Tuesday, December 3, 2013


We celebrated Thanksgiving a week early this year. It was a precious time. As most of you readers know my dad is going through chemotherapy to prevent his cancer from coming back. So far, so good. My mom was also told she was going to have to do radiation and chemotherapy for Stage 2 breast cancer. It has been a scary time for our family. 
 God intervened for my mom in a miraculous way. When she went to see the oncologist to find out her treatment plan, he told her that there had been a mistake. The doctor was wrong in categorizing it Stage 2, it was actually stage 1. No chemo- no radiation for mom. Thank you, Lord! 
So, we had much to be thankful for this year. 
I got to see my grandparents too. You know how much I love my grandparents!!! They got to meet Rhett: their 10th great-grandchild. We used to have a small family. My dad is an only child and I have one sister. My sister and I gave the family tree a kick start. She has 4. I have 6.

I really wanted my grandfather to pray over and bless the children. I have been reading through the Old Testament and there is something very powerful that happens when an older generation prays a blessing over the younger. My grandfather is very godly too and has prayed for me every day of my life. His prayers have "yanked" me out of darkness and back into safety over the years. I am sure of it.
His prayers have been an umbrella of blessing over me. He has always reminded me of Jesus. He is loving, generous, and kind. He takes care of my grandmother like nobody's business. He has modeled Christ to all of us. He called me "number 1" growing up. ;) He has loved me with God's love. 
He was a baseball player. Left-handed pitcher/1st baseman like Reece. 
He is a GOOD man. He has a Christ-like character that has remained no matter his circumstances. 
I don't know that I have ever felt the presence of Jesus the way I did when he sat beside my grandmother a few years ago (as she lay in ICU with a collapsed lung). He held her hand and prayed through tears...
"Not my will but your be done, Lord."
I am crying now remembering that night.
God saved my grandmother's life and they still have each other.
It is a very rare sighting to see one without the other.

Love these pictures! Love my sweet dad.  He has also shown me the character of God. I am humbled by the heritage God has given me. I take it very seriously to take the baton (with fear and trembling and the power of the Holy Spirit).
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith." 
Hebrews 12:1,2
What a POWERFUL blessing. 

We decided to go the beach for Thanksgiving. We have never done it before. I need fresh air and sunshine. I am STRUGGLING to survive this newborn stage. I am simply not good at it. Some moms are good at getting babies to sleep and on a schedule. Some babies just start sleeping on their own. Not mine. I am just tired... to the bone. I am tired of being tired. I am tired of being grouchy and feeling powerless. My brain doesn't work. I lose everything. I forget everything. I dropped my new iphone in the toilet. Praise God Tim has the Holy Spirit's help to love me and take care of me right now. I am definitely not much of the "help-meet" these days. I am doing my best and that isn't a lot. Tim tells me I am an amazing mother. I think he does it because he knows I know I am NOT. I cried myself to sleep the other night because Crew got choked on the round piece of candy that I GAVE HIM. He started to laugh and almost sucked it down his wind pipe.
I have been feeling so defeated lately in motherhood that I can't believe God gives me another chance when I wake up in the morning. His mercies truly are new every day. He believes in me. I don't know why. I have told God repeatedly He picked the wrong girl for this.
I cannot tell you how thankful I am for Tim. He is such a gift. He is way out of my league yet he loves me. He really does. We have been through so much. Our life isn't glamorous. It is stinky. I am stinky!  But, somehow in the midst of it, I find myself falling so deeply in love with this really hot guy changing a diaper.
The beach was amazing. It was so crowded! I was surprised how many people were there. It was chilly in the morning and at night but the days were gorgeous and sunny. We played on the beach, ate a yummy Thanksgiving meal together, watched Santa roll in on his "sleigh" and turn on the Christmas lights in Rosemary Beach. Hope got to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. It is funny because I never did this with the older boys. I didn't know what to tell them about Santa so I just avoided him at all costs. Now, I just tell the kids he isn't real-- daddy buys all the presents--- you can still leave cookies out for him though---he is just pretend---- but he is fun. :)  Tim bought the boys fishing poles. They never caught a single fish... maybe next time. :) Packing for 8 people is hard for a very sleepy girl who isn't organized. I always forget my toothbrush. ALWAYS. Thank goodness I am married to a man who owns the toothbrushes on a thousand hills.

Hope loved the beach. I think she loves freedom. I know I do. I know Jesus loves freedom too.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
2 Cor 3:17

Crew has Reece wrapped around his little finger. Reece is amazing with children. I tell him it is one of his super-powers. The younger ones love him and look up to him. And he loves them.

These two are 3 years apart but you would never know it. They play together a lot. He is sweet enough to deal with her antics. She is hysterical. She is loud. She is confident. She challenges Tim and I in parenting daily. Yet, I envy so many things about the way God made her. She is a people-magnet.

Rhett liked his first trip to the beach.

His joy is full.
He fills our home with laughter.

"you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!"
John 15:11

She told Santa she wanted a mermaid for Christmas.

We tried to do meaningful, memorable things with the kids this Thanksgiving. They wrote on cards what they were thankful for and how they wanted to serve the Lord this year. It was between them and the Lord. I saved them and hope to do it every year as they grow.

I bought some lanterns and we talked about this passage in Philippians 2 a lot...
 "Do everything without complaining and arguing,  so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.  Hold firmly to the word of life"
I got a lantern for each child. We prayed over them and watched as the lantern sailed out over the ocean and up with the stars. Those things are really cool! They went on forever until we couldn't see them anymore. It was a powerful image that I know the kids will never forget.
Cute dress I found for her for our Christmas Card picture attempt.

I am so tired. I am usually super-creative and come up with a great idea for a Christmas card. Not this year. I just want a picture where everyone is smiling. :)

Tim taking them to breakfast with Santa. She said, "I didn't know Santa ate breakfast!". She also was very proud that she said "yes, ma'am" to Santa.

The older 3 boys have been wanting to get baptized for a long time. We have waited and waited trying to figure out when and where and who. Because it was so complicated and years were going by, we talked about just doing it at the beach. We asked them if they wanted to be baptized at Church or with us as a family at the beach. They immediately chose with family in the ocean. I told them that no one would encourage them or hold them accountable more than the 7 other people in our family. We studied Scripture about baptism with them. We read in Acts about the Ethiopian who understood the gospel and was baptized. That is an AWESOME story. Philip is one cool dude!!! You've got to read this story:

 "As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.”  So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship,  and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”
 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
 He was humiliated and received no justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.” 
 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?”  So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.
 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”  He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.  Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea."
Acts 8:26-40

How fun is that? Philip was amazing! Talk about marching in step with the Spirit! I want to do that! And, I had never noticed how the Ethiopian is so full of joy after he was baptized! Obedience truly does bring rejoicing in our souls.
I am so proud of the boys and their decision to be baptized. It took courage. The water was COLD and people were watching. They didn't care.
I asked Evan what daddy said to him when he baptized him.
"He said we are brothers in Christ".
Later Tim asked Reece what he felt like since being baptized.
He said,
"I feel NEW".

What a blessing that day was. The Lord was there. 
He even made the water sparkle. It was a glorious day.
I couldn't be more thankful this year.
Thankful that God sent His One and Only Son to save me and give me a new life.
May we never stop thanking Him.
Be Blessed~


Anonymous said...

Hi!Love,love your blog, I read regularly, need to comment more because you need to know what an encouragement you are to other moms in teaching their children about the Lord. Your post so reminded me of the experience with my own grandfather who passed away a few weeks ago. The last time my children saw him, he blessed them and prayed over them, it is such a special memory. Hang in there with the sleep deprivation, they eventually do sleep through the night:-) Erin Lynn

Kim said...

Wonderful Post!! The baptism brought tears to my eyes...Praise the Lord!!

Anonymous said...

I know you aren't looking for this, you are just real, and I love that about you. But I do want to say this ~ I spent many months of my motherhood in bed. I couldn't do or be what I thought and believed a mom should be. I have walked through many accidents with my children, some of which I could have prevented. I've had kiddos not be potty trained til age 4, ones who never got on any schedule and still aren't. Some nights I don't think there is anything in me that knows how to be that kinda mom. I didn't "plan" on having many kids. Like I've seen you write before, God has a sense of humor. He likes to make amazing moms out of those who don't "act" like amazing moms. I remember one week of depression feeling like the biggest failure of a mom in the world... I think I nearly heard an audible voice of God speak: There is only one way you could ever fail as a mom and that is to not love me and spend time with me, and not love them or spend time with them. A successful mom is just this: relationship." Seemed simple enough but there are days it still doesn't sink in. :) I have come to see the truth and freedom in it as I know you have and are - our children knowing and feeling our love makes us a good mom. That's it. No schedules, amazing meals, clean house, lack of chaos, matching outfits, amazing schooling, etc. - just loving Jesus, loving them. You are doing both. God wants you to know you are an amazing mom today - because of Jesus Christ living in you - not because you are perfect, but because HE is perfect! Yay! love to you and I love reading your posts. Blessings on your beautiful crew there - the beach is amazing! and that little Hope is a doll! :))

KMG1226 said...

You are incredibly blessed with an amazing husband and beautiful children. Happy New Year.