Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nothing You've Done

Personally for me one of the biggest struggles after moving into Binghampton was self righteousness. You have all these people telling you how great you are, how awesome it is you have picked up your blonde haired, blue eyed children and moved them to the hood, how strong your faith must be that you would choose to live in a dark, poverty stricken, crime ridden, drug infested neighborhood.

And you start to believe it. There is not a thief in the world that can slip in the back door of your life and rob you of a heart like Jesus' like the thief of self righteousness.

"Do not say in your heart...it is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land...Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart."
Deut 9:4-6

As we head into Christmas full swing I hope my heartbeat is, nothing you've done. I pray that as we live, teach, neighbor and friend, we continually remember, nothing you've done.

Jesus came to this earth as a baby over 2,000 years ago and it is not because of anything we did or could have done. Nothing I've done or will ever do deserves a love like this, deserves redemption so great, deserves mercy so abundant, grace so overflowing or such a Savior.

But because of Him. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved...so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus."

My prayer for this Christmas is that we all realize there is nothing we've done to deserve it, nothing we can do to earn it, nothing we can do to pay it back, but a perfect gift is for each of us to receive, that asks.

So I write what I write and live where I live, with a humble heart and a grateful attitude that He would call me, so that He might be made known.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Where does the time go?

I can't believe so much time has passed since I blogged last. Honestly part of it is I read other blogs like Kisses from Katie, Hood Mama, and others that are full of meaning, purpose, written with words that keep you on the edge of your seat and it makes me not want to write unless I have something REALLY important to say.

Today is not that day, nothing major going on I just thought an update was needed.

Halloween was fun. My kids were funny. Emma Sanders who if you will remember is my snacker was in love with the idea of people handing out candy. She went dressed as a fairy princess. Bennett was a skeleton and Preston was an inflatable sumo wrestler. I know, last year we had a theme but I couldn't think of a cute one this year. We could call this rock, paper scissors. You know skeleton scares princess fairy, sumo wrestler squashes skeleton, fairy princess waves magic wand and shrinks sumo wrestler. A stretch I know.
One funny story is that we went up to a lady's house and she gave Emma some candy. I said, Emma what do you say to which she responded "Do you have any kit kats?" Not exactly what I was going for but oh well.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving at Mimi's. Lots of food and family. I for the first time in history did not take a camera. My sister did though and I will try to post pictures later.

We ended Thanksgiving weekend with a wedding shower for my future sister in law Anne Todd. She and my brother are getting married December 18. We are so excited. Emma Sanders is the flower girl and she has been practicing. I am sure that promises to be a good blog post. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pardon the Interruption

Excuse me for a few moments while I brag on my amazing, loving, caring and godly husband. I know some of you just threw up a little bit in your mouth, sorry.

13.5 years ago I married Braxton Dale Brady. We were young, in love, stupid, clueless and naive. We had love and about $50 bucks and that was it. 6 months into our marriage we found out it would no longer just be the two of us but we would have a baby in 9 months. We celebrated our 1 year anniversary and I was 7 months pregnant. Nice, that always makes for a fun anniversary. We still had love but now we had more like $25 dollars plus a lot of bills. Awesome.

We made mistakes, a lot of them, we struggled through the next 3-5 years before we finally started seeing light. I would like to call it grace, redemption, the divine plan of God and lots of mercy but somehow we pulled it together or God pulled it together for us and we started making fewer mistakes.

Year 6 of our marriage Braxton started teaching at PDS. For the past 7 years it has been an amazing environment and God has been so faithful to teach him so much about parenting, teaching, and life there.

This past year he and Lee Burns, headmaster of the school, wrote a book together. Flight Plan is a great resource and tool for dads raising sons. It is written specifically geared toward boys ages 13-18 but really it can take them through life. www.theflightplanbook.com It gives a clear picture of how dads can help usher their sons from being a boy into manhood.

I am proud. I can't help it. Braxton works hard, studies hard and truly seeks the Lord in guidance for our marriage, raising our children and living life.

Sometimes when we look at our wedding picture hanging in our bedroom we laugh. We don't recognize those people. They were young, immature in a lot of ways and unclear of what a gospel centered life truly looks like. They had fewer wrinkles and more defined waist lines as well, just a side note.

We still make mistakes but we are so different and so grateful that God in his mercy has guided our steps. I think most importantly we are learning more everyday what it looks like to die to what we think is best and live for what God says is best.

If you know someone who has a young son or if you have a young son I would encourage you today to pick up your copy of Flight Plan. It would make a great Christmas gift! You can get it from Amazon, Davis Kidd, Borders or by going to the website.

Don't be passive in the raising of your sons or daughters but be challenged to give them a godly worldview and guide them into becoming Men and Women that live with purpose!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Y'all got any snacks around here?

We come from a long line of healthy appetites. Or big people. I think healthy appetites sounds more PC. Nonetheless my great grandmother's name was Big Mama so you get the picture.

This past weekend Emma Sanders had a tonsillectomy. After many episodes of tonsillitis and strep throat we knew the tonsils were no good and had to go. So Saturday morning we headed to the hospital. I was a little anxious about it but also knew she was in good hands. On the way to the hospital she asked her daddy, "Are you taking me to bretest?" (this is how she says breakfast) Then when we pulled up at the hospital she said, "Is this a hotel, do they have bretest here?" Well, kind of sweetie, we are going to spend the night here :).

We checked in and when the admissions clerk said, she is here for a tonsillectomy Emma said, "No, my tonsils are not sick anymore." Oh boy. The surgery nurse was amazing and spent a long time with her talking to her and making her feel secure. So when it was time to go back to surgery she went right with her, not even a tear. I think she thought she had food on her.

She came through surgery great and the first thing she asked for when she woke up was Chik fil A. She said, "Daddy I need some chik fil a sweet tea." She also asked for chicken minis and french fries. You see where I am going with the healthy appetites.

About 2 hours after surgery she was asking for pancakes then at lunch she ate mac and cheese and for supper mashed potatoes and jello. The SAME DAY she had surgery. Big Mama would be proud.

The next morning when the nurse walked in she said, "y'all got any snacks around here?" I thought the nurse was going to hit the floor. Seriously, you just had a tonsillectomy.

Bless her now she just keeps asking if things are soft or not. Mom, are oreos soft? are crackers soft? are frosted flakes soft?

Needless to say I think we have had the best case scenario for a tonsil removal. The hardest part has been keeping her still and from falling. She is not even on pain medication anymore although I have considered taking it just to help my nerves. If she is supposed to take 3/4tsp how much do you think an adult would take. Kidding. But really, would the whole bottle be too much?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Meet Eugene

At the beginning of this school year I decided to sign up to do something I have been wanting to do for the past 3 or 4 years, tutor at Lester Elementary School. Lester is located in our neighborhood and is a K-8 school. Thanks to my friend Joanie who has been tutoring for a long time at Lester it was easy to jump right in and get started.

I have been going for about 5 weeks now and I can honestly say it is one of my favorite things I do each week. I go each Friday to Mrs. Allen's room and pick up Eugene and we go to the tutoring room for about 30-45 minutes. He is all smiles when I pick him up. He is in Sr K and we work on his letters, numbers, writing his name but most importantly we just hang and get to know each other. I know he likes motorcycles, fruit punch, and playing outside. A few weeks ago when my boys were out of school I took them to meet Eugene. They read to him and played a game. Mrs. Allen says Eugene still talks about them.

The past two weeks I have taken snack to the class. One week I took raisins and pretzels and fruit punch. Today Mrs. Allen told me that the next Monday after I had brought snack that there was an extra box of raisins left and she let Eugene take them to lunch with him. She went on to say that he came back to the class room with the empty box. "Eugene, you can throw that box away now, " Mrs. Allen said. Eugene looked up at her and grinned and said, "No ma'am, my special friend brought it and I want to take it home and show my brothers and sisters." He carried that box around for a week.

A box of raisins, Kroger generic brand at that, nothing special but it made Eugene feel valued and cared about. When I first started tutoring Joanie said, this is a little bit about the tutoring and a whole lot about the relationship. I don't know what Eugene will grow up to be, he lives in one of the worst apartment complexes in our neighborhood. I don't know if Eugene will remember his letters or numbers the next time I meet with him, I don't know if he will even make it through school, sadly a lot of kids in our neighborhood drop out. But what I do know is that Eugene is created by God, loved by Him and each week that I spend with him I am going to show him his value in my eyes and more importantly in the eyes of God, even if it is just through a box of raisins.

"He found him in a desert land, in a place of horror and vast wilderness: he led him about, and taught him, and he kept him as the apple of his eye." Deuteronomy 32:10

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mud Luvn' 2010

An amazing godly couple from our church started a ministry called www.habitatforhope.org
Their ministry is for the purpose of supporting, serving and caring for families facing the serious illness of a child. I first learned about this ministry after meeting Mark in church one Sunday and I was blown away by what they are doing. I continue to stand amazed at all the people they are bringing hope to during such a difficult situation. If you don't know about it read about it. What a blessing to our city and so many families that come here for treatment of their child.

This past Sunday they held their first annual fund raiser 5K race at Shelby Farms called Luv Mud. It was AWESOME! You could sign up individually, teams of two or teams of four. My boys including Braxton and a friend that Braxton mentors signed up. Part of the fun of this race is participating in costume. The team name for the boys was the PDS Mudsaders and they dressed in PDS football uniforms.

It was not your typical 5K, there were obstacles along the way plus at the end right before the finish line you jumped, as a team, into a huge pit of mud. Boy heaven! My boys could not wait for the race and ever since the race that is all they can talk about. They are already planning costumes and strategy for next year.

Today I washed my bathtubs and cleaned out my washing machine. If you could have seen the post ring from 3 very muddy males and the damage their clothes left...disgusting. But oh so worth it. I think next year I may even join them!

Great job Habitat for Hope, can't wait for next year!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Fairy Tale of Sorts

Once upon a time there was this young 30 something mother who thought her life with a husband and two children (at the time) would be complete with a dog. She thought it would be sweet to get a small hypo-allergenic dog for her allergic children. She searched and searched and found said dog, purchased the dog and brought the dog home to live with her family.

It was fun for about 6 months and then the newness wore off. Her kids were over it and so was she. The picture she had painted in her head of days running, playing, skipping with the dog were renewed with reality of pee, poop and messes in the floor. Not to mention vet bills, incessant barking, annoying dog habits and expensive food and medicines for the dog.

She spent the next 3 years trying desperately to convince herself that she liked the dog, that her husband and children liked the dog. She and her husband even added another child into the mix to see if maybe that child would attach to the dog. Nothing worked. The dog was still more of a nuisance than anything and she was coming undone.

Then one day in a park near her home she met a crazy lady. Crazy about dogs that is. The lady talked of love, chipping her dogs, cooking chicken for her dogs and walking them until her hearts content.

So the 30 something mother loaded up that dog in the crazy lady's car dusted off her hands and bid farewell. After all it was a promotion for the dog and a detour from a life of Prozac for the mom. A win win if you will.

Some thought the young mother to be cruel but in reality keeping that dog would have been cruel. Some people don't grow up with dogs they grow up with people. And no matter how hard they try to have the American dream of 2.5 kids and a dog it is to no avail. It is not that there is a dislike for dogs it is more of a need for sanity in the home. Because one more Monday morning of stepping in dog poo or pee on the way out the door for carpool and sanity would have collapsed.

And in a world of fast paced technology, busy kids and life, well serenity is a must.

So don't judge but know that the dog is living Happily Ever After and the Young Mother is one less day away from having to move to the funny farm.

The End.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Goodbye Sweet "Pass"

All three of my children have been attached to a paci. Emma has been more attached than any of my three. She called it her "pass" and am I telling you it was a very part of her breath, life and soul. We knew giving them up would be a big deal.

So after having yet another episode of infected tonsils and realizing we were going to have to buy more of the dreaded paci's, we decided tonight would be the night. We prepared ourselves with scripture, prayer request and some chanting. Just kidding, sort of. Anyway, we went through our normal bedtime routine of bath, books and bed and then she said and I quote "Hey, we need my pass." To which I responded, "No, no more passes." And this is what ensued right after...are you ready???

Nothing. She simply said, "okay" laid her head down and went to sleep. Are you kidding? I almost woke her up and said, "wait a minute sister, I was ready for a fight." I had all this arsenal of tricks, pleading, bribing, etc...prepared and you just say, "okay???"

Wow, don't they surprise us at the very last minute? I am still in shock. I came downstairs and told Braxton that was way too easy. And then I warned the boys, if you see a pass throw it away immediately, and if you say the word pass, make reference to a pass, put anything in your mouth that might make her think of a pass, you will be grounded for 6 months. Just kidding again, sort of.

Then I started looking for pictures with her and that "pass" in her mouth and I am honestly a little bit sad. Another chapter done. And for the Bradys we are forever done with the paci. I am a little sentimental about it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Now that I am back to reading and catching up on blogs I just sat down to read one of my favorites. http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com if you get a chance read it. In one of her recent post she shares about a young girl that is dying from starvation. She is 23 years old and weighs about the same as Emma Sanders who is 2 1/2. It breaks my heart.

Last night I went to the grocery store. As I was standing in line I read an email from a precious friend telling me to read the kisses from katie blog about the starving girl. As I moved forward in the line and my groceries started to be rung up the girl working there says this, "You know, it seems like grocery shopping has become a hobby to some people." I am not sure if she was talking directly to me or speaking of something else she saw but I took this word straight from the Lord. I think for me it was a lesson on not taking things for granted. There were certainly things in my basket that were not a need. Things that I bought because I knew it would bring smiles to my kids faces but really had nothing to do with their nutritional need. A hobby. Very convicting.

Then I started to think about starvation and what that means. This morning as I was praying and thinking through the past blog read and conversation I thought, I don't know anyone who is starving. Not anyone who will die because they don't have enough food. But then the Lord put this on my heart. You do know people who are starving. Not from the standpoint of physical food but spiritually starving. People who are constantly filling themselves with things that they think will make them feel full. Clothes, cars, jewelry, relationships, etc...all to find that it doesn't satisfy. From the outside they appear very full but inside they are discontent, unhappy, bitter, and hungry. And if you are a believer in Jesus then we know what does satisfy, what does fill you up. The bread of life.

In the last line of the email that my friend sent me about Katie's blog she said, "When are we going to Africa?" As much as I would love to hop on a plane tomorrow and go help with Katie's ministry or any other one there, I know that for now that can't happen. So what to do? Well, I think our response should be twofold. 1. Pray, send money, and help how we can from here to Katie's ministry and others like it. 2. Help the starving people you know here. We all know them, they are in our schools, workplaces, families, and even in our churches. Seek them out and show them that there is someone that fills even the deepest hunger.

Summer 2010

Wow, it has been awhile. Honestly I purposely took a little blogging break. I was starting to get a little sucked in to technology and putting things that were way more important on the back burner. So after a break and some realigning of priorities I'm back! A lot has happened since my last post so I am going to make a list just as a sweet reminder when I look back over this in the years to come.
1. June 29,2010 my sister gave birth to the sweetest, cutest, most adorable baby boy. Wyatt Andrew Ikerd. We could not love him more.
2. July 14-Preston Carter Brady turns 12. I don't have enough words to describe what an incredible young man he is. Smart, talented, kind, encouraging, helpful, those just scratch the surface.

3. July 25-August 4 we went on an amazing family vacation (including Nanach) to Snowmass, Co. Beautiful, gorgeous, breathtaking, relaxing, did not want to come home. Pictures on my smugmug. www.bradybunch2.smugmug.com
4. August 18-School starts!!!! 2010-2011 School year. Preston 6th grade, Bennett 1st grade, Emma Sanders in PDO at 2nd Presbyterian church. We are excited about a great school year!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Change in the City

I just finished reading an article in the New York Times about our city and the trouble going on here with race and socioeconomic issues. Some things never change, unfortunately. And yet some things do change, slowly but change nonetheless. Read this article if you get a chance and pray for our city, for people being taken advantage of, for people that would rather turn their heads and walk away than to help change this place for the better. It is part of the reason we live in the neighborhood that we do.

What this article did not report on is some of the good going on in this city, some of the change that has been for the better. Every morning last week I would wake up and see 9 young adults work on Ms. Farris' house next door. They were here with a group from SOS, www.sosmemphis.org, who were giving Ms. Farris a new roof but much more than that when you look below the surface. They were giving her a glimmer of hope, good change in the midst of bad, a picture of Jesus. Each afternoon they sat on her front porch, sharing lunch and a devotional with her. They gave her warm smiles each morning as they arrived and hugs each afternoon when they left. They were young adults who have given up a week of their summer to be in the extreme heat of Memphis not because they had to but because they wanted to, because they know change is a good thing or at least it can be.

Apathy is probably one of the worst problems we see here in Binghampton. Either people are so far at the bottom they don't care anymore or they think that no one else cares so why should they. I believe that if we eradicate this apathy we will begin to see big change here. When people like Ms. Farris see that people love her and care then she starts to care. And hopefully there is a ripple effect.

Yes, there are problems here. Problems with the economy, problems with race, problems with drugs, crime, the list goes on...and truthfully it can wear on you, make you feel like we have taken one step forward but two steps back. But I believe in a God of redemption and restoration, one that is alive and well in Binghampton, Memphis and the world.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


This week was an exciting one for the Brady family. Tuesday morning Tim Tebow spoke at PDS chapel and then Tuesday night we were invited to go meet him in person. The boys were practically walking on air. I am pretty sure Preston's face hurt him the next day from smiling so much.

I can honestly say after meeting Tim Tebow he is as true as he seems. I remember two years ago watching his acceptance speech of the Heisman trophy and standing there with tears in my eyes thanking the Lord that there was a great athlete that my boys could look up to. Someone that loved Jesus more than he loved sports, someone that recognizes where his athletic ability comes from and gives thanks for it everyday. Ever since then our family has been following Tim Tebow. Several times I have used him as an example after Preston or Bennett have lost a game or had a poor sportsmanship attitude. But in the back of my mind I have always wondered, is this guy real? Is he saying all the right things, smiling, wearing scripture under his eyes, etc... but what is really in his heart?

Well, I met him firsthand on Tuesday night and what comes out of his mouth is due to an overflow of his heart. He is in love with Jesus and not afraid to share that. He was one of the nicest guys I have ever met and it was a joy to get to spend some time with him. When I met him I asked him to tell me two things that he thought his parents did to raise him well and for him to be the man of character that he has become. Here was his response.

"It is hard to narrow it down to two things. But if I could just give you two off the top of my head it would be to build confidence in your kids and to teach them to have their own faith." He went on to say that peer pressure was never a major problem for him or his siblings because his parents taught him from the very beginning that their identity comes from Christ. His parents constantly pointed out things that they saw that were gifts from the Lord in their children and instilled a sense of self worth and confidence in them that can only come from Christ. Tim said, "When other kids were doing things that were wrong, I would think, I don't need that or for you to think I am cool. I know who I am in Christ and I know what he thinks of me and that is all that matters."

He went on to say to make sure your kids have their own faith and can stand alone. Don't let them rely on your faith so much that when they get in the world they really don't know what they believe. Teach them how to stand up for what they believe in and make sure never to force them into a religion.

I have been thinking a lot about that conversation over the past few days. And I have started trying to point out to my kids what I see in them in as gifts from the Lord. Yesterday we were riding home and Bennett saw some run down apartments, he made a comment about how if we could help people take care of their property, cut their grass, pick up the trash that maybe they would feel better about where they live. I said, "Bennett you know what? God has given you a gift of great insight. That means that you see things that other people don't see. That you look through eyes that want to help people and see the good in things and what can be done to make it better, not the bad. We are so proud of you and love that you have great insight."

Bennett turns to me puts two fingers in front of his eyes. "I can see through my fingers too mom." Okay, so not the point but hopefully someday he will think back and understand what I was telling him. Preston who was sitting in the front seat looks at me after a few minutes of silence and says, "Can he really see through them mom?"

Wow, we have a long way to go.

Speak into your child today a confidence that comes from Christ. Let them know the gifts He has given them and guide them into making their faith their own. Tim Tebow's parents did and it has made all the difference.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


We have been living in our new house for 2 months now. Crazy! It has really been a whirlwind and I think we all finally feel settled. Emma is now in a big girl bed, Bennett has adjusted to sleeping in a room by himself and Preston has grown 2 inches stands at 5ft tall and sleeps in a Queen size bed. 3 more inches and he will be standing eye to eye with me. He is not even 12 yet if that gives you an idea of what I am going to be looking up to.

So many times people ask us, "what do you do in Binghampton?" To which we respond, we don't "do" anything. We just live our lives according to the gospel, love our neighbor as ourself, love each other, love Jesus, etc...It is what we should all be doing. No matter what your zip code.

But over the past two months it has hit me several times why we live here, not what we do but why we do it. The bottom line and easy answer would be to tell you that we do it because it is what God has called our family to. But here is the hard answer and much longer one. So for those of you that like easy you can stop now.

A couple of weeks ago I spent 20 minutes having a conversation with Precious ( a girl in our neighborhood) about how we don't hit to get our point across. I then spent another 20 telling her cousin that you don't ask people what they bought you when they get back from the store.

The next day I spent a good chunk of time explaining to one of the boys that you don't cheat in a game just to win. That you should play by the rules. A couple of nights later Erin and I fed 3 kids on our street pizza, carrots and fruit. Kids that otherwise might not have eaten supper. We talked to them about being gracious and kind. Last week I called code enforcement on an empty lot that people had started using as their own personal trash dump, it was cleaned up a few days later.

Every night we pray with our kids and ask for God to bless our neighborhood, to help us share Jesus with our neighbors and for the poor. We talk to our kids about injustice and what the Bible teaches on how to take care of the orphan and the widow.

Tonight my 11 year old shared about Jesus with his two year old sister. He told her how much Jesus loved her and asked her if she loved Jesus. She said No, but that is beside the point. She says no to just about everything these days.

Here is what I am really trying to say. Why do we do it? We do it because someone has to. If Precious, Marquavius, Keisha, etc... are not taught about grace and love, if they are not taught how not to cheat, steal and use their words instead of their fist then they will not know to be or do any different. They will turn into teenagers, young adults, men and women who steal, lie, cheat and maybe worse because no one will have ever shown or told them any different. If someone does not watch out for the elderly like Ms. Farris, she will be taken advantage of. If someone doesn't call code enforcement and get streets, lots and houses cleaned up then this neighborhood will continue to decline.

We do it because we believe that Jesus is bigger than any problem the hood has ever seen. We believe that by our kids watching, learning and growing up here they will learn how to take initiative for the benefit of others, how to share Jesus ( it is already happening with Preston,) and they will know they are not better than others because they are white, live in a "good" neighborhood or get a good education.

I don't know that we will ever see any fruit from the relationships that we build here. And honestly sometimes it feels futile. But I am told to put my trust in eternal things to put my hope in the unseen. So are we making a difference? I don't know, I would like to think so, but if nothing else it is impacting my family to count the cost and realize that this life is not about us. And I could not be more grateful for the call to be here.

That is why we live here. That is why we do what we do. It is why we are who we are.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Full Swing

We just finished up a great weekend of beautiful spring weather, well almost. Friday and Saturday were beautiful, Sunday was cold, wet and dreary but hopefully it won't last. The Brady bunch was in full swing of sporting events and busy weekend activities.

On Friday when Bennett came home he had a note in his bag saying that his art work had been chosen by MAIS (Memphis Association of Independent Schools) to be in an art exhibit on Sunday afternoon at Baptist Women's Hospital. We were thrilled and so proud! I said, "Bennett what did you draw?" His response, "I have no idea." So not only was it an exciting event but an unveiling of sorts as all of us waited in suspense to see what the art work would consist of.

Saturday morning Bennett played in the first soccer game of the season. His team lost and lost bad, friends. He was all smiles until he got in the car he said, "I think I'm done with soccer, I want to play lacrosse like Preston." Well, much to your dismay son, you signed up for soccer and you are going to finish what you started but you can play lacrosse next year. He wasn't too happy with that response but hopefully after a win he can move forward.

We left the soccer field and went straight to the lacrosse field to watch Preston play. This has become my new favorite sport. It is soo fun to watch, like football with sticks. I find myself becoming that aggressive mom in the stands (what Braxton likes to call the Bartlett coming out in me-if you are from Memphis you will get that) the one that yells a little louder than the others, and embarrasses her husband and children but I only do this when the game gets a little rough, usually. And if you know anything about lacrosse it can get a little rough. A few times I found myself yelling "hit him Preston, knock him down." Yes, I did just turn 34 and not 13 but sometimes my competitive spirit takes over. Covered by grace people, we are covered by grace.

All in all it was a great weekend, no stomach bug, no floods, no lady bug infestation, and no busted chins. We did go today to the art exhibit and EmmaAdd Image rubbed two ladies' behinds. I think she got distracted and walked up to them thinking they were me and just gently started rubbing their behinds. Just a wee bit embarrassing but not quiet as embarrassing as her standing in the middle of the exhibit pulling up her dress and trying to take her diaper off. For real, Emma? For real.

Bennett's art work was beautiful. It is a tree house made from popsicle sticks and painted in bright colors. He was so funny, he walked up to it and said, "Oh yeah, I did that, can we go now?" He's got a real appreciation for art if you can't tell.

Here are a few pictures from the weekends events.

I love this one, doesn't she look so proud of him?

Bennett with his art work

I love this, look at that tongue hanging out!

Preston plays middie in Lacrosse, I have no idea what that means but I figure if I am going to scream I might as well look knowledgeable!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Boogers on my Pillow

The past week in the Brady house was completely exhausting. 4 out of 5 of us had a violent stomach bug. And I don't use the term violent loosely. Picture what you may in your head and I promise it was worse. Much worse. I am pretty sure I reached whatever legal limit may be on the consumer warnings for Clorox. The only good part was that the bug hit us during spring break and so everyone was out of school, oh wait a minute, that's not good news according to my children. We all survived and I must say I do like the "skinny" feeling you get after that much of an exodus from your stomach and intestines. I had that thought as I shared a donut with my children Sunday morning before church. Oh well, skinny like happy is a fleeting feeling, I like chubby and content much better or at least I have worn them well for the past 34 years.

In the days prior to the above mentioned Bennett glided into age 7 and I slammed into the "thirty somethings." I guess there are some things worse than that, like cleaning up vomit and other unmentionables for 72 hours straight.

This morning I woke up with a two year old turned sideways in my bed. Feet in my chest, her head in her daddy's chest. As I started to get up I noticed her boogers on my pillow and I had to laugh. It seems that there have been lots of boogers on my pillow lately, both literally and figuratively. I think sometimes that is just life. You wake up and there is some yuck you have to deal with.

I also think there are two options of how to respond. I was reading in Colossians yesterday and in chapter 1:9-13 it talks about walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him. So I think we can respond to these "boogers" by being discouraged, frustrated, angry, bitter, etc... or we can seek wisdom in the Lord, trust in Him and respond how he would have us to respond.

It doesn't matter how old you are, where you are in life, what you do or even if you have children, at some point you are going to wake up with boogers on your pillow. I pray that my friends, children and husband see me handle them having "patience with joy and always giving thanks to the Father" even when it means cleaning up vomit for what feels like the 10,000 time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chin Up

Today was a rough day for our Emma Sanders. At approx 10am she took a spill from one of our barstools and hit the concrete chin first. Split it wide open. It was traumatic and in case you don't already know your face bleeds a lot more than other parts of your body. I managed to get the bleeding to stop for a little bit and then it would start up all over again. I took her to our pediatricians office and they cleaned it up and glued her back together. It took me and a nurse to hold her down while the doctor worked on her. It was so sad, she was screaming her head off and there was nothing I could do. That's the hard part of being a momma, or one of the many hard parts I should say.

She was a trooper and we were both worn out when it was all over. One cute highlight while we waited on the doctor was that she kept kissing herself in the mirror. I am not sure if she was kissing her boo boo or if I should worry about her being a little vain but it was cute nonetheless. Hopefully the rest of our week will be a little less uneventful. I think we are due for some boredom.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Floods, Ladybugs, and a Sick dog for starters

It has been a week and 3 days since we moved into our new home. I sat down several times last week to blog about the move but was just too exhausted to do so. Not to mention we had a few natural disasters that made things a little extra stressful.

On Saturday as we moved 18,000 boxes into our home along with furniture and other assorted goodies we decided to start a load of wash. I thought it would be helpful if we could wash the sheets and get the beds made, you know so we would all have a place to lay our tired heads. Well about 15-20 minutes into the washing cycle my friend Susan, who was helping us move, did a flying leap through the air towards my laundry room screaming at the top of her lungs. I went into complete shock and paralysis as I watched water rise, quickly mind you, from my laundry room throughout my kitchen, dining room and den. I could not move. All I could do was watch boxes and furniture start to get wet.

Braxton runs to cut the water off as I quickly gain control and move into action. We managed to get all the water cleaned up and nothing was ruined. Did I mention that our floors are stained concrete? So all it did was cause my floors to smell like Tide, which was not a bad thing.

The next day Rudy, the dog that no one in this family likes but we can't seem to get rid of, begins to have diarrhea...everywhere. As I chased her around the house she continually pooped, she thought I was chasing her to spank her I guess, not sure but she literally pooped all over my newly cleaned by my washing machine floors. And again, we are praising God for concrete.

And as if that were not enough the next day I happened past our bedroom window and noticed a swarm of ladybugs had come to live with us in our room. I guess they saw how much fun we were having and thought they would join in. And when I tell you a swarm I mean swarm, like 100-150. I immediately called the pest control people who told me two things. One, they don't guarantee flying insects only crawling ones and two ladybugs only have a life span of one day. So no worries they would all be dead by in the morning. To which I responded oh well good, because I was getting bored and was hoping I would have something to do tomorrow, like clean up 150 dead ladybugs, on second thought maybe my dog will just eat them and get sick again because according to our vet, she was either stressed due to the move or ate something she was not supposed to.

I am just wondering if we sprayed those ladybugs with insect killer and then the dog ate them, could we kill two birds with one stone? Just kidding...don't go run and call PETA, this dumb dog lives better than I do.

So we are getting settled. The boxes are just about all unpacked and the kids are loving their new rooms. Our new home is beautiful and we are so grateful for all we have. We can't wait for the weather to warm up so we can meet more of our new neighbors and begin to build relationships here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow Delays Make for Falling Dominoes

When you are building a home if one thing gets delayed it can cause a million things to get delayed. For example or for real however you want to look at it: today the landscape guy was suppose to come and grade the yard and lay gravel so the inspector could give us a certificate of occupancy so the bank could send our paperwork to underwriting so we could close on our loan.

We all woke up this morning to 4inches of snow on the ground which equals a domino effect of delays in the Brady household. The snow was beautiful and my kids were excited but for the adults in the house it was a wee bit discouraging.

We made the best of it and went outside for some winter fun. We had a snowball fight which was pretty aggressive and painful due to the type of snow we had. We tried to build a snowman but his head kept falling off. The kids jumped on the trampoline which is pretty funny when it is covered in snow and ice but not near as funny as the snowman's head falling off. Then we came in and warmed up by playing cards, Farkle and building a fort.

Here is the link to our snow pics...www.bradybunch2.smugmug.com

Not sure when we will get to close on the house now but we have all decided to have good attitudes about it and trust that regardless of our plan that God's plan is the best and we will move in on his timing. And as one of the pastors at our church says, "God is never late, rarely early and ALWAYS on time."

Here are some recent pictures of the inside of the house...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Chicken has gotta hatch and a Bird has gotta fly

My kids are hilarious. All three of them, and you never know which one is going to come up with something funny to say next. Today as we rode home Bennett said, "Mom, I need a hug." Bennett is definitely my most affectionate child. He is always asking for a hug and I love it! I joke with friends that Bennett would climb back in my womb if I could let him.

I responded Bennett, I love you. "Mom, I am never going to grow up and leave you and dad, I'm never going to get married. I want to live with you forever." Oh, Bennett you will change your mind. You won't stay with us forever. "No, mom, not ever gonna leave."

"I will" Preston chimes in. "I am going to grow up and get married and leave." Thanks Preston, I appreciate your honesty. "Well, Mom, (as he puts his hand on my shoulder) a chicken has gotta hatch and a bird has gotta fly."

He is pretty smart and mature for an eleven year old. Someone asked me the other day if I was dreading him becoming a teenager soon. And I can say honestly we are not. Braxton and I both feel that helping him walk into becoming a young man and then an adult is a blessing. We know that there will be times of frustration, tears and probably anxiety but we plan to spend A LOT of time on our knees. And we are excited to see what kind of young man he will become and what paths God will put him on.

I just pray that as he hatches and grows wings that he will remember who takes care of the farm :).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Almost Home

We are in the final stages of building our home. Which is great and terrible all at the same time. Great in that we are sooo excited and ready and can't wait to live back in the hood. But terrible in that these final stages seem to take the longest and be the most tedious.

I go in and see things that overwhelm me and think there is no way this can be finished in several days and then I leave and come back a few hours later and some of those things are done. Which is incredible to see! It is weird to think back just a few short 6 months ago and think we were just praying for the Lord to sell our house so we could someday build on this lot. Now here it is the end of January and we are almost home.

And yet we are constantly reminding ourselves and our kids that this is not our home. That our final destination is not this house, this street, this city or even this world. Yes, this is where the Lord has us for now and it is our job and our joy to serve him where he has us. But to always keep in the back of our mind where our "real" home is. To live with the end in mind.

Thank you for all of your prayers, words of encouragement and help picking out paint colors, Leigh and Brooke :). We are truly blessed by friends and family and can't wait to have you over to our new place. It is beautiful and we wait with great anticipation for the day that we will live there!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Mayor Ain't Payin' for Chicken

Last week I said a prayer and asked God for opportunities to serve Him and to have a "gospel response" in every situation. Well, it wasn't long after that I had to run into the grocery store to grab a few items. As I got in line I noticed the lady in front of me. She was an older lady, with dirty hair, tattered coat, beat up shoes and a worn out look on her face. As I was standing behind her I felt the holy spirit nudge me in my heart and whisper, "pay her bill."

At first I thought maybe I just made it up and my heart was just feeling for her. She then proceeded to pull out a card out of her little change purse that was a food stamps card that would purchase her groceries. The clerk rang her up, she swiped her card and loaded her groceries in her basket. She was starting to walk away when the clerk called her back. "Ma'am, your card only had a $39 balance on there and your total was $44.45, you have a balance due of $5.45." The lady turned to him and said, okay, take off the chicken. I won't buy the chicken. I looked at the clerk and said, "I will pay her bill, just put her balance on me." Both of them stared at me for a few moments and then the lady said, thank you and God bless you."

I paid for my groceries and her balance and then headed to the car. I told my kids the story of what happened in the store and told them that it could be related to what Jesus did for us. He paid our balance, one he did not accumulate, one he did not have to pay, and for nothing in return. Just like I paid for that stranger's groceries, I did not pick out her groceries, I did not have to pay the bill and I was going to get nothing in return. But I did it because as Christ followers our call is to model the gospel in every opportunity we have. Shane Claiborne says, "The gospel is best spread not by force but by fascination."

Yesterday Bennett came home from school and told me that he had told his class what happened at the grocery store. Mom, I told our class that there was a lady in the grocery store and she had a card where the mayor would pay for her groceries but the mayor ain't payin' for chicken, so you bought her chicken for her.

Not exactly Bennett, but close. I pray that even though they may not completely get it now that someday it will sink in and take root in their hearts that our calling is to love like Jesus and "do unto the least of these" even if it means paying for someone else's chicken.

Friday, January 8, 2010


The definition for evacuation as defined by whatever site I googled says this:
Emptying: the act of removing the contents of something; leaving a place in an orderly fashion; especially for protection and elimination: the bodily process of discharging waste matter.

For the Brady family this whole entire week has been about evacuation both on a literal and figurative level. Oh where do I begin....

Tuesday of this week started out as a normal day. Kids got up and went to school, I started my daily routine of laundry, playing with Emma, picking up the house, etc... I went up to the school about 2:30 to pick up Bennett a little early due to the fact that he and Emma would be getting the 2nd half of their H1N1 shots. I knew that may cause a little drama but I had no idea what I was in for and that it would have nothing to do with a vaccination. In fact their shots went really well. Bennett did not cry at all and Emma only cried for a second. We left the room where they were giving shots and headed to the gym. Braxton was coaching a 4th grade basketball game and Preston was in an after school Math help session. Bennett asked to stay and watch some of the game and I needed to wait on Preston anyway so I thought it would be a great idea to hang in the gym. Emma and I climb to the top of the bleachers and sat against the wall. I hand her something to play with and begin a conversation with a mom next to me. Approximately 5 minutes later the fire alarm at PDS begins to go off. I look at the mom I am talking to and say, umm...I wonder if someone pulled that. We then begin to question if we should leave the gym. In fact you can see on everyone's faces the same question. It is at this juncture in time where I turn and for the first time look at my two year old, who I thought was playing quietly next to me. (It has been approx 3 minutes since the fire alarm first sounded.) Emma looks at me and with all the elation of someone who has just won the lottery she exclaims, "I did it!" with both arms raised in the air. Oh sweet goodness, it hits me and I am pretty sure I turned 18 shades of red and my blood pressure sky rocketed as I realized, yes in fact someone had pulled the fire alarm, my child. I pick her up and run to the front desk to let them know that Emma is the reason for all the panic. The girl at the front desk tells me that the fire truck is on the way. NICE. I then proceed to take Bennett and Emma and head for the car, trying to dodge their daddy on the way out. As we step into the parking lot I see two people headed our direction, okay, several people evacuating the building, but two that I locked eyes with. One was Lee Burns the headmaster of the school and the other was Preston. It is here where an already embarrassing situation gets worse. Bennett sees Preston and from across the parking lot shouts at the top of his lungs..."Preston, our sister did it." He does this with hand motions pointing to Emma drawing EVERYONE'S attention to us, including Lee Burns. I immediately shove Bennett's head into my jacket pretty much smother him as I hiss...SHH....you don't make announcements like that. At which he makes a giggle a muffled giggle because I am still smothering him.

So that was the first of our evacuations. One I am sure I will never live down.

The 2nd evacuation actually was of a planned type, my sweet father in law had knee replacement surgery on Wednesday. So his evacuation was that of a bad knee. Not nearly embarrassing as Emma evacuating an entire school and church on a Tuesday afternoon but as defined by Webster's an evacuation nonetheless. He is doing well and hopefully after some rehab will be doing better than ever.

Another evacuation happened yesterday as I went to an ENT to have my ear checked. My right ear has been stopped up since before Christmas and was starting to hurt. I put off going to the doctor as long as possible thinking it would clear itself up. Yesterday I gave in and went. The ENT looked in my ear and found the problem immediately. Both of my ears were clogged with an "excessive amount of wax." Excessive, really? I thought, surely not. Well, he then begins to use a suction tool and evacuate the wax from my ears. He then shows me the wax. I am not kidding it was the most disgusting, discolored and disturbing thing I have seen ever. I was so embarrassed. Now that I can definitely hear better and my ears feel wonderful I am thinking about going into the candle making business. Seriously.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Today we got back to a little routine. Amen. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah! I have never been one for flexing when it comes to lack of schedule. Now don't get me wrong I love to have a change of pace, sleeping in late, wearing PJ's until 10, not making lunches, etc... but after two weeks of that I welcome the routine. Today everyone was up and running despite the frigid temps outside. After I got everyone off to school I had about 15 minutes of time to read my Bible and pray before Emma woke up. It was refreshing to read in Psalms this morning and in Ephesians. Part of what I read was in Ephesians chapter 5, where it reads that we no longer live in darkness, we are children of light and we should live that way.

About two hours later I get an email from my husband telling me about a blog I should read. It is a blog from a girl who lives in Uganda raising 12 girls and mentoring about 150 more. Read it sometime if you get the chance.http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/ I read through tears as I read about her challenges, her excitement and her passion for Jesus as well as for the children of Uganda. And then it hit me. Children of light. We no longer live in darkness. And I started thinking. What am I doing? Truly, what do I do that shows tangibly that I am a child of light. Nothing to even compare to what Katie Davis is doing. I am not saying that we should all hop on a plane to Uganda but I do think if we know the truth of the gospel then it must compel us to step outside into the light. It commands us to be extraordinary in our living and giving.

I don't want to get to heaven and have the Lord say, "what did you do with the resources I gave you on earth?" And for my response to be, "well Lord, I bought a really nice T.V., I sent my kids to a great private school, I had a nice car and some amazing vacation time at the beach." I want to live boldly, I want to do things that make people say, "Is she crazy?" So I spent some more time praying and asking the Lord what that looks like for the Brady family. What opportunities does he have for us? It is a scary prayer because it is one of total surrender. And control, just like routine is hard for me to give up. But it is there where I find the most peace, the most fulfillment, the most light.

Be challenged today in your living and your giving. If you are a child of light, live that way and ask God how he would have you do that. I know on Katie's website it says that it only cost $300 a year to send a child to school and give them three meals a day. $300??? Some of us spend that at the hair salon. Not me sweetheart, if you are reading this, just some people. :)

Good friends and neighbors of ours are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia and are trying to raise support to do that. She is asking for 250 people to step up and give $100 each.

Those are just a few ways but there is so much more and a thousand more ways you can give of yourself and not money.

I don't want to live in darkness when He has called me to light and I don't want to waste this day before its time to say goodnight.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-11