...wait, even bigger day was the day before when we moved 90% of our stuff to storage and 10% to my mom's.

5. We have been at mom's for 3 weeks now and are starting to feel settled. Everyone seems to be adjusting well. Even the cat that had to find a new home (another Oprah show for another day, thank you Jerry Wing. )

6. We hope to be in our new home sometime in January, back in the hood where we belong.

Here are a few lessons we have learned along the way and are still learning:

1. Patience is a virtue and a pain in the rear to learn
2. The rain will put off construction on a new home
3. Camel crickets are hairy and big and if you have one then you have 10,000(don't ask)
4. James Pest Control knows how to kill camel crickets
5. Sometimes a good thing can turn into bad thing if you make it the best thing
6. My kids LOVE the trampoline at Nanach's house
7. Purging is good when it comes to stuff

So thanks for the prayers and words of encouragement, or the look of shock and awe I get when I tell people we are living with my mom and our 22 month old is sharing a room with us. It actually has not been bad at all, we are grateful and are looking forward to the future.




Sunday, September 20, 2009

What You Must Know About My Momma






One of the things that you currently know about my momma is that we live with her. Only for a "few seasons" says my middle child. He is learning all about seasons in school and so instead of referring to how many months we are going to live here he says "seasons." He was at first saying 6 seasons but we said..umm..no, hopefully just two, fall and winter. I digress...

There are a few other things you need to know about my momma. I could list about a thousand things that I love about her but I have whittled down the list to 2 for now. I am sure I will blog about more in the future. These are by no means the most important things about her but important nonetheless. Are you ready?

1. She is very spontaneous and does not like "plans"
2. She LOVES Willie Nelson...(I remember being a little girl and singing Willie songs on our tape player, 8 track.)

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago I found out that Willie Nelson was coming to Mud Island in Memphis. And for a little, thank you, for allowing our family of 5 to invade her space I decided to surprise her with tickets. See the two things she loves, surprises and Willie, I am a good daughter. :)

Last night was the big night. We got on our cowboy boots and proceeded downtown with the rest of the Memphis redneck community, which is quite large I might add, and prepared ourselves for a good ol' time. We had a great time! Her friend Anita went with us. We laughed and sang and enjoyed the break from the Memphis flooding that has been going on for the past week. It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert. (Except for the humidity and the fact that my hair looks like a frizzy Texas hair model when it is humid, oh wait, never mind, I fit right in.) Here are a few observations that I thought you might enjoy:

1. There are a whole lot of really hairy men in Memphis that happen to be Willie Nelson fans.
2. There was one particular woman who thought she was at
a worship concert and proceeded more than once to raise her hands or clap in worship of Willie. (Seriously)
3. If you ever buy tickets to a Willie Nelson concert know this, he plays for about 45 minutes and then he is done. He finishes his last song, waves to the crowd and then literally gets on his bus and moves out. No coming back, no matter how long or loud the crowd chants Willie. And drunk people can chant really LOUD for a really LONG time.
4. There are a lot of people who apparently care more about Willie Nelson than they do dental hygiene. I am not being ugly, that is just the truth, I saw it with my own eyes.
5. Even if the venue tells you not to bring a camera in, you can do it anyway, about 3,000 flashes were going off last night, when the sign clearly said, "no cameras." We were one of the rule breakers but we used it to take pictures of ourselves and not Willie, so I think that makes it okay.


All in all it was a good girls night out. I hope mom knows how much I appreciate and love her. Not every daughter would brave the hairy drunk crowd just to let their momma know...you are a good hearted woman...



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Someone is Always Watching


We are wrapping up another weekend. It was a good one with a little strep throat sprinkled on top. :( Emma started running a fever Saturday and by the time 8pm arrived she was having a very bad, no good, horrible day. Running 101.6, crying, clingy and looked awful. We managed to get her in the bed and about 3am she woke up crying and coughing like a seal, if you are a momma you know the kind of cough I am talking about. It is a barky cough (if barky is a word.) I opened up the freezer and we stood there for awhile until she could get under control, her fever at this point was 102. A little tylenol, a little freezer time and two hours later she was back in the bed. Took her to the doctor this afternoon and she has strep. Which is actually a relief because I thought she either had croup or flu and you can't treat those with antibiotics like you can strep. So needless to say the weekend did not end up as well as it started. But let me just tell you how it started...

Friday night our family met up with 3 other families at a local pizza place. The Parkinson(moving down the street from us) family, The Trotter(sweet friends who are great prayer warriors)family, The Bridges(Avery is our builder) family and us. We had a great time hanging out and spending time together but there was a bigger meaning behind our fellowship. We left the pizza place and headed to our new street. The first stop was the Parkinson's new home which they will be moving into in about a month. We took a tour and then spent about 30-45 minutes praying over their new home. Praying for patience, joy, encouragement and safety. We then loaded up all the kids in our mini-van and drove a block down and stopped at our lot. All the kids (all 8 of them) sat in our van and watched a movie while the adults got out and prayed over our lot. We prayed for Avery Bridges, we prayed for laughter in the walls of our home, for hospitality and understanding and for people to see a difference in the families that will inhabit that street. Then a few of the adults went over and prayed over the Crenshaw(our old friends and neighbors who are building across the street from us, they could not join us but will next time) lot. While we were praying several people stopped, some we knew and we spent some time talking to them and telling them what we were doing. Some we had no idea who they were but they were watching. I have no idea what they were thinking but I hope they saw glimpses of light as we prayed over that street and over them. It was an amazing time and makes me really want to be back in the hood.

Saturday morning and afternoon we spent time on the football field. PDS had their annual jamboree and Preston played a mini game and then Bennett had his first flag football game of the season. His team did not win but you should have seen him. He was grinning from ear to ear and when they did score their one touch down at the end of the game you would have thought they had just won the national championship. They all jumped on top of the kid that scored and cheered and laughed. After the game we talked about what a great attitude Bennett had even though they lost. We told him that people watch you all the time and watch your reactions and that we were proud of him for being such a good sport.


I just finished reading an article on Serena Williams and how she threatened a line judge at the US Open semi finals last night. The youtube video is above. After watching the display of her actions it looked to me like an almost two year old I know throwing a tantrum when she doesn't get her way. (Exhibit A)
Now I also would like to point out that to me it does not look like a "foot fault" it looks like her foot is behind the line when she serves but that is not really the point. The point is someone is always watching. Regardless if you are famous like Serena, Tiger Woods or Paris Hilton or if you are a group of friends praying over a street laden with drugs, poverty and crime or if you are a 6 year old who just lost his first flag football game 24-6, someone is watching. And whether or not it is fair they are making judgments on your character, maturity and beliefs.

I hope that my kids did a lot of watching themselves this weekend. I hope they saw what it means to be a family and to be intentional where you live and to live out what God calls your family to do. My prayer for this week is that my actions will shout to the people around me that I am a Christ follower and that my life is not about me but all about Him.



Sunday, September 6, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words

Do you remember a few blogs ago when I talked about starting a new school year and Preston and Bennett having words for the year? Preston's word was Honesty and Bennett's was Obedience? Well, I thought I would give you an update on how that is going.

In 1st grade at PDS you move a bus according to your behavior. Your bus starts out on green everyday, (thank you Lord for new mercies each morning) and if you misbehave or have an "issue" then your bus moves to yellow and then if it continues to happen it could move to red. Bennett has done a little traveling in his bus this first few weeks of school. After day two of moving to yellow, he walks in and gently slings (because he knows the consequences of throwing) his book bag down and says, "I don't have any trouble with these hands, it's this mouth." At least he knows the root of the problem. We have a long talk about the importance of not talking when you are not supposed to be talking. I think, so far so good, until today when we run into our good friend and pastor of our church, whose son happens to be in Bennett's class room. He smiles and says, "I hear Bennett and Myles were co-conspirators this week in school and got in a little trouble." I wish you could have seen the look on Bennett's face, it was a mixture of shock and one that said, "I thought this preacher guy was a guy you could trust." Needless to say, we have had another talk. I am still not clear on the whole story of what happened but somehow Bennett did not have to move his bus. If I had to guess he probably pulled the sympathy card, with "we just moved and I am having a hard time." Trust me, he has used this before. Remember? It is not his hands but his mouth...

Preston on the other hand has lived up to his full potential of "Honesty." Last week in school during one of his classes he raised his hand and when the teacher called on him this is what he said, "Ms. X (not her real name but I will protect the innocent here) all those rumors about you are not true, I think you are real nice." Bless him. His next word is "Filter."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Beneficiaries




Well well well...we are moved, in with my momma that is. This has been one crazy and long week. Seriously this could probably be two or three blogs but I will spare you from all the gory details. It all started last Saturday and Sunday when we started to pack up and move to mom's. We finished Sunday night about 10:30pm. Exhausted and still have not recovered. My in laws picked up our kids Sunday afternoon and brought them back to our house about 8 on Sunday night. By this time our entire house was empty except for that last few loads of stuff when you are like, what? Where did this stuff come from? Why are my material possessions making babies and every time I turn around there is a new pile? Anyway, my kids come home and Emma runs to her room and the bottom falls out. It was heart breaking. How do you explain to a 21 month old that she is moving and no, no one has stolen all your stuff we have just moved it and in about 6 months we are going to do it all over again. Sad. Anyway, she went bananas and then would not let me out of her sight. So we all got in the car and traveled over to Nanach's house, (that is what my kids call my mom, another blog for another day.) We got inside and I could not put her down. She was crying and would literally not peel herself away from me. So I did what any mother would do. I sat on the couch and cried with her. We both just sat and cried for about 30 minutes. It felt good. There is a part of me that will forever be with that Hopkins house. It is a huge part of our faith journey and there are memories there that will never be forgotten. I am grateful for our time there and grateful for new adventures in the hood.

Monday I woke up and was paralyzed with an overwhelming sense of not knowing where any of my belongings were. I am a very OC type person and for me not to be organized and to be living in chaos about puts me over the edge. I would like to send out a big thank you to my friend Meredeth who kept me from going insane by coming over with a chick fil a sweet tea and biscuit. I love you Mere and am forever indebted to you. I also had to make a Target run with Bennett and Emma, which was a disaster from the beginning. Basically I had to buy so much stuff that Emma would not fit in the basket which she thought was wonderful and proceeded to run around and grab everything she laid eyes on. At the end she was walking out with a Milkyway candy bar and as I was paying the lady behind the counter said, "umm where you going to pay for that?" I wanted to respond and say, "no, I bring my 2 year old to shop lift the candy bars while I have you distracted paying the $300 for all of these other items." I refrained with some great self control and said yes, and ate the candy bar as soon as I could. It was so worth it.

Tuesday we finally closed on the house. Praise the Lord!!! It felt good and weird all at the same time. I took the keys over to Marcus after we signed the papers and stopped to hug a few of my neighbors on the way out. Sweet sweet relationships, that's what happens in the hood that the media does not report on.

Wednesday Preston came home with a fever and a cough. I was sure we had the swine flu but we do not. Just a bad viral cold. Truthfully I think all of our bodies are wearing down from the stress of the move. It's funny but when you tell people you are moving, not one single person looks at you and says, oh, that's great, but everyone says...bless your heart. And here is the bad part this is just phase I, we have to do it all over again.

So this week is coming to a close and I have learned a lot. A lot about friendships, what stress can do to a body, how a 2 year old responds to a move, and how to roll with the punches of not being organized. But here is the greatest lesson of all. Last week I heard someone read

Psalm 103:2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

That one verse has carried me through every emotion this week. We are beneficiaries and beneficiaries of the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. So when I am tired, wanting to cry, scream or whatever I remember who I belong to, what it cost Him, and how I benefit from it. And if nothing else good ever happens in my life, He has done enough.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stone of Remembrance


Today "The Beast" came down. It actually started on Monday, it has been a three day process and actually I think they still have more to do tomorrow. We have watched the process all week long. I would drive by twice a day and take pictures of the work in progress. In some ways it was kind of sad to watch. It was a big ol' boy of a tree and if it had been in the back of the lot it would have made a wonderful tree house.

Today when we drove by they were cutting the last part down. We watched for a minute and then rushed home to get my camera. I had already told the boys that I was going to get out of the car and go ask for a piece of the wood. Braxton and I both think it is important to have "stones of remembrance." It is another way we can be intentional with our kids. We share with them that in the Bible when the Israelites were crossing the Jordan River that the Lord told Joshua to take 12 stones one for each tribe and place them on the other side as a way to remember all that the Lord had done for them. "And someday when your children ask you, what do these stones mean...you can tell them the Lord your God did..." Joshua 4:19-23.


I got out of the car and took a couple of pictures and then proceeded to walk up to the workers to ask for a piece of the tree. It is important to note here that they spoke very little English and I speak very little Spanish. I told the one who spoke the most, which was like 4 words that I knew he would think I was crazy but I would like a piece of wood to have as a memory because I was building a house on that lot and I wanted to be able to tell my children about it someday. As you can see that was way more than 4 words. I think he understood crazy and tree. I pointed and spoke a little louder, because that helps when there is a language barrier, and he finally got the picture. He reached over and gave me a piece of the wood. I smiled and said gracias, that is the one word I speak and went back to the car. I explained to my children how this piece of wood would serve as a reminder of one of the many ways God provided for us in Binghampton.

We then tried to count the rings on the piece to see if we could tell how old it was. We got to 57 and then it was too hard to see them. We came home and I put the piece of wood in my bedroom. About 4 hours later I walked in the bedroom to do something and smelled a foul odor. I mean foul! Did you know that wood stinks that bad? Oh my goodness, like major dirty diaper/wet dog bad. Not to mention that my mom said there were probably microscopic bugs living in my little "memory stone" and she could not believe I had even brought it in. So as of right now our stone of remembrance is sitting outside on the front porch. :)
Then Samuel took a stone and set it ... and named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." I Samuel 7:12

Monday, August 24, 2009

My kids make me sweat

I am not sure if I have a gland problem or if it is truly my kids fault. I also can't remember if the sweating was happening before I had children or came shortly thereafter. Those of you that don't have kids yet take note and see if you tend to sweat in situations where no one else seems to be sweating. If you are not and then you have child #1 and start to sweat, well I would stop there, it gets worse.

My first real sweating incident occurred in 2004. Bennett was about 17 months and I was taking him for his 3rd or 4th haircut in his lifetime. My kids are horrible at these. I mean HORRIBLE. They scream, cry, swing their arms, stop breathing, the whole nine yards. Well, I knew this would be the case so I decided to try a new tactic, I would sit him in my lap and hold him. Maybe that would comfort him and it would not be such a bad experience. I also need to mention here that it was mid-August and hot as all get out in Memphis. I was wearing a sun dress (you need to know this fact later in the story.) So I sat down and put Bennett in my lap. I immediately began to apologize to the stylist explaining to her that this would be a nightmare of an experience and she would probably quit her job when we left. She proceeded to cut his hair and the wailing began. He bucked and kicked and screamed like he was being beat. He cried so hard at one point that he sucked in a huge wad of hair and then began to choke and almost vomit. I began to sweat and I mean sweat like a man. The back of my hair was wet, my under arms were dripping wet, it was bad. Well she finally finished and gave him a sucker, which bothered me a bit, why would we reward such behavior but whatever. I was thinking if he gets a sucker momma gets a whole bottle of wine. Well at this point I started to stand up and dust the air off of my lap and it was at that moment when I turned around that I realized I had left two sweat rings in the shape of my bottom on the chair. I immediately turned to the stylist and asked for her towel, she said, "oh no, it's okay, I will get it." The problem was she had no idea what "it" was. I was mortified. And as if I was not sweating before now I was pretty sure I was sweating about as much as a marathon runner does. I hurried out and left an extra big tip when I paid.

Today was not as bad as that but it came close. I took Emma with me to the grocery store. She is awful at the store. She screams and tries to climb out of the basket. I again start sweating as all eyes look at me. Today I gave in and bought a package of Oreos just to keep her quiet. Then people were really looking at me like I was a bad mother. You know what? You do what you have to do. As we were getting in line I stepped in some water and slid about a quarter of a mile through the check out line. I recovered only to have the grocery clerk look at me and roll her eyes. No joke. I wanted to say something ugly but to make my husband proud, I didn't. I did notice the sweat rings under my arms when I got in the car.

There are some things that you say you will never do. For example my husband announced to me this weekend that he will never wear a white short sleeve button down, never. As we left the grocery I told Emma I was never taking her to the grocery again. Obviously that is not as true as my husband not wearing a short sleeved white shirt but I have decided this. The next time I take her I am wearing a stronger deodorant. www.ceraindri.com I make no money from this company but I do know it works and if you have a mommy sweating problem like I do, feel free to try it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Ripple or a Splash?



About a month ago one of the teaching pastors of our church, John Bryson, talked about our funerals in the text of his sermon. "Will you leave a ripple or a splash on this earth?" Will people forget about you several hours after you are gone or will you have created this ripple of a legacy reaching out to generations to come? Will there be generation upon generations who know of the Lord and his goodness because of how you lived while on this earth?

Braxton's grandmother passed away on Thursday, August 20,2009. Ruth Brady was one of the most kind, caring and gentle women I have ever met. She loved Jesus, her family and her friends dearly. She always had a smile on her face, a smile that would light up a room. Seriously, I have been married to Braxton for 12 years and I don't remember ever seeing her without a smile. She was so full of energy and life. She was hilarious too! I remember going to see her in Nashville and we would pick her up and take her shopping. She loved to shop. She would wear me out walking all over the Opry Mills mall, I would be almost running to keep up with her. One time we spent about an hour in the Dress Barn, one of her favorite shops. She picked out about 8 outfits, tried them all on, modeled them for me and then decided she did not need a thing! She would look at me with those bright eyes and big smile and say, "Carrie, I love shopping with you."

Today at her service it was obvious the people's lives that she had touched. The gospel was shared during the service, just like she would have wanted it. Every time we would spend time with her she would share something that God had taught her or just tell me how good He had been to her. She was a blessed woman, not because of material possessions but because she had an eternal hope. A hope that she shared with many. Ruth Brady left a ripple. I have no doubt that people will be talking about her for years to come, her compassion, her generosity, her love for others and for her Savior.

I hope I live my life like Ruth Brady, generous, energetic, in love with Jesus, and caring for others. I pray that I leave a ripple and not a splash. She did.


We will miss you Grandmother but thank you for the legacy you left and for the smile that I remember every time I close my eyes and think of you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jitters




This week school started for my kiddos. They were excited, I was thrilled. They started yesterday and today was their first full day. Tuesday night we had a small case of the jitters. Probably more excitement than jitters but you could tell by some of the questions there was a tad bit of nervousness.
"Mom, where do you think my locker will be?"
"Do you think I will sit next to the same friend I sat to last year?"
"Mom, do you think I can pass the first grade?"
"Is changing classes hard?"

I love the innocence and truth of children. I also love my husband dearly and his intentionality with our children and with me. You see, not only have my kids had the jitters this week but I have as well. We have had a few minor set backs with the closing of our home and just the packing, starting a new school year, trying to be organized, trying to control everything, well it creates...jitters. So Tuesday night, my amazing godly husband feeling the jitters in the air took charge. We put Emma Sanders in the bed and then just me, Braxton and the boys went into their room. We talked a few minutes and answered those questions and then Braxton told my boys that each of them had a word for the year.

"Preston your word this year is honesty. In everything you do son be honest, no matter if you mess up, fail a test, whatever, just be honest. It doesn't mean there won't be consequences but we can move past anything if you are honest. Bennett, your word for the year is obedience. In everything you do be obedient. Do what your teacher asks of you the first time." We then held hands and prayed a precious prayer for the new school year.

As we were praying, I felt this amazing peace come over me. I think those words are for all of us. Honest and Obedient. So as I have been praying through my anxiousness of house stuff I am learning to be honest with my Father about my fears and learning to be obedient to Him, knowing that patience is part of obedience.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lumber Yards and Gunfire

This week I have been cleaning out clutter and packing boxes. While doing those two things I have had some moments of reminiscing over this house. I can hardly believe it has been 3.5 years since we moved in. In some ways it feels like yesterday and in someways it feels like we have been here forever.

We have gotten used to some things in the neighborhood and some things I don't think we will ever get used to and probably shouldn't. A couple of nights ago I heard gunfire as I was getting ready for bed. I don't hear it as much anymore, not sure if it is just happening less or it is like living next to train tracks, after awhile you just don't hear it anymore. I did hear it the other night and it made me think of our first night here.

We were worn out from moving but as I laid in bed that first night I could not go to sleep. I laid there wide awake being amazed at God and how much he had done in my heart to get me to this place of "rest." I was excited about our new adventure and truly felt blessed that God would allow us to be in this neighborhood to do some exciting things. It was about 3-4am when I heard the first bang. Followed by several more bangs in the next few minutes. I closed my eyes and began to pray. Was this an attack from Satan? Was I being tested for just feeling a few minutes before confident about my new surroundings and responsibilities? As I prayed I felt a sense of calm and peace wash over me and I fell asleep.

The next morning I had almost forgotten all about the gunfire when I saw my friend and neighbor Kim down the street. I walked over to ask her if she had heard the gunfire. She and her husband Nathan moved into Binghampton a couple of years before we did, so I felt sure she would give me words of comfort and reassurance. As I explained to her what I had heard and what time it was, she broke out in this big grin on her face. "Oh, I forgot to tell you, you know that lumber yard at the end of our street?" "Well, they get a delivery every day of lumber at about that time, it sounds just like gunfire." I did not know whether to laugh or cry! I asked her to please make a list of any other important items such as that one that might be beneficial to a newcomer in the hood.

Well we have come a long way from lumber yard noises. I have chased a kid down for stealing a $10 scooter (ridiculous, I know), I have been stared down by an angry grandmother who did not want her grandson in my backyard, and I have been to court to be a character witness for one of our neighbors, just to name a few.

I am glad that God gives us opportunities to laugh and learn all at the same time. I know so many people reading this probably think we are crazy and on some level we are. And even though there is not a specific scripture that says, "Go be crazy for Jesus," I believe that you find it all in the new testament. I believe that the apostle Paul yells it out to Timothy in I and II Timothy.

12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress... I Timothy 4:11-15

So your crazy may not be my crazy. God may not call you to live in the hood, he may not call you over seas, but I do believe he calls us to be crazy. Crazy in love with him, so much so that when the world looks at the things we are doing for his glory and honor, they can clearly see the radical difference in us and it points them to the one who did the craziest thing of all and died to save us.

Be crazy today!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Family Beach Vacation


We just got back from a wonderful vacation at the beach. It was so fun! The kids had a great time and were so good. Preston and I enjoyed some great time out in the ocean catching fish with his net, the water was amazingly clear. Bennett and I tried surfboarding, ummm, lets just say, I am too old and too fat. Bennett on the other hand did great. Emma was not crazy about the sand but each day she got a little braver. We went with Grandad and Mom Mom as my kids call them.

One night we took the boys to a
restaurant called Poppy's. It has a great atmosphere and the kids loved it. The waiter was awesome and brought out a live lobster and let us hold it and the kids sword fight with it. He then told us that when cooked it would cost $180. I promptly took the lobster and put him back on the tray. I could just picture one of my kids dropping that and having to pay for a dead lobster. I had a plan if that happened, we were going to bring that sucker home and put him in a glass case and make up a good story about how Preston and I caught him. Luckily, the lobster made it back in his tank.

We had some great quality family time and it was good to get away right before school starts. We did get a phone call from Marcus, who is buying our home, while we were there and he said the bank has set a closing date for August 18th. We also got a call from our bank saying that our house plans had come back with a great appraisal and so all is set for our construction loan to start on the new home.

We drove back Saturday. Let me tell you the ride from Water Sound, Florida to Memphis, TN feels like about 24 hours in the car when you have kids. The boys were actually pretty good, well until about 4 hours left. Then they started fussing, asking when are we going to get home and Emma was screaming to "unbuck" that is what she say for unbuckle, every 5 seconds. I am pretty sure Satan has all of those sounds on a loop and plays them. Speaking of Satan, one funny moment on the ride home, this gave us a chuckle and made the ride a little more bearable. Somewhere in the state of Alabama is a sign that says, "Go to Church or Satan will get you." I so wish I had known that sign was coming up and could have taken a picture. Is that poor teaching or what? I will be ready on the ride home next year, I want to put up a sign next to it that says, "And if Satan gets you, he is going to make you listen to a tape of screaming, fighting, tired, bored children on a 9 hour car ride." Now, that will make people go to church!



Surgeon General Warning on Colgate Spin Brush!

First of all you need to know that I don't like going to the dentist. I love my dentist, like if I see him in a restaurant or in a grocery store but not when I am at his office. Not sure why, it has always just been a phobia of mine.

So it all started about two years ago when the dentist told me that I brushed too hard and was wearing away my gum line. At that point I had to make another appointment and have some of my gum line replaced, not sure how they did it, like I said earlier, I don't like the dentist and it makes me feel faint just to type about it. Seriously, I can't even pull my own children's teeth. Anyway, I went back to the dentist about a week ago and was told I really do need to start taking it easy on my gums. The hygienist (I had to use spell check to type that word, would you have ever spelled it that way?) told me that I should invest in a tooth brush that does the brushing for you and then I won't be able to brush as hard. She said they are great and really get your teeth clean.

So I decided to take her advice, mainly because I recently heard of a horror story where a friend's husband had to have some of the roof of his mouth removed to replace his gum line because he did the same thing I did. HOLY COW!! I am feeling dizzy, right now. I bought the Colgate spin brush, it was not the top of the line $50 Sonicare toothbrush but I felt like it would do the job and in six months when I go back to the dentist I will see if it is working or if I need to skip buying my kids new tennis shoes for school in order to save my beloved gums.

Well, the first night we met at the sink I was in love. This thing was amazing, it made my teeth feel so good. I had read the directions and it said, "brush as normal." So I was thinking, this thing is awesome it does all the work for me and leaves me feeling with a "just left the dentist feeling" without the nerve pill I have to take before I go (Just Kidding!)

Day #2 This is where the Surgeon General comes in. Well, he technically has not placed a warning on this toothbrush but I am pretty stinkin' sure that if he had been standing next to me at the sink he would have this little warning posted all over the packaging. Here is what happened, remember when the directions said "brush as normal?" Well, night #1 the first time I used the brush it was late and my kids were in the bed and I was taking my time and not having to think about anything else. But here is reality. I am the mother of 3 kids, work a part time job from home, currently in the process of moving, and have a list of things everyday to do that is about 6 miles long. So as I brush my teeth I am usually, talking on the phone,washing a load of clothes, helping pour milk in a cereal bowl, changing a diaper, etc... Sometimes all at the same time (I am quite the multi-tasker)So it does happen on occasion where I will stick my tooth brush in the side of my mouth while I do one of the above listed. NOW TO THE WARNING! IF YOU DON'T READ ANYTHING ELSE READ THIS. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES STICK A VIBRATING TOOTH BRUSH IN THE SIDE OF YOUR MOUTH AND TAKE YOUR HAND AWAY!

I still cannot believe I did not chip one single tooth. I am not kidding you that thing jumped around in my mouth like a jack hammer vibrating teeth, skull and nearly mutilating my tongue. It all happened so fast. There was toothpaste slung from one end of the counter and mirror to the other, including all over me, not to mention I was in complete shock! It was the craziest thing ever. And then I started thinking, I am "that" person. The one that when people read the warnings and go, "that is ridiculous, who did they have to put that warning on there for?" Apparently that is me.

So for all you fans of that type of toothbrush, you are welcome, one of us has to be idiot enough to help save your teeth.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two Horses and a Camel

About a month ago Braxton and I were driving our kids to Victory Ranch so he could speak at camp that night. All 3 of my kids were watching a movie, reading, and playing with toys. My children are multi-taskers, just like their momma. Anyway, we were driving through a small town in the middle of nowhere and I look out into this field and in a say in a loud voice, where I draw my kids attention immediately out the window, "look kids a camel!" (I need to preface this by saying my eyesight has been bad since 3rd grade, I cannot see anything without my contacts and apparently not well with them) Well at that very second I realize it is not a camel but two horses, two dark black horses one on top of another. I will stop there, if you need more detail then either you are too young to be reading this blog or too old to be any fun. But nonetheless I had just drawn all 3 of my kids attention to an act of, lets call it nature. Immediately my sweet husband starts laughing uncontrollably as do I, as I realize the mistake I have just made. My husband says, "really, you just thought you saw a camel in Somerville?"(Well, you never know what those out in the country might buy.)

Last night we had dinner with some of our sweet friends, without kiddos, and as we laughed, talked and shared memories, we had some of those stories. Stories that you cannot share with everyone, stories that only you and your friends get. Mainly because you are so close to them that there is no worry for "what they will think" but also because they know you so well that they get you, they get your personality, life, goofiness, quirks etc...(love you C and H, thanks for getting us!)

I was spending some quiet time this morning and it got me to thinking. Our relationship with the Lord should be that way. We should be so close to Him that when things happen in life, funny, sad, scary, good, etc...He should be the first person we go to. We should run to Him first to tell all of our life stories to. We don't have to worry about what He will think, He already knows and we don't have to worry about if He will still love us, that can never change. I also think He laughs with us in the funny stories, He after all created the horses and camels ;)! So whatever happens to you today, whatever story your life writes today, run to the one person who gets you the most!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Productive Day


Well I guess today was our first official day to pack up stuff and move it into storage. We got up this morning and went to rent a storage unit. Once we got all of that squared away we started up in the attic. It was as hot as blue blazes up there (I never really went up there, I just stood at the bottom of the stairs and watched Braxton hand me stuff down but I could tell from the huge sweat rings on his shirt and the dripping brow, bless his heart) but we managed to clean out our entire attic. There is zip, nothing, nada up there. I love the feeling of having things cleaned out and organized but good grief the process of getting there is hard. Very similar to another process of cleaning out but in a spiritual sense. I love the feeling of when I have confessed and repented of sin in my life, cleaned out the attic so to speak but the process is not always fun.
After two trips to the storage unit we picked up our adopted son for the summer. Every summer for the past several years we have adopted a summer staffer from SOS www.sosmemphis.org It has been a huge blessing for us. We enjoy getting to know these college students. It is so encouraging to see their passion for service and for the Lord. This summer our "son" is Tremaine. Tremaine just graduated from High School in Jackson, TN and will go to Union University in the fall and play basketball. He is an amazingly mature young man who we have really enjoyed getting to know. Treamine came over tonight and hung out with the fam. My kids love having him over. I love what Tremaine is teaching them about being in love with Jesus, humility, and service over self.

We are now ending the day watching The Iron Man Race. It is always something so inspiring to watch. Especially while eating a piece of Carmel Cake. I get the same kind of feeling when I am eating a bowl of ice cream watching The Biggest Loser. Someday, I think, someday I will get there, just kidding I don't ever want to run that hard unless something is chasing me. In all seriousness I do seem to get choked up every year watching. Watching these people work so hard for something and then watching some of them succeed and some fail. It makes me cry every year, the commentators, the music, the watching of people cross the finish line with tears in their eyes and fist pumping in the air, I hope to finish the "good race" that way someday.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.