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 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. 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


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.