Thursday, December 15, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Well, I'm headed out of town tomorrow and won't be home until after Christmas so I thought I should post one last time before my brief break.

It's been a better week than last. Still full of challenges, but most didn't involve fevers and puking so I'm counting it as an improvement. Easy and I did get the stomach bug over the weekend, but it was short in duration and all are fine now.

Monday morning my Nana fell and broke her hip. She was taking food to a friend that just had knee replacement surgery when it happened. She has already had surgery to repair the break (a plate and pin) and is doing fantastic. I hope my attitude staye as awesome as hers when I'm in my 80's! Mom is there now and I'm going with the kids on Monday to help make sure Mom is taking care of herself and not just Nana!

Paris finished school for the semester. I think her most amazing accomplishment this term is that she can now write her name!! It was a wonderful surprise to get a homemade ornament from her all wrapped in a package that she had signed herself. I am so proud. She has had fun signing Christmas presents here at home now that I know she can do it. She had a busy day of playing an dwrapping yesterday and finally fell asleep in the middle of the living room floor at about 6:45pm. I was shocked that she slept until 7:00 this morning, but I definitely took advantage and got a few extra zzz's.

Tripp is doing well. Ear infection seems to be gone and he is just happy to be playing everyday. As long as I remember to give him milk, feed him, and keep him in clean diapers he is a very happy little boy.

Easy and I are pleased to say that the bank finally has everything they need to put our construction loan through. We are waiting for the title company to gets us on the schedule, but it looks like next week is REALLY the week it will happen. I'll take that as a Christmas present and be glad when construction starts on January 2nd! Of course, that really only leaves 3 1/2 months to get the house done, so every "spare" minute Easy has will be spent working on it. I am fully prepared at this point to bring little Vivian home here and move a few weeks later. Easy keeps telling me it can be done, but I've been married to a construction man long enough to know better than to count on that kind of a schedule.

Well, I think that's all the update I have. I'm headed to Baytown tomorrow. Easy's company Christmas party is Saturday night so the kids will be playing with Uncle Matt and Aunt Kara. Paris counts this as a HUGE treat and is very excited. It should be a nice weekend, and probably the last I will have for a while with my little family actually spending time together so I'm going to cherish it.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope that peace, joy , and love abound during your holiday season. Travel safe and I'll see you back in the blog world when it's all over!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What a Week!

Man has it been a crazy are my highlights:

Saturday: High of 89 degrees! We started the process of cleaning the house so we could put up Christmas decorations. This was a three day process. The cleaning on Saturday required music...that's how dirty my house was. i laughed at myself as I loaded some of my favorites into the the CD player. First up was The Police. Jennifer, my sitter and hire for whatever I need person, was here working with me. She had never heard of The Police and was shocked to discover how many of their songs she knew and liked. She also didn't know Sting was their front man. I am getting old, very old.

Sunday: High in the upper 50's. Work at early service at church, go to class, come home and prepare dishes for Christmas party in Centerville that starts at 3pm. Do more cleaning and give Jennifer a list of what to do while we are gone. Come home to a clean house around 8pm and begin decorating after kids are in bed.

Monday: High in the 60's. Normally my stay at home day. Had to pick up an estimate for parts of the new house, as well as some items I ordered from a friend. Attempt to clean the childrens' rooms - fail miserably. Apparently it is impossible to clean a 3 year old's room when she and her little brother are at home. That was a wasted hour and a half. Tripp's room got straightened but has yet to be really cleaned. Sniffles start for all but Easy. Have dinner hot when Easy gets home. Put up tree and decorate after kids are in bed.

Tuesday: High in the 50's. Sonshine school for Paris. Hobby Lobby for needed supplies to complete Christmas presents. Tripp is crashing so grocery store must wait. He continues in a very cranky and clingy fashion ALL afternoon. Find out there are "a couple" of cases of Mono at Sonshine School. Grocery store gets done around 6:30 after Easy gets home. At least I only took Paris with me. I hate going to the store at night. One of the perks of being a stay-home mom is getting to grocery shop in the morning when no one is there. I made up for this slightly by parking in the "reserved for Expetant Mothers" spot at HEB. Sniffles are worse.

Wednesday: High in the 40's. Paris wakes up at 5:15 am. Work my last day of Ladies' Bible Class - I'm the childcare coordinator. Hold Tripp almost the ENTIRE two and a half hours I am there so he doesn't scream. Close out the nursery and assess what needs to be done before next semester starts. Make appointment for Tripp. Go to playgroup at friend's house - we are the only ones who show up so it's a small crowd but a welcome fun spot during the day. Take two small children out in the beginning of a winter storm so Tripp can see our awesome pediatrician. Take children to pharmacy to drop off perscription (he has an ear infection and cold). Decide Daddy can pick it up later since there are no seats available. Have dinner hot for Easy. Realize at 8pm that I can not locate the syringe thing that we use to give babies medicine so I have to get dressed - yes, I was already in pajamas - and go to the pharmacy in the midst of worsening winter storm. The Burb was already iced over. Go to bed "early" only to have Paris start crying because she can't breathe through her nose. Administer medicince to mostly sleeping 3 year old and let her lay in my bed until it kicks in. Easy works in the office until 2:30 AM. Not much sleeping going on.

Thursday: Highs in the 30's. Wake up to an ice covered world. Kids seem to be feeling OK and the roads are clear so we get ready for Sonshine School. At 8:30 I go out to start the Burb so it can be warming up and defrosting only to find out I can't get the doors open. They are indeed frozen shut. I tried the tap water deal to no avail. Break it to Paris that she won't get to go to school today. The rest of the day has been pretty good - managed to get the burb open around 10:30 so I could get my hair cut at 11:00 - of course that meant taking BOTH kids with me. My stylist is a saint. She even helped me bundle them back up when we were done. Needless to say we ALL took big naps this afternoon.

Friday: Still stinking COLD. Having friends over for lunch and dinner so it will be a busy one!

Saturday: Not sure about the weather - I can't plan that far ahead. Meeting in Houston so Mom is coming to watch the kids. She's a saint too.

I'm tired. Please note that Paris' room is still not straight or clean and Tripp's room isn't clean. I haven't done any laundry until today and that's mainly because I'm out of pants. I can't even fathom what life with three children and a house twice this size is going to be like. I think I will be tired a lot.

I would like to amend Thursdays comments to add 3 episodes of puking between the hours of 9 & 11 pm. Paris seems to be fine now. I spoke with our friends and the playdates are still on. We are all hoping it was just something she ate. Since it seemed to fit with the theme of my week I though I should add it to the list.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Baby (Girl) Brain

Well, I've been trying to blog for almost a week and thought that blogger was having an attack of stupid. I kept getting this incorrect password deal and I'd try to fix it only to have it go nuts again in a matter of minutes. Turns out I was just not remembering my username properly and was also not reading all of the info they sent me to "fix" the problem. Apparently I am the one having an attack of some kind. Instead of stupid though, I'll just call it baby brain.

If you've never been pregnant, jsut let me warn you that your brain power decreases as the baby grows. You will NEVER recover all of it which means as you continue to have more children you start with less each time. I'm thinking that the mom in Yours, Mine, & Ours had no brain left at all and was simply functioning out of habit. So, consider yourself warned.

Now for the real's a girl!!! I have mixed feelings on that announcement. Easy had almost convinved me it was a boy, so I'd really been thinking about all things male. Now I have to shift gears and get ready for hair bows and shoes all over again. Of course, I'll get to do some things I didn't with Paris. Things like buy a really cute pink outfit to bring her home in. We didn't know what Paris was going to be so she came home in a white polo shirt with a duck on the collar. I'll also get to make the nursery a girl's room. Again, something Paris had in a completely neutral fashion. So, I'm warming to the idea and there's a little part of me that is even excited at the prospect of more estrogen than testosterone in the house.

For those that are curious...her name will be Vivian Faith. Easy had an Aunt Vivian that was tragically killed as a young woman. I never knew Vivian. She was the youngest of his mom's siblings (I think), and her death impacted them all. It is a beautiful name and I am beyond happy that Becky (my MIL) is pleased with our choice. It feels so absolutely right I can hardly even explain it. I think this baby's conception and her name are complete and total "God things."

Enough's time to put the kids down for "rest time" and attempt to get some laundry done and maybe even rest a bit myself.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Magic Words

I went to the doctor today. Looks like little Foster is growing right on schedule. I'm in the midst of the really quick, "everything looks good" series of visits. No tests, no bloodwork. Just your basic weigh-in and blood pressure. Of course, we did hear the heartbeat. That's always amazing. The little munchkin was quite active and made my doctor chase around to catch the heartbeat. It doesn't matter how many times you hear it, that little pulsing, swooshing sound just takes your breath away. I wish I could say that was my favorite part of the visit today...but it wasn't.

My favorite part involved those amazing magical words that all pregnant women want to hear. The doctor is looking over my chart, studying my numbers and lab results, and then she says it..."weight looks good." Do you hear the angels singing? I did.

I was a bit concerned, as most women are, that I was perhaps ballooning a little too fast. Craving M&Ms hasn't helped. I keep telling myself that I'm not really eating that much, but it's hard to be convincing when my belly is clearly protruding. So, today was a relief. A pound a week at this point is what the "experts" say is OK and that's exactly what I did.

It was just a nice reminder that God engineered my body to work a certain way and as long as I'm listening to it (and Him) I'll be fine. Sometimes my body craves M&Ms, sometimes broccoli or soy milk, and yes, sometimes a peanut butter, mayo, and pickle sandwich. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I feel Compelled

I'm writing not to insight the fury of anyone today, but simply because I feel compelled to do so. I will be going to vote today. I think it is my duty, my responsibility, my right. Reading so much lately about the issues in this constitutional vote has got me thinking and here's what I came up with:

When I was younger and fancied myself a liberal (mostly because my family wasn't). I used to think very differently. I used to say things like "Well, personally I feel this way, but politically I fell this other way." I would vehemently explain myself and talk about America and what it means. I understand that logic and view point without a doubt.

Now I'm older and in a much different place in my journey. What I have learned is this: I put God first above everything in my life. Yes, above my children and my husband. In order for me to do that I have to do everything I can to live by His word and to help others do the same. I never shove my views down someone else's throat, but do my best to simply live my life as Christ-like as I can and talk with others when the Spirit leads me to or they ask. It's that living my life part that has made a shift. If I am to be true to who I am in Christ I must, yes I said MUST, align my political views with my personal beliefs. To be any other way is living a lie.

That's all I have to say. I hope ALL of you go vote today and that your vote is congruent with your faith.

Monday, October 31, 2005


My 3-year-old daughter walked out of her room one day last week and looked me squarely in the eye and proclaimed, "I have to be before I can do Mommy." Um, hello? Someone took their profound pill that morning! The timing was good though, so I thought I'd share some random, not completely coherent thoughts on this topic.

Be-Do-Have is a saying Easy and I are familiar with from some of the training for the business we have. It's generally taught like this. You must become (be) the right person before you can do the things that will allow you to have rewards (typically in business seen as earthly things - mostly monetary gain). Frequently it is even taught that God will put you through things to help you become that person before he helps you do those things that allow you to have the rewards he has planned for you. I struggle a lot with the strange balance of wanting only God's will in my life and at the same time pursuing some sort of earthly success....but that another blog. For now I'd like to just ponder the thought that lies beneath this idea of being first.

Just days before Paris proclaimed this little jewel our preacher, Foree, had delivered a great sermon. Granted I didn't hear all of it. Those of you with young children know that hearing an entire sermon is a treat all to rare. What I do remember is Foree speaking about how many times in scripture it says that it was not yet Christ's time. The idea being that there were things yet to be done before it was time for him to save us all with his ultimate sacrifice. He needed to experience and become all that it is to be human and then wait for his Father's timing. I thought of this after Paris statement. In truth Christ had to BE one of us before he could DO what he was sent for so that WE can have the most amazing reward. The idea of being and doing so someone else can reap a reward is one not well tolerated in American society. It is however, how we should live our lives. To truly be Christlike we must constantly strive to become the person God wants us to be so we can do His good work and allow others to "have" a share in his Kingdom!

Another thought......this one credited to Daniel Orozco, our current Sunday school teacher. Christ did not tell his disciples that they were to BE fishers of men. He said they were to BECOME fishers of men! This implies process does it not? Even Christ went through a process of being human before His time came. I think for us it is in that process of becoming we realize that we can not be with out acknowledging our dependence on our Father. I also think we are never done with the process. Even when we have made remarkable "discoveries" and see our life changed through the Truth, there is still more. In reality we can not become enough. We can never do for ourselves what Christ has done for us. And we will never DO anything that will earn us our heavenly reward. Instead we should always strive to become what God wants us to be to better His kingdom, not for our gain.

So, sweet Paris I guess I agree. There are many things in life that require you to "be" something before you can "do" them. You have to be a certain age to vote or drive, and a certain height to ride rollercoasters. The beautiful lesson that I hope to impart to you as you grow is that you should always strive to be what God wants you to be, and by loving and accepting His son who has already done the doing for you, you can indeed have the reward of eternal life. That is my prayer for you daily.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fabulous Smooch

I have an amazing husband! I got an early anniversary present. Easy (aka Smooch) and I will celebrate our 7th anniversary on December 19th this year. Well, I got a great present sweet Smooch got us tickets to go see Bon Jovi in Houston on February 21st!!!!!

For those of you new to my blog, you may not know that I LOVE Bon Jovi! It takes an amazing man to spend money - on good seats I might add - to take his wife to see her biggest celebrity crush in concert. The cool thing is that from now on when I see Bon Jovi I won't just think "Wow"...instead I will be reminded that I have a fantastic husband that loves me enough to plan four months ahead to take me to a concert I've always wanted to attend. I am truly blessed with this man by my side. So, thanks Smooch for a great anniversary present, and thank you God for a fabulous Smooch!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bathing Badges

Well, it's official. I am in full-on spoiling mode. I spent the better part of half an hour bathing a stuffed dog today. For those of you who see Paris frequently, you have most likely met Badges. Paris' "Grant Susan" (that's great-aunt Susan) picked Badges out for her last time she was in Texas. Nobody knew Badges would become "the toy," but that's exactly what happened. He goes EVERYWHERE with Paris. Needless to say he got filthy. I, of course, was afraid to wash the little guys for fear he wouldn't survive and....well then what would we do? So the hunt began. After looking many places, Graggie (my mom) found another Badges. Jackpot, we have a backup.......let the bathing begin!

I read the tag. It said surface wash only. Stink. I really wanted to toss him in the washer. Graggie advised against it. I consulted with other mommy friends. No one had ever attempted bathing a beanie, so I was on my own. We opted for the equivalent of a sponge bath. He doesn't look like new, but he is most certainly in better shape than he was an hour ago. Back-up Badges will stay safely hidden for now.......who know what the future holds as the newly clean Badges continues to go on adventures.

The whole thing got me to thinking about how Christ cleanses us from sin. Just a few days ago when I brought up the idea of bathing Badges, Paris insisted that he did not need a bath, he was "just fine." Then, she spilled some koolaid on him. There he sat with a glaring red stain. She decided a bath would be OK. Isn't that exactly what we do? We walk around thinking we're just fine. We don't see the filth that we gather on a daily basis. We might see a spot, but we think, "It's just a tiny little spot, it not so bad." After getting used to seeing that spot we'll even defend and justify it. Indeed, we begin to think it is "just fine!"

Then something will happen. Satan will work on us. Suddenly we find ourselves with a big red stain. Once we start looking we might even realize just how dingy we've gotten. So we go to our Savior and an amazing thing happens. He doesn't throw us in the washer to be twisted and spun, he doesn't hold us under in the sink until the spots disappear. Instead, the instant we confess and ask, he makes us spotless. It is the most gentle cleansing anyone will ever have. He's already suffered the pain and agony necessary for our cleansing. All we feel is our burden lift and a peace that makes no sense to our human brain.

The amazing thing is that when He's done, we are white a snow. We are better than we were to start with because of His precious love and sacrifice. Let us all remember to bath in His love on a daily basis, not just when we spill koolaid on ourselves.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Expansion and Anxiety

It occurs to me that expansion and anxiety go hand in hand. When I think of a business making a push for expansion I see a picture of the CEO and most of the managment scurrying around taking care of details as their stress levels rise. In the church too, expansion can create anxiety. We've been in our new building for over a year and still haven't sold the old one. Just try and tell me that doesn't create some anxiety for church leaders. Even when we start a new study to expand our thinking there is a bit of anxiety because we know some of our beliefs and concepts may be challenged....or even have to change.

So, I guess it's not shocking that as we are trying to "expand" our house (building a bigger one) I'm a bit anxious. I know, however, that God planted that dream in our hearts during a very challenging time and that He will bring it to fruition according to His plan. I guess most of my anxiety rests in that statement. His plan. For the first time in what I consider the "adult" part of my journey with Christ, God's plan and MY plan just don't seem to be in sync.

I didn't plan to have my husband laid off weeks before having our second child. I also didn't plan for it to take 9 months and most of our nest egg for him to find a new job....that's in Houston. I didn't plan for the appraisal on our house to come in $13,000 lower than the price we had on a contract to sell it. I didn't plan on our construction loan taking FOREVER to process. I didn't plan on having my third child now. At no point did I plan on trying to build a new home with my Smooch while pregnant. I would never have planned it that way. Seriously guys, pray for Easy.

Maybe that's the point. Perhaps I was getting all to comfortable thinking I was in control of my life. Well, let me tell you something. I know better now. God had proven over and over to me that He takes care of His children. Yet, every morning when I get dressed and realize that my waist has expanded, my bust has expanded, my rib cage has expanded, and my tush has yes, expanded, I have to fight. I fight the anxiety that boils up as I try to figure out how I will be a good mother to three children under the age of four, how we will maintain or improve our financial situation given the low appraisal and RISING gas prices, where I will put this precious little one if the house isn't done in time, how will not loose myself and my Smooch in parenting and work and school and all that takes up our life, how, why, where, what, why, why, why

Then I remember. I remember that I am a child of God and I am a friend of God. I'd like to say that the anxiety and questions vanish, but the truth is they show up frequently during the day. The good new is that they stay in my head. They aren't from the heart and they aren't in my heart. In fact, in my very center I feel peace. All that anxiety can't touch the peace that passes understanding. Thank you God for filling me up every day with that peace.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Tag Team

Well, I've been tagged by both my mother and sweet Paige, so here it is.......

7 Things I plan to do before I Die

Go to Hawaii with my Mom, Nana, and the Cali girls
Write something that is published (I have a title, just no text yet)
Learn to sew
See my children grow up, get married, and make me a grandparent (in that order)
Build a HUGE house in the Hill Country
Take my daddy on a safari
Buy a pair of custom made shoes

7 Things I can do

Cross stitch
Nurse a baby, talk on the phone, and tie a toddler's shoes all at the same time
Collect a urine sample from a two year old
Tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue (it's genetic)
Shoot a deer
Make a good lasagna
Sing my babies to sleep

7 Things I can not do

Draw anything more elaborate than a stick figure
Speak Spanish
Go to sleep as quickly as my husband
Beat my brother at any game.......ever
Keep my babies from getting hurt at some point
Keep my house clutter free
Prevent the ripple of fear I feel when I see a spider any larger than a pea

7 Things that attract me to another person


7 Celebrity Crushes

Adam Sandler
James Spader
Jon Bon Jovi
Robert Redford
Mark Ruffalo
Anthony Hopkins (have you heard that man speak?!?!)
Richard Gere (sp?)

7 Things I say the most

Tripper, no no
Paris Grace!!!
What's wrong?
I'm tired
Are you OK?
Hey Bubba

7 People I'm Tagging

Mary Lou
Jason M
Lesa B
Paula H

Monday, September 26, 2005

Return to Normal

Well, it was an eventful, non-eventful weekend. Rita changed her course and spared my area her wrath. We got a little wind and that was about it. We did, however, get the rare opportunity to spend several days with just my dad. Many times we've had Mom here, but other than fire school (when he stays at a hotel and pretty much just drops by once or twice a day for 30 minutes) we've never had just my dad with us. It took him 19 hours to get here from Baytown (that's normally a 2 hour trip). Needless to say he was passed exhausted when he got here. It was kind of nice to be able to pamper him a bit. Not that mighty Skip takes to pampering, but he did listen the next morning when I handed him some motrin and said, "Here take this and eat this toast, your body will thank me later." Indeed he did thank me and we then had several days of relaxation as we watched the storm move further away from us.

I think mostly it was good for Tripp. He usually just stares at my dad, and sometimes cries. By the time Dad left to go home yesterday they had bonded and I even saw Tripp give him a grin once or twice. I hate that it took a hurricane to make that happen, but I'll take it. I'm not sure when else those two would have had that kind of time without the distractions of the dogs and Graggie (who were in New Braunfels with Nana). So, we got some wind and some serious quality time with Dad/Dadoo.

So, now all of my family is home where the belong. No one had any serious damage to their homes, so all is "back to normal." Easy got up at the crack of dawn and headed off on his commute to Houston for work. The kids got up way earlier than I wanted to and both had lots of snot. I had the pleasure of taking them both with me to a follow-up appointment with my foot doctor, then we met friends for lunch. We were supposed to have playgroup at a local park with "squirty water" (a fountain for the kids to play in). Unfortunately when we got there the water was turned off and the park was covered with school kids. Since the thermometer was reading 101 degrees we decided to come home. Paris cried all the way. She did not nap and Tripp only slept for about 45 minutes. So, I'm sitting here thinking about how frustrated I could be at this moment with two cranky snotty kids, a queasy tummy and tired body, and I can't seem to get frustrated. Sure, I've sent Paris to the cornera few time this afternoon, but the nagging knot in the chest that happens when I'm at my wits' end with the kids isn't there today. Today I am thankful we have a park to go to even if the water doesn't work. I'm thankful I have two children that are full of energy. I'm thankful to have friends to eat lunch with. Indeed I am thankful for my sometimes frustrating, but always wonderful NORMAL life! God is so good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Random Tidbits

We were in Long Beach, CA over the weekend. This was my first time to Southern California since I went to Disney as a VERY small child. That was the wonderful trip many of you have heard about where my dad fashioned a child restraint our of a dog leash. I guess those nifty little harnesses we have now didn't exist, so he just used what he had. I've always given him a hard time about that, but now that I'm a parent and have actually spent money on a little blue harness for Paris (which was utterly pointless by the way) I have much more respect for his methods.

Anyway, the trip was great. We were there for a conference, but it really felt more like a vacation. I'm not sure I've ever experienced weather quite like that. It was amazing. It made me think, "wow, I could live here!" Then I remembered....this was California. It's going to fall off one day. I guess I'll stick to Texas and just vacation to nicer climates when I can. Have you noticed that most places with "nicer climates" have some sort of serious draw back? Earthquakes, Floods, Hurricanes, Liberals etc........ just a thought. And no, I don't really lump Liberals in with "natural disasters", I just thought they should make the list of drawbacks for this southern conservative.

On another most all time favorite rock start is going to be on Oprah tomorrow!!! A whole entire hour of Job Bon Jovi!!!!! I can not wait! If I had DVR I would record it. As it is, I've got a timer set on my cable box to automatically tune in. Did you know that Bon Jovi has been married for 16 years and has four kids? He's a total rarity in the Hollywood/Music industry. Not to mention he makes great music and is TOTALLY hot.

Yes, I know. I'm a married woman. Fortunately for me my husband knows of my "little crush" and has no problem. Something about the "unattainable" I think makes it OK. Besides, Easy has a thing for Molly Shannon. That's right folks, the arm pit sniffing comic from SNL. Personally, I think I have better taste when it comes to unrealistic famous people crushes.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Emily Rose

Warning: this one may be long!

Easy and I had date night on Saturday and we went to see the Exorcism of Emily Rose. For those of you who know me well at this stage of my life, you know this is a bit out of character for me. Once a spooky movie fanatic, I have become a strong opponent of horror movies. Something about Emily Rose kept tugging at me though.

I'm currently going to a Bible study on spiritual warfare. It' also really just been in the last few years that I realized how very active Satan is in our daily lives. Maybe that's why this movie appealed to me. I eventually just prayed about it and then decided it was going to be ok to see.

As we settled into the theatre seats I said a prayer that God allow me to see Him in this film and to not feel the evil that was surely to be dealt with. You see my friends, that's why I refuse to watch horror movies anymore. I can FEEL the evil behind them. It's like I just spent money to invite Satan and his demons into my house, worse yet, into my mind. So I prayed and braced myself still unsure if I had made the right decision.

God is good. I think this movie was well done. Whether you beleive in demonic possession or not really doesn't matter. I felt like in the end this movie did a good job of making people think. I don't want to give any key pieces away for those of you who have not yet seen the film, but it causes everyone to stop and really think about what they believe and where they put their faith. I left feeling not unnerved, but glad that God is on my side and reminded that my battles are not with flesh & blood. Make no mistake, spiritual warfare rages around us at all times. We are served well to remember that.

Unfortunately, this movie only received a PG-13 rating. There is no nudity, no language, and no real violence between people. It is, however, a film about a subject matter that is way to serious for children. So, here's my main concern....PG-13 ratings do not actually restrict anyone from seeing a film. There was an 11 year old girl in line right in front of us to buy tickets. Not a parent in sight anywhere. She asked for a ticket to Emily Rose, the cashier asked her age...11..and then sold the ticket. Concerned about it, I asked the cashier why she did that. The answer is simple....the PG in PG-13 makes it the parent's job, not the theater's to restrict who sees the film. Makes sense. Bad parents. I won't even address the fact that this child was there unsupervised. It left me wondering if her parents had seen the film. Did they watch it and then think, "yeah, my 11 year old daughter needs to watch this?" I doubt it.

So I guess my complaint is with the rating. This film should have been rated R for the simple fact that children have no business seeing it! Easy and I walked away and had an in depth conversation about Satan and God and how spiritual warfare effects our daily walks. Children, however, walk away from this film with a series of disturbing images burned into their brains. I'm sure there are some who are mature and were able to see the message of hope and perserverence visible in this film. Most, I fear, simply saw some frightening things that either served to make them beleive that evil is a joke, or that will be a tool for Satan later in their lives. When those kids close their eyes to sleep at night, Satan will not think twice about replaying those images for them.

So, who wins this battle? I think Satan won a big one with the films rating. I take comfort in knowing that God has already won the war. When Christ rose, death was defeated. Satan can not win the war. Let's all make an effort to be aware of his activity in our lives so he doesn't win many battles either.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Food Aversion

Well, I guess I should first say that we received a surprise a few weeks ago. It seems that God thinks we are such amazing parents that we should have another baby. That's right folks, I'm pregnant...about 8 weeks or so. It came as a total shock to us, but now that we are over the inital terror we are getting quite excited. I believe all the family has been told, so it should be safe to blog about. If any of you reading are family and didn't already know....sorry!

So, that being said...I hit my first food aversion a few minutes ago. Easy and I, in an effort to be more health consious, have stopped buying white bread and instead keep whole grain and wheat product in the house. I got hungry for lunch and made a beautiful turkey sandwich with my favorite olives and a nice soft wheat kaiser roll. Unfortunately, when I put it in my mouth and chewed....well, let's just say it didn't work. I managed to swallow the first bite, but number two didn't have a chance. It's amazing how the body can reject something so completely!

The truth is that I wanted a sandwich on a white kaiser roll, but since we don't keep such things in the house I went with my healithier alternative. I wish I could say it was the turkey, or olives, or chees, or mayo, but it wasn't. It the taste of that wonderful healthy WHEAT!! I'm literally sitting here looking at this great sandwich that I can't eat. Ah, the joys of pregnancy. My plate now looks like that of my 3-year-old....every Cheetoe gone and a healthy sandwich just sitting there.

I guess the good news is for those who make the wonderful starchy white bread products. Looks like they'll be getting a few of my dollars over the coming months......Anyone want my sandwich?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

What a Morning!

Let me just say that I am about to totally brag on myself. It is not yet 10:00 am and I've already done 3 loads of laundry, boiled, chopped, and frozen several pounds of chicken for future use, made cookies from scratch, reviewed and submitted changes on our houseplan, and facilitated some product delivery for our business. And I'm dressed. And the kids have had breakfast - Tripp's already down for morning nap. And I had breakfast.

I guess the fact that I felt compelled to tell you about this lets you know that this is not my normal productivity level. Judging by the looks of my house, however, it is something to shoot for daily.

So, I hope you are all having productive mornings, and say a little prayer that I can have more of these....or even that I just keep this pace for one whole day. :-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Take a Look

In the last two weeks MANY things have made me want to blog. I weird thing happened though. In each situation by the time I got to the computer with time to write it out I had lost my steam. Most of these things were irritants or surprises, so being out of steam about them made it seem pointless to try and steam them up again. So, last night as I went yet again from being incredibly irritated about something to seeing that it was seriously not a big deal and probably working out for the best anyway, it occurred to me that That is what I needed to post about!

Sunday night as part of Foree's lesson we looked at I John 1:1. What Foree pointed out was that seeing with eyes and looking at something aren't exactly the same thing. He tied this in with being slow to anger (another scripture we were reading). Most of us tend to see something with our eyes, react, and then LOOK at the situation more closely. This is NOT what God calls us to do!

Last night was a prime example of this lesson. In the time it took me to get from Tomball Ford (the place of irritation) to home, along with dinner and conversation with my Smooch, my thinking on the subject (which is really of no relevance here) went from anger to "oh, that really does make more sense for our family." Hello? If I would take the time to really LOOK at things before reacting in anger or frustration, can you even imagine how much energy I could save?

The bottom line is that God is in control of even those situations that frustrate us. Sometimes when we look closely we can see how it all fits together. Sometimes we can't. But even in those times that we can't make sense of it, we need to Trust that God has it covered and know that He will not harm us. In fact, He delights in blessing us.

I am grateful that over the last two week God allowed me to "make sense" of some of the frustrating things in my life. I'm grateful that He used Foree to make a lesson more clear. I'm grateful that He kept me from blogging my frustrations and instead led me to blog a lesson learned (or at least one that I needed reminding on!). More than anything right now I am just grateful that He is my God and that "He's got my back!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Blogging Manners

I found myself sucked into some somewhat hostile banter while commenting on a friends blog over the last week. It got me to thinking about how vulnerable we make ourselves by putting our ideas and thoughts out for public consumption. I realize that we live in America and we all have the freedom to think our own thoughts and give them voice. What I was surprised at was that it seems there are some whose comments seem to not have much point on there own. They simply serve to beat down the poster or others that have commented. It was terribly easy to get sucked into some of the "debate," but I found myself having to fight the childish side of me. I really had the urge to stoop right down there and name call just like they had. I refrined, but it got me to thinking.

So, what do we do when our opinions come under hostile, unsolicited attack? Turn the other cheek. We must be Christ-like in ALL we do. It is so human to wanted to argue back, but that exaclty what Satan wants. He loves starting arguments amongst believers over things that have nothing to do with our salvation. Seeing us line up against one another give him such joy!

It is up to us then to prevent that from happening. We need to pray for discernment that we know when to fight for a belief and when to acknowledge that though we may differ in opinion, ultimately we are brothers and sisters in Christ and that no amount of arguing politics or so many of the other trivial things we waste our time with will change that. So, I press on and will apply the Thumper rule to my own commenting. I hope you will all do the same. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

God is a Kid

I took the kids, along with my mom, to see my Nana last week. While we were there Paris was her usual self. She filled us in on all sorts of tidbits about how she views the world. I think the most interesting thing she said is that "God is a Kid." She was in conversation with my mom. I think they were talking about things God created or something. Regardless, her theory that God is a kid stuck in my head and has been bouncing around for a week.

So, is God a kid? Well, he's certainly amused at the little things in life. He though bunnies should have fuzzy tails and frogs should have crazy long tongues. These are things only the mind of a child could come up with. I imaging He sometime must belly laugh while watching His creations play. Have you ever watched squirrels play? It's really funny.

Of course, He also orchestrates, generates, oversees, and carries us through some of the most complicated circumstances imaginable. His wisdom exceeds human understanding. He couldn't possibly be a kid.

Ah, but wait. He is everything everyone needs. For my 3 year old daughter, that is a God that is a kid. For me it sometimes a friend, daddy, disciplinarian, or just a big hug. I am so grateful that my heavenly Father can be everything I need. So, I guess Paris is right again. God is a kid for her, He is everything I need, and he's probably even a baby for Tripp. His love transforms into just what we need in every moment of our life. Wow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Freestone Drive

Well, we put a contract on a lot last week. It's an acre lot. Don't ask me what I'll do with all that space....I'm thinking a "Papa" garden (that would be my grandpa) and eventually a pool? The development is called Peach Crossing. It's just south of the Speedway in College Station. It will take an hour off of Easy's time in the car everyday. And....I LOVE IT!!!!!!

1665 Freestone sounds nice doesn't it? It flows well. Not only did God bless us with a lot in my most favorite development that's still in the CSISD, the very lot I've been dreaming about for the last 6 months was available....and it was the cheapest one left! God is good!

So, now the fun begins. We've begun the process of securing financing to build the house. Our dear friends the Haynies have begun the same process to buy our current home. Our house plans are at the architect being finalized. We've already pick most of the colors and me it just feels like all that's left is building it.

So I have a simple request of my friends and family that read this little posting of mine....pray. I am so crazy excited about this project and so crazy scared at the same time. All the what-ifs run through my head on a daily basis. So please pray that the financing process goes smoothly for both us and our friends (if we don't sell our house this project won't happen). They want so badly to buy this place, and I can't think of anyone I'd rather sell it to. Pray also that once that's all settled that the building process is efficient and that Easy and I don't argue too much. Many have told me that building a house with your spouse is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Easy and I have fairly similar tastes....his is just a bit more brown than mine.

Anyway, I'm not feeling witty or anything today, I'm just coveting your prayers over this process.

Oh, and I got Tripp's first haircut today! He did great though I don't understand how it's physically possible for a wiggling 9 month old to get a haircut that is even....but somehow it happened! He's such a cute little man. If I have time I'll post a picture later tonight.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Growing Up Cleaver

My friend Lesa suggested writing down a brief biography...I'm taking her challenge so sit back and see my story for what it is. Life growing up in one of the most "normal" families that exists in today's society. My friends always flocked to my house because we were so normal and healthy. I think you'll see that even the Cleavers have a few dysfunctions........

Most of my life was spent on good ol' Apache Trail in Baytown, TX. I was born in the old San Jacinto hospital and lived in Baytown until I left for college. The basics of my family are as follows:

Skip & Nell - parents
My Matt - older bro
Papa & Bebe - Skip's parents
Daddy Bill & Nana - Nell's parents

I went to Noah's Ark nursery school. I have only one vivid memory from there. I was put in time out essentially for associating with the wrong person. Apparently the friend I was playing with had NOT finished her craft project and I had. Regardless, we both got in trouble. It's quite possible that my little brain twisted the facts on this one, but that's how I remember it.

Elementary school was at Harlem Elementary. Harlem is no longer standing. I believe it was condemned and torn down. I had almost all great teachers there. I can only think of one exception. I won't name names, but in 1st/2nd grade math I learned how to yawn through my ears. I did not, however learn my math tables. Grades 3-5 were awesome. I was put in the GATE (gifted and talented - whatever that means) program. I had lots of friends....mostly boys. I didn't seem to fit in well with or be comfortable with the girls much. Essentially, I went to school and church and played whenever possible. Summers were full of big adventures in the "big ditch and woods" in the back of our neighborhood. At night I remember frequent bedtime Bible stories and on Saturday mornings Dad cooked. I understand now that this was to give Mom a break. Back then I just thought it was fun. Most important in this stage was accepting Christ as my savior in the 4th grade - baptized on Christmas Eve with my whole family there.

Jr. High was at Cedar Bayou. I believe all of the buildings I had classes in have been condemned and torn down. I continued in the GATE program here and added some extracurricular stuff like orchestra (violin), track, and basketball. This is when the youth group fun started at church. We had a group of parents called YAC (youth advisory committee) that planned our activities. Basically Jr. High had pleasant enough experiences, but over all it stunk. People are just mean in Jr. High, and in the words of one of my high school teachers I was an "ugly duckling." The swan days didn't hit until AFTER Jr. High. I did meet a boy right before Jr. High started that became a recurring person in my life. We'll call him B. What do I remember most, I got inducted into the National Jr. Honor Society and my dad wasn't there because he had a volleyball game. Sorry Dad, no slam's just sticks out in my brain.

High school was at Robert E. Lee. I'm happy to say it has NOT been torn down (yet). High school was terribly fun. I discovered boys and they discovered me (the swan phase finally hit). I was in good classes and had some great teachers. We got a youth minister at church. Mark & Kathi Waltenbaugh will FOREVER be cherished by me. They truly helped shape who I am today. I dated a boy for about a year and a half in the middle of high school. Mark & Kathi, along with my Daddy Bill were instrumental in helping me realize that I needed a Christian boy in my life. B, by the way went to MoSt so he qualified. My senior year I began dating him. I fell hard. So did he. We would do the on again off again dance for years. Graduation came, now I'm a "grown up." B and I are not together, but want to be. He's going to be gone most of the summer so we don't do anything about it. When he gets back I'm dating his best friend. Oops.

Freshman and Sophomore year of college were at good old Harvard on the Hill (Lee College). I worked there as well. It was fun and I got the basics out of the way. I am glad that when you transfer, you just move the hours, not the grades. Due to pure laziness I received 18 hours of D in Mr. Britt's American Studies program. (yes, as in John Britt) It was a fantastic class, I was just lazy. Summer between these years B and I hook up again. This time for keeps I think. I was blissfully happy. Then my dad got fired in the fall. (unjustly) My Papa's heath started to crater. I decided that I would not go to A&M - partly to save $ given Dad's situation and mostly because of B. My parents threw a fit. There were tears. I sent my application in. I got my acceptance a few days before my Papa died. A few weeks later B broke up with me.

I moved to College Station in August. I still thought B and I would find our way to each other again. We wrote and talked on the phone. Meanwhile I date a geek in the band so I could get good seats at the football games. In November I started a part-time job and met a boy named Sanford. You all know him as Easy. Since I was dating the band geek we did not start seeing each other, but I new that there was something special about him and I wanted to be around him as much as possible. Over Christmas my dad got his job back, geek and I split up, and B and I had our final time together. I knew it was really the end and was oddly not upset at all. Of course, I had already met Easy.

The rest of the story goes fairly quickly. Easy and I started dating in January of 1997. My Daddy Bill died in November that year. Easy proposed two weeks later. By March I was diagnosed by my doctor as suffering from depression. Somehow I thought simply knowing what I was battling would make it go away. Easy and I got married at MoSt in December 1998. The first year of our marriage was rough - it was the most awful stage of my depression. During our second year married my mother took me to a Women of Faith conference. There I heard Sheila Walsh speak. I FINALLY began to realize that I had been ignoring God for a long time. I started the long journey home. The healing process for me is pure God. He took me from thinking of driving off bridges to happy, healthy, and full of life...His life. It took several years for all that to happen. In January of 2001 my Bebe passed away. She was overjoyed to be going to live with Jesus. I was scared the big D would take over again in my grief, but God carried my through. I got pregnant in September that year and we had Paris on June 24, 2002. In the summer of 2003 I went through Weigh Down Workshop and my relationship with my Lord really began to change. We placed membership at A&M Church of Christ and began making Christian friends. By the summer of 2004 I was finally able to say with confidence that I had been healed of my depression. Tripp arrived on October 27th.

So, here I am. 29 years old, I have an AMAZING husband, and two wonderful children. We are getting ready to build a new house. I have two degrees (BS in psychology and MA in Counseling) that I'm not getting paid to use but use daily. I have an ever growing relationship with Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father. I have Christian friends to help me along in the journey and I have a fantastic relationship with my extended family. My husband and I have a joint vision of what we want for our family and the future is exciting.

Oh, and as for the Cleaver might have been easy to miss if you weren't reading between the a nut shell, we don't always agree on what's important in life, we don't always share the same opinions in politics, religion, or what car to drive, we don't grieve as a family when we loose one of our own (we tend to pull away from each other), we battle depression and anxiety.........I could add things to the list, but you get the picture...we're just like everyone else! Above all, however, in all of our dysfunction we cling to the fact that God is the head of our family and that His plan is best and He is in control of all the things we are faced with while on this little spinning ball of life. I will forever be grateful to my Daddy Bill & Nana, Papa & Bebe, and Mom & Dad for teaching me to trust in the Lord and to accept the peace He has to offer.

I just realized that I didn't talk about my Matt. I guess he'll have to do his biography for you to know him....suffice to say that he is the BEST BIG BROTHER IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Boys, Baths, & Snot

Where to start....I gave my children their first joint bath last week. It went very well. Paris didn't spaz out at all so I think it was an overall success. I know I should be thankful that it took until 9 months for the following to happen, but I am none the less wishing it hadn't. Not long after putting Tripp in his little circular bath seat he discovers that he is indeed a boy. He found and would not let go of his "boy parts." Now, before I get comments about how important it is to teach my children the actually names of said it. Even after taking Dr. Johnson's Sexual Dysfunction class in grad school (yes folks, the professor that taught the sex class was a short balding man named Jimmy Johnson - you can't make up that stuff!) and becoming completely desensitized to all things regarding sex and the bodily functions and parts involved in that I still can not stomach hearing the "appropriate terms" flying out of my 3-year old's mouth. it. In my house we have boy parts and lady parts. Deal with it. Ay any rate, Tripp made his discovery which entertained him the duration of the bath and seems to have forgotten all about it. Perhaps I will be fortunate enough that he won't find them again for a few months?

Speaking of baths, I personally will have the pleasure of taking a few over the next month. I am normally a shower person all the way. Unfortunately I have an injury to my left foot that will require weekly visits to the doctor for taping. Of course I am not to get the tape wet so it looks like I'll be doing the bathe with one foot sticking out of the tub deal. Obviously there is some humor in this somewhere, I just haven't found it yet. Fortunately I will get to remove the tape every five days and have a proper shower before going back in for more tape. I'm not sure how Paris will react to "Mo" (her nickname for me) using her tub. She is quite territorial.

And that brings us to snot. There has been a lot of snot at my house the last few weeks. So much that I actually began trying to think of some fabulous lesson I could learn from it. Here's what I came up with. Snot is like sin. Sometimes we have an overabundance of it. It gets nasty and it can become very obvious to others that we are having some sort of issue. When we wipe it away our nose gets all red and gives us away. If we just try to swallow it down we get nauseous. My favorite feature and parallel is this....even when we wake up breathing great and showing no outward signs of's still there, ready at any moment to react to the slightest thing (a smelly flower, too much pepper, a nice cry) to once again make it's appearnce to the outside world. I started to take this analogy further, but ultimately that made Christ a Heavenly Kleenex of sorts and that just seems disrespectful so I'll just leave it alone.

That's it for now. I'll be in Baytown over the weekend. It will be interesting to see how Paris and Willie the growly dog interact after our last trip down there. A prayer or two for a peaceful trip would be appreciated.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Snow in Bryan, TX

Nothing stunning to report today. No major revelations like the last entry. Just some funny stories about my children.

It amazes me that my 9 month old son obeys better than my 3 year old daughter. Tripp discovered a sneaky way to get out of the "den pen" (we can block off our entire den for him to play in) this week. Once I caught on I sat in there with him and everytime he headed to the escape route I gave him a stern "Tripper, no no." Miraculously he stopped and looked at me and went on to play with something else. HELLO?!?! What happens between 9 months and 3 years that makes a child go from quiet obedience to full fledged sass when you set a limit for them? I don't understand.

Speaking of my sassy sweetie....Paris got to play in some snow this week! That's right, there was snow in Bryan, Tx. Now before you get on the weather channel's website and try to find proof of that, let me tell you where it was. College Station has a new ice skating rink called Artic Wolf. We went on a tour with MOMS Club® yesterday. They had us all traverse the entire length of the rink. That's right, moms, kids, strollers...the whole lot of us slip slided across the ice. Fortunately no one fell down, well except Paris, but that's to be expected. She is my daughter you know. :-) Anyway, after playing on the ice they took us through the "machine room" and then out to the back parking lot where they had a moderate sized pile of "snow" for our children to play in. Paris of course imediately climbed to the very top of the pile and then slid down getting her pants and panties SOAKING wet. We let Tripp touch some of the snow and he didn't much like it so we just wheeled him out of the way and let the big kids play. It was nice to have some time to visit with grownups, so I was just chatterboxing away when I hear my sweet little boy scream that scream that all mothers hate. You know, the one that means I am horribly hurt or frightened and it's your fault for not stopping it. Apparently sneaky snake Paris had walked (right past me) over to her brother and shoved a handful of snow right in his face. I'm sure she was just trying to share the fun she was having. Unfortunately for Tripp she hasn't yet developed the skill of knowing the screaming bloody murder means "I don't like that, please stop" in Tripp speak so she just kept shoving snow at him. I sent her for a quick timeout on the curb thinking this would just be a minor hiccup in the fun of the day. Saddly enough, that was not the case. I'll spare you the blow-by-blow, and just say that after some grass throwing and fit throwing we made a hasty exit (much to the relief of my fellow MOMS I'm sure) and went home straight to naptime. Moral of the story....there's a reason God doesn't have it snow in Bryan very often.

Now, just to give you one more chuckle at my silly little goose, I'd like to share with you the words of her favorite nursery song in her own special languange:

Twankle Twankle little star
Hymen wonder what you are
Up Up Puv the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky (yes, this line is accurate, I taught her about diamonds early)
Twankle Twankly little star
Hymen wonder what you are
in Bryaaanne, Tixis!

What will she do when we move across town and live in College Station?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Bite of Life

You know, we're taught all our lives at church to be childlike in our faith. I've always thought that sounded nice, but it wasn't until I had children that I began to understand what that really meant. Paris gave me a prime example of that this week.

For those of you familiar with my parents' dogs, Paris had a bit of a run-in with Willie. Willie is known to Paris is a "growly dog," but up until this week we all believed that they had an understanding about limits. He might growl, but wouldn't really do anything more than that. Turns out that's not the case. He left a nice little bite mark in her hand this week.

In the aftermath as Paris was curled up in my lap watching Heffalump and Willie was in his pen being punished, we all started wondering what to do next. We all love Willie, but he had committed a serious transgression. He hurt my child. As I tell Paris when she disobeys, THAT IS NOT OK! He can no longer be trusted with my children. We all went to bed pondering Willie's fate and how we would handle this. As it turns out, Paris would teach us all a lesson.

The next day Paris began asking when Willie could come out and play with the other dogs. Apparently she felt he needed some time with his friends. She assured us that he would play nice and that he would never, ever bite her again. We talked a lot about why he was being punished, but she was sure that it was time for him to come out. He did and she was so happy to see him out playing that she ran and sqeualed with delight.

Wow, what an example of forgiveness! I learned so much. First, I can't even begin to fathom what our Heavenly Father felt watching His people torture and crucify his Son. I've yet to figure out how to reconcile the conflicting feelings of love and anger I experience when Paris hurts Tripp (or Willie hurst Paris). God knows what that is like to the Nth degree! And then to so gracefully to forgive all that was done and all we continue to do? Trusting so clearly that we will play nice and never ever bite like that again? (Well, I guess he knows that some of us are slow learners and we will make some of the same mistakes over and over, but what amazing patience He has to just keep loving us and forgiving us anyway.) WOW what an amazing God.

So, we now have some new rules to follow when it comes to Willie and the kids. I don't know that my human heart will ever trust the little dog again (and maybe it shouldn't), but I find myself feeling so grateful that my daughter has already given her heart back to one of "her favorite pets." I too am grateful that my Father's love never stops no many how many times I bite His hand. Thanks Paris, for helping me see more clearly.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Little Princess Posted by Picasa

The Little Prince Posted by Picasa