Sunday, December 11, 2011

Have yourself a Merry Litte Christmas.

This time of year reminds me of my grandaddy.  I think it is because he is gone.  People that have left us seem to have a way of creeping back into the forefront of our hearts during the holidays.  Last year at this time I wrote a blog about Christmas without Bennett.  This year we will have another Christmas without Bennett and though there are so many places in my heart that want to explode with words and emotions about that, I don't plan to have an entry about it.  You see what I have realized is that Christmas will be without Bennett for the rest of my life. Just as it will be without my grandaddy and my father in law and Mamaw and Mama Jones.  Christmas will never be the same as it was before any of them were gone for any of us that loved them. 

Tonight I am more grateful than I have been in a long time.  Grateful for the people that are here, the people that have yet to cross to the other side of the veil.  The people that make all that I have been through in the last two years bearable.  That love me just as I am, all of the time.  People like my husband who goes to work everyday and comes home and loves on his girls every night regardless of how tired he is.  People like my daddy who calls me all the time to make sure I am ok.  People like my mom who knows when I am lying and lets me.  People like my sister that loves me enough not to ask.  People like my brother who does something huge like take me to the SEC Championship game to remind me who I am and how much fun I can have.  People like Sam who is my everyday, all of the time.  People like Brett who has become one of the best friends I've got.  People like Anita who calls just in time, every time. People like Billy who is constant and has been for 20 years.  People like Meg that lets me talk longer than I should when we have kids screaming. People like Kelly who never goes away.  All of these people, and the rest of them that I neglected to mention because it is hard to blog with two toddlers running around, have changed my life.  Each of you has made me who I am.  Each of you has challenged me to be better, happier, healthier.  Each of you has taken a little piece of my heart and held it close at just the right time.  And God has blessed me in so many ways by having you in my life.

This Christmas what I want to remember, what I want to celebrate is the lives of these people.  I want to enjoy each and every once of you as much as possible because what I have learned is that we do not get to choose.  We do not have a say.  When Jesus wants you home, you go home.  The last two and a half years have been the hardest of my life.  But with the sorrow has come so much joy.  Joy from my children, my family, my friends.  Joy from a Saviour that loves me enough to let me  have one more day with the ones I love.  That blesses me with another day to laugh until it hurts with my brothers.  That gives me time to talk with my mama late a night when no one else is listening. That gives me breath for another conversation with Sam.  That gives me more time for puzzles and duck duck goose. That gave me a sister that shares my heart and a husband who holds it. That gives me friends that see past my flaws and failures and share their lives with me.  A Saviour who has blessed me with a family full of the best friends a girl could ever ask for.  A Saviour who has watched me fail again and again as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend and yet still holds a place in His kingdom just for me.

This year I want to rejoice in who I have with me on the most special day in history.  The day that Jesus was born.  The day He came to this  earth as human and began a life of perfection and sacrifice. I want to celebrate my life, His life, our lives.   I am grateful for every day that He gives me to share with you.  Thank you for loving me, for being part of my life, and for loving my girls.  Merry Christmas friends.  May God Bless you the way He has blessed me.


Monday, November 28, 2011

For Instance.

Every now and then I wish that my blog was private. That I could say whatever I wanted to say and not worry about what people would think or how it would make them feel.  I know that some of you are probably thinking that I already do that, but believe it or not, I don't.  I have a few blogs that have been deleted or moved.  Sparing those I love from hurt feelings or tough memories.  Sometimes I write and I realize that not everyone really wants to know what I think ALL of the time ;). Today is one of those days.  Today I want to write about some things that fire me up.  I want to write about what disappoints me in some of the people that I love.  I want to write about what I want for others and why I could just shake the hell out of the ones that will not listen to me.

I am not perfect.  I have made more mistakes then I care to remember or to talk about.  Some of you know many of them and could help me remember.  ;)  I don't pretend to have all of the answers but there are a few things that I do know.

For instance:
If you live in a state of intoxication whether it is from drugs or alcohol, there is no way to find all of the happiness that is out there for you. 
If you live in the past, you miss the present. 
If you don't forgive, you will never forget. 
Smoking kills you. 
Without Jesus you will not go to heaven.  Period. That does not make me biased, it makes me right. 
I don't want to be your friend if you are not good to your friends. 
Do not tell me you are going to do something and not do it. 
You should always take up for your spouse. 
You should never, ever, ever, talk ugly to your mama.
Sometimes your kids are right and you are wrong. 
People die. 
Heaven is real. 
So is hell and if you do not have Jesus in your heart, you are going to spend eternity there. 
No one is perfect except Jesus. 
You have never done more than you can be forgiven for. 
Boundaries are good, even for family. 
Your siblings are the only ones that know exactly how you feel about your childhood.
When you are lost, you should listen to the ones that love you the most. 
Asking for help shows strength and pride is a weakness. 
Not money, or looks, or things, can make you happy. 
Disrespect in a marriage rears children that show disrespect. 
If you drink in front of your kids, expect your kids to drink. 
If you cuss in front of your kids, expect your kids to cuss. 
If you smoke in front of your kids, expect your kids to smoke. 
If you have an unhealthy Godless marriage, expect your kids to have the same. 
Your kids are always watching and listening and looking to you to show them what will make them happy. 
If you are over 20 and still using your childhood as an excuse for your failures, you need to take a looong look in the mirror. 
If you are over 25 and still live at home without contributing, you need to get a life. 
Your parents are not responsible for your adult failures, you are old enough to know right from wrong and make corrections where they failed you. 
You should always say thank you when someone does something for you. 
Loving somebody should not stop because they fail you.
Always pray, never stop, God answers in his own time. 

Okay I am done with my rant.  Sometimes a girl just has to say a few things!! 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving.  A day to be thankful.  A day to sit back and remember all that the Lord has given you.  A day with family and friends, full of good food and memories.  A day that comes once a year to remind us what we should be doing the other 364 days of the year, giving thanks to an Almighty God that has given us so much more than we have ever deserved. 

This year I will spend Thanksgiving with my Alabama Family.  And even though I will miss my Georgia Family terribly, I am very much looking forward to my holiday.  It is hard to pass up Nana's food and time with Papaw.  It is hard to complain about spending time with two of my favorite men on the planet and my little sister. Yes, it will be crowded and yes it will be hard to keep these two crazy kids on any type of schedule.  But it will be worth it. 

I sit back and part of me wants to tell you everything I am thankful for and I realize that there is not enough time in the day or typing in my fingers to list them all.  So instead I sit here and smile that I am so blessed that I cannot. I think of my mom and dad who are my strength. My siblings that are the core of who I am and why I am.  My cousins that are like sisters and Sam that is like no other.  I think of my friends that make my heart warm and have loved me for longer than I could ever deserve. The ones that love me, that listen to me, and that at times tolerate me in all of my boldness because they know my heart.  The other family that God blessed me with.  The parents that he gave me at a time in my life that I needed a second set.  The unexpected miracle that he gave us so that Christmas will be exactly what we love about it.  The brothers and sister that came with that family that are nothing short of wonderful.  The unexpected friendship and second brother that He gave me.  The little sister that I never had and the mother of my husband that is my children's Nana. Everyone should have a Nana and it makes me smile thinking of my own. 

I think of the ones that are my everyday.  The ones that know what is going on in my home right now, and care about the little things.  The ones that call, that text, that laugh and cry with us as we live.  You know who you are.  I think of answered prayers that we look over everyday because at times all we can see is the loss that we have suffered in the last two years.  I think of the boy that blessed us more than we could have ever imagined.  I look at his sisters and it is hard for me to breathe.  It is hard for me to understand why He would give me these two perfect, beautiful children, one that is her mama and one that is her daddy.  But He did and I am grateful for every fight, every fit, every mess, every minute.  I smile at the man that He sent me.  The one that changed my heart, my faith, my life.  The one that has made my life such that if it ended today, it would have already been so much more than I ever could have imagined or deserve.  Thankful, grateful, these are words that cannot even touch on describing what each of you mean to me. 

There is an God in heaven that gives us salvation.  That takes away all of our sin.  That tells us that if we believe, we will be blessed beyond comprehension.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.  Eternal life in a kingdom where there is no pain, no suffering, no hurt, no tears.  All of this and still if we give our heart to Him and follow Him he answers our prayers and blesses us on this earth.  I know this because I am living proof.  I have all that I could want and more than I could have ever dreamed and I was so lost.  Those that lived that part of my life with me know.  They know that I do not deserve what I have.  They know I did not earn any of these blessings and that my "what I am thankful for" list should be much, much shorter.  But here I am. Thankful, blessed, forgiven, because of a God that is merciful and shows grace beyond comprehension.  Amen. 

I pray each of you has a Happy Thanksgiving.  That the Lord blessed you and your family with safe travels and good food.  That your prayers will be answered and your hearts will be healed.  And I thank you. Thank you for being a part of my life, for changing it each in your own way.  You are all a part of my heart and a great blessing to me.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Dear 2560 Tom Anderson Road,

I wanted to write to you purely out of respect for what you have meant to us over the last two years.  You see even though our relationship has been rocky, you have indeed served your purpose to our family.  You have provided shelter to our children.  You have provided heat when it was cold (well with exception of a few weeks that first winter) and cool air in the summer months.  You have given me a place to bake for my friends and family, to prepare meals for us to eat, to do laundry, shower and all of the other things a good house does for you.  And for that and all of the good memories that you have given us with our girls, I thank you.  For these reasons I wanted to let you know that our time together is coming to an end. 

Yes, I know it is hard to believe but we have decided that it is time to take our things and our children and move on.  I am sure that there is a little place inside you (probably buried underneath that damn red and white bathroom) that thinks that some how, in some way, you have won the war that was waged between you and I in October of 2009.  I am here to tell you that you have not.  No, no my friend, I will leave this house with its rotting doors and termite infested porch with my head held high.  I will walk away from the memories of backed up septic, flooding hot water heaters, and mice infestation smiling all the while knowing that it is I who won the war and you only won a few major battles.  

You see that bathroom where my boy was born, where our fourth child was lost, where I slept on the floor at least 4 times sicker than I have been in the last ten years, that bathroom is where I came closer to Jesus than I have ever been in my entire life.  That is where He met me when I cried out over and over again in sickness and in sadness.  That is where I realized that I really "can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength".  

And this living room that I have sat in over and over again begging the sweetest man alive to take me home, He used this living room and those conversations to show us that Genesis 50:20 is absolutely true.  "What you intended to harm me with, God intended for good, to save many".  And so everyday my sweet Doc would get up and go back to that practice and change lives in the name of Jesus despite what the enemy was doing here.  And everyday we would be reminded that God has put us exactly where He wants us to be. 

You see 2560 Tom Anderson Road, though I have felt defeated, lonely and lost more often than I care to remember over the last couple of years, I have also felt more joy, had stronger faith and learned more about my Savior than I have ever known.  This is why you lose and I win. 

Soon we will find a new home for our girls and we will pack our things into the 37 boxes that we have saved over the last two years anticipating this day.  I will sweep the world's whitest kitchen floor one last time.  I will clean off the porch sprayed with opossum blood and covered in dust, praying one more time that the floor does not fall out from under me.  We will drive the 48 inch lawn mower out of the shed and laugh at the God forsaken field getting higher and higher as we load it into the U-Haul. I wipe down the red and white bathroom floor that has held my slumber more than once.  Pray that all of the crayon comes off of the walls.  I will praise Jesus for the hardwoods during potty training as I mop them with vinegar.  We will leave a bowl of food for every damn cat in the neighborhood that comes to eat on our front porch and let Beauty say her goodbyes as we load her and only her up for the move.  We will spray the chalk off of the sidewalk and take the trash to the convenience center one more time and then we will stop. 

We will look around at this empty house that was such a blessing at a time when we thought things could not get worse, laughing at what seemed bad when all of this started.   We will remember Presley as she was 5 months when we moved in, we will smile about how big Kat has gotten and maybe even cry a little. But don't get your hopes up 2560 Tom Anderson Road, because it is not you that we will miss.  It is not the loose cabinets and mis-sized doors that will bring the tears. It is the memories, the years that have gone by, the time that is forever over that we will miss.  You, my friend the turd, we will leave smiling.  So get ready, I am on a mission and your time is short. 


ps.  Romans 8:31

Monday, October 17, 2011

This is my God.

The older I get the more I realize how much time I have wasted.  I look at my life and think about what part of my life has really counted, what would I consider my most successful years.  The answer is absolutely, without a doubt, the last six years.  I am 36 years old and truthfully my life, my memories, my everything just about boils down to years 30 and up.  These are the years that have counted.  These are the years where I have done the most to glorify Him.  These are the years that I will be rewarded for on "that day". 

Last night I spent a couple of hours on the phone with one of my favorites.  We talked a lot about life, regrets, addictions, sin, God, grace, I guess you could say we covered more than we planned too.   I shared my weaknesses and the core of my strength.  I did my very best to put into words what God has done for me.  Only to realize that it is impossible for me to explain the impact that my salvation has had on my life.  But I tried.  I wanted to crawl through the phone screaming SURRENDER!! TRUST ME IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!  I wanted to dance and scream and laugh and cry.  I wanted to yell "Look at me. Do you see me?  Do you see my flaws and my failure?!  HE LOVES ME ANYWAY!! Just like he will love you!!!"  Oh how frustrating it is to love someone and want them to have what you have but know that they have to want it enough to ask for it. 

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

-- 2 Chronicles 7:1
This is what I wanted to say.  I have failed miserably at studying the bible.  I have no excuse.  And because of that times like these, times like last night when I needed to be able to spout off scripture that supported my argument, I had nothing.  Sometimes I think that is okay because when you can do it, it makes people think you know more than they do.  Other times, like last night, I needed to be able to support myself and I couldn't.  It was pathetic.

I went to bed and pray fervently for my friend.  I asked for wisdom, I asked for words and Proverbs 3 is what He gave me.  Now this sounds less exciting if you know Proverbs 3.  It is actually a great book and chapter to turn to in a conversation like the one my friend and I were having.  What makes Proverbs 3 a gift in this case, is that I had no idea what it said. ;)  Which proves my earlier point that my bible knowledge is less than pathetic and at the same time it shows us that the Lord answers if you ask, even if you are a poor student.  If you don't believe me, keep reading.

 Proverbs 3
Wisdom Bestows Well-Being
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.[b]
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.
19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.
21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the LORD will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being snared.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
32 For the LORD detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools get only shame.

This is my God.  My God that answers, my God that rewards even the relatively faithful, my God that wants so badly for us to bring people to Him that He gives relevant scripture to unversed, spiritually lazy housewives at 11:30 PM because they ask.  So proudly, I text my friend with this beautifully relevant scripture taking full credit for knowing just what was needed.   NOPE, that is not what happened.  I am not a spiritual genius, but I do give all credit for this one to God.  So I sent a text saying, "I prayed, He answered, read this".

I prayed, He answered.  I prayed, He answered.  I prayed, He answered.   How much clearer, how much better, how much easier can it get?  This was the exact message that I had been trying to relay ALL NIGHT.  If you will pray, He will answer.  And so He proved it once again to me as I fumbled with words and prayer for someone I love that did not need me, but needed Him. 

As a friend, a sister, a wife, a mother, a daughter I want to love and support the ones closest to me.  I have always wanted to be someone the lean on and someone they turn too. What I realized last night for the first time ever, is that what I want is selfish.  What I want is out of pride and self worth.  My desire to help and give sound advice and be the person they need in tough times is just that, MY DESIRE.  And as I spoke last night, so badly wanting to lead my friend in the direction that I wanted for them, the place that I wanted them to be, the life that I wanted them to have I realized that what I REALLY wanted was for God to do the leading. I realized that I loved this friend enough to put my pride aside, to not give my own advice and to let God do His work, in His time.  So I fought against myself and against the sin which is pride and I prayed for words as we spoke.  I lead my friend towards Jesus and advised my friend to lean on God, to ask God, to let God.  And then we prayed together. 

When the conversation ended and we hung up the phone I have no idea how my friend felt, but what I do know is that I was closer to God.  My relationship had been strengthened in my efforts to strengthen His relationship with someone I love.  Wow.  How He can change my heart while I am trying to change the heart of a friend is beyond me.  But I will tell you that last night, it was one of my earthly rewards and  I was beyond blessed by the conversation.  To sit and share my faith and love and dependence on my Lord with someone that I care about was such a blessing for me. To be able to show my passion for my Savior openly and boldly was a gift.   To pray out loud for someone who doesn't know where to start was an honor.  To end the evening able to share relevant scripture only because I asked for it was a miracle.  Blessings, gifts, honors and miracles.....this is my God.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Luke 18:16

When you lose a child you realize two things  First, there is no way to explain the pain in words and second, most of the people that say they understand do not.  I realized this when we lost our boy.  I realized that everyone that loved us, everyone that was there for us, everyone that wanted so desperately to understand, did not.  No one in our world on this earth understood the pain, the frustration, the questions, the hole, the absence, the anger, the rage, the sadness, the desperation that we felt, no one......except Kelly.

I have known Kelly longer than I care to admit because it reminds me that I am fast approaching 40.  She is one of my favorites.  One of the people that I love most in the whole world.  And she, unfortunately, is the only person that I knew in March of 2010 that understood exactly how we felt when God took our little boy to heaven.  Almost 12 years ago God took one of hers to heaven.  Hunter was 3 years old.  Over the last 12 years I have talked to Kelly about Hunter countless times.  Not because I wanted her to re-live her sadness, but because I wanted to understand.  I wanted to hear about this little boy that she loved so much.  I wanted to remember with her and be part of that life so that I understood on the days that it seemed no one did.  I realized after I had Kathryne that no matter how badly I wanted to understand what Kelly had been through, no matter how much I loved her, I did not have a clue. 

The way a parent loves a child is not something that is learned.  It is all consuming, unwavering, unconditional love that you will never understand until you have one of your own to nurture and take care of.  I realized this the moment I held Kathryne.   It was then that I knew that I would never understand what Kelly had endured.  I would never truly grasp the loss that she had faced.  Well at least not for a few years to come. 

With my family grew my faith.  My love for my Lord grew daily as I watched my belly grow with each pregnancy and my family grow with each birth.  The girls were undeserved grace slapping me in the face on a daily, moment to moment, basis.  I was in awe at the love my heavenly Father must have for me. I knew, I knew all I had done, all of my garbage, all of my sin and at times I wondered "does HE know!?"  Because certainly I had to have slipped a few things by Him.  Otherwise I would never have met Doc and birthed these amazing, beautiful, healthy children. 

As I watched my girls sleep night after night, each breath even more precious than the last, I asked Him.  "How?  How could you have let your child die for me?  How could you have sacrificed someone you love like this for all of the ugly, selfish, greedy sinners in the world?  How did you breathe when you knew it was coming?  How did you watch Him be beaten and tortured?  How did you watch Him take him last breath and not die with Him?!?"  I did not understand.  Nor did I want too.  But I was beyond grateful for the sacrifice that would allow me to live for eternity with these little people that held my heart.

On March 4, 2010 I began to understand all that I never wanted too.  I began to understand how my sweet Kelly felt year after year.  I began to imagine her loss and her anger.  I began to grasp the reality of what life feels like when you bury a child.  It was then and only then that I had a glimpse of what my Lord had truly done for me and I was blown away.  I woke up three days later from a medical fog and we buried our little boy.   The reality of what happened would set in over the months that followed.  Phone call after phone call of people telling us how sorry they are and how life goes on.  Giving what seems like appropriate encouragement filled with "at least you have the girls" and "focus on your blessings" each time us realizing more and more that no one really understood, no one except Kelly and God. 

Kelly and God were the only two people in my life that had lost a son and could possible understand how I felt.  So that is who I turned too.  I called Kelly and she cried with me.  I could text her one word and she would know what I meant.  She came to see me and let me tell her the entire, gory, nightmare that was the birth of my son and listened intently to every word.  She knew she could not make it okay.  She knew she could not take away the pain I felt, so instead she endured it with me.  At  night it was me and Him.  I would beg Him to take he pain away.  I would tell Him how I understood what He had done more than I ever wanted too.  I would thank Him.  Thank Him for grace, for mercy, and yes for helping me to understand what He had done for me and those I love. Over the last 18 months I have turned to both of them countless times. March came and went, and I survived. During the toughest times I prayed and He answered. I called and she listened. Now that I am through the fog I realize what a blessing it is for me to share my greatest tragedy with one of my best friends and my Heavenly Father.

November is Kelly's March.  As it approaches I am praying incessantly.  Praying for peace for her heart.  Praying that He wraps her up in His arms and comforts her like no one can.  Praying that I have the right words or the appropriate silence, whichever she may need. I am reminded that our sons Bennett and Hunter, though not in our arms here on earth, are in Heaven sitting on the lap of His son Jesus, waiting to spend eternity with us.  And with this, today, not everyday, but today, I smile.  I love you Kelly. 

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." Luke 18:16.

Monday, September 26, 2011

If Only.

Sometimes I look around me and I see only what is missing. I see what we do not have, what we cannot afford, I ache for who I miss. I spend so much time wondering what life would be like "if only" that I miss life itself. I ask God to answer, to audibly tell me what His plan is. What would He would have us do with our children, our money, our testimonies and are we even coming close to it? I sit and sigh knowing that the answer is no. Do I think we are reaching for obedience? Sure I do. Are we trying to follow Him? Absolutely. But often we are so overwhelmed by our earthly desires that we lose sight of Him and in that we lose sight of everything.

I look around this town that we live in filled with money and big homes. I search for people to share life with whose treasures are in heaven rather than on earth and more often than not I come up empty handed. I wonder what is is like to talk to someone whose whole heart belongs to the Lord. I long to share conversation with someone who worries not about money, or health, or career, or status but only about furthering the Kingdom of God.

I look around this little house that we rent complaining and sitting on the world's most uncomfortable couch and truthfully I know that we need no more than this and could survive on so much less with God on our side. So why am I complaining? I am selfish. Period. I envision our lives in a modest home with only as much as we need filled with the Holy Spirit and this sounds so perfect! It makes me laugh. That is exactly what we have!! A modest home with more than we need if I am being perfectly honest. So what is my problem? What is missing? The Holy Spirit and my focus on Him. Well not missing, maybe hanging out on the peripheral is a better way to say it. I am the reason I am not content. My lack of obedience and my laziness in seeking the Lord everyday with all I have. These are the reasons I feel empty on the days that everyone else's lives seem more glamorous than mine.

“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34-38).

What will my profit be if I gain the "whole world" yet lose my soul? If we are successful, if the practice booms and we pay off all of our debt, if we buy a big house, if we surpass the Jones's, if our girls go to private school and I finally own a shirt that costs more than $7.50, if we have car that is less than 6 years old and a home big enough for the entire family to come to Thanksgiving, if one day we are successful by earthly standards will I then be content? Will that make it all okay? Will my heart be full and my loss be less? If I spend my life to gain the world and in the midst of it I lose my soul what have I have gained really? It is hard to say since at this point in our lives we live like we are 25 rather than 36. Honestly, I do not know how I will feel if we ever have more "stuff" than I ever imagined and I am not sure if I want too. I believe that in this world filled with sin we are programed to never have enough, to never be content. I think that once we get to a certain status, to a place where we don't "need" it is easier for us to forget all that we need. God.

It is for this reason that I pray today and tomorrow for God to remind me and to humble me. I plead with Him to strip away all that I have so that I see only Him. I pray that tomorrow and the days after I will wake up reminded to "seek the LORD my God, knowing that I will find Him if I seek Him with all my heart and with all my soul." Deuteronomy 4:29. Because I know that there will be a day "when the burdens of this place are no more, and we'll see Jesus face to face". And it is on that day that I want him to look at me and say, "well done my good and faithful servant". Matthew 25:21


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Uncle G.

When I was a kid we spent every Sunday at my Nana's house. My dad is one of five kids, the oldest of four boys and one girl. There we were on Sundays with my dad and his three brothers looking like four peas in a pod and my Uncle G who look absolutely nothing like the rest of them. He was big with a face full of hair, not at all like his lanky, clean cut brother in laws that would sooner starve to death than sweat or callus their hands. He was quiet and with his black beard and large stature he was little intimidating to us wee folk that were running around. After all, all the other men looked like they could be our dad. I remember that a lot of the kids were afraid of Uncle G. Which at the time made perfect sense but now it makes me laugh. Not me though, he was never scary to me. He was just my Uncle G and he gave the best hugs of the bunch.

The older we got the more I realized that Uncle G was one of a kind in our family. While the rest of the men were playing basketball or cards, he was grilling the meat or slicing the turkey. There he would be in the kitchen, apron on, hands all a mess, passing out bites of yumminess and working his tail off to provide the rest of us one of the best meals of the year. I remember how curious I was about him. He was so different from the rest of the Slocum men, why did Aunt Pat go for this big, furry, fishin man that loved to eat good food more than anyone I have ever met??

When I was in college I needed somewhere to live. Pat and G lived close to the school and with open arms welcomed me into their home with their two teenagers. They took their office and turned it into a room for me and I lived their for quite a while. It was then I realized why Aunt Pat married G. The man did everything! He cooked, he cleaned, he could buy clothes for anyone in the house including his teenage daughter and I never once heard him raise his voice in anger. He was unlike any man I had ever been around and I remember thinking, "I want to marry a man like this!" That year of my life Pat and G become my second set of parents and Zack and Court became my little brother and sister. They were my family, and I enjoyed all of them all of the time. I would come home from school and it would be just G and I. He would tell me a story about a fishin trip, every detail about the food he cooked or ate, or both. He would stand in that kitchen with a chicken breast and an onion chatting away while making it into the best thing I had eaten all week.

Later in my life I moved back into Pat and G's. I needed somewhere to go and once again they opened their home. It was a hard time in my life and they knew it. They didn't ask many questions. They just let me be there safe, warm and as always fed. Just like parents do for you when life is hard. They loved me and I loved them and was blessed to have them both.

Years passed by and finally I got my act together. Never once losing sight of the kind of man I really wanted to marry. A hardworking man, with a big heart that spoiled his wife rotten. When I was 31 God blessed me with that man. A man that was unlike most that I had met.  A man that can buy me clothes and shoes, that cooks and cleans and yep, that spoils me rotten. A man not all that different from one that I had grown up with.

Together Doc and I have had great conversation and enjoyed amazing food with Pat and G. He has watched as I raise my girls and loved them like they were his own Grand kids while Patty has been working hard to spoil them rotten. We have spent as many Christmas Eve's as we possibly could with G and if you ever been, you know why. If you haven't you have missed a little piece of heaven on earth. This year is our year to go home and be with G and Pat on Christmas Eve. Selfishly in my prayers I say "Jesus, please get him home and well before December 24!" ;)

Today I write with a heavy heart and a plea to my sweet Lord. Asking, all but begging Him to heal my Uncle G. To send him home to Aunt Patty and Court and Rand and Zack. To give him time to take my girls fishin with their "Princess fishin' poles" that Kat dreams about. I am praying that He will make him well so that he can fish with his buddies, cook good food for his friends and watch Tech beat the crap out of UGA this fall in the comfort of the coolest "man room" I have ever seen.

I would ask that you put him on your prayer list. I ask you to please pray for a miracle and for complete healing of his body. That you pray on behalf of my family who has been blessed for over 36 years with the presence of this great man, my sweet, gentle Uncle G that I love bigger than the whole sky!

Thank you friends!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

There Went Summer!

It seems like it has been forever since I last blogged even though it has only been months. Months that were long and busy and stressful and that swallowed our summer up like a giant whale in the ocean. We went to bed at the end of May and woke up at the first of August.

June and July were filled with two working parents, out of sorts children, eggs for dinner and me about as home sick as I have been in a long time. Not so much sick for Atlanta but sick for the people that I love that have taken care of me for my entire life. Missing the girls that would have brought lunch to the office on the days that Doc and I were to busy to stop. My sister and Sam who would have taken a day and cleaned the bathrooms or the kitchen because we were exhausted from 45 - 50 hour work weeks that bled into 24 hour care of our home and our children. Missing Meg who I know would have made us dinners for weeks if she were any closer than Canada. Thankfully, about as quickly as our lives became chaos and bedtime went from 7:30 to 9, it was the end of July and we had survived. Prayers were answered, help was found, our girls had been well taken care of by Aunt Kasey who was more help than she will ever know, the business was still thriving and our home, though a little messy, was still full of love and laughter and two people that are completely in love with each other and their girls. Praise Jesus.

July came to an end at the beach for us all and boy was it fun! As usual a huge thank you to Big and Janet who provided a great condo for all three of us and our families. The kids were all awesome, I got to spend a whole week with my sister who I miss more than anyone else here in TN (don’t tell her I said that) and the weather was perfect. Lots of sun and a few days of rain to cool down ;). We spoiled ourselves with grouper dinners and Thomas’ doughnuts and I am pretty sure I am one of at least 4 people that came back 4 lbs heavier!!! It was well worth it. The week reminded me how blessed we really are to have one another, five healthy kids, living and healthy parents and bonds that will never be broken in our marriages and our relationships with one another. I cannot say it enough, Praise Jesus!!

Our return to TN was bitter sweet. Goodbye is never fun no matter how long it is for or how long we have been together. I still cry when my mom leaves and she comes almost once a month ;). But Doc had come home ahead of us and we were ready to get back to him even if it was in our dressed up turd in the city that we have yet to call home. Home is where Doc is, just ask Kathryne. August is here, school is starting, I feel like my whole “summer” was condensed into two weeks. I didn’t get to have Sam or Steph or Kel or Miss up to the house because I had to work. Bummer. But our business did well this summer. We hired some help for Doc and so far she is great! Our patients love him and our numbers are climbing. Truthfully, for two years of work we are kicking ass. Praise Jesus!!

I am sure some of you are wondering if we are pregnant yet, and the answer is no. We have been trying for a while with no success. We are still trying and will continue to do so for a couple more years in hopes that He will let us have one more to raise and love and glorify Him!! There is one day a month that I cry and the rest I am thankful for my healthy girls. I think of all of the prayers I have sent up willing to sacrifice having more babies “Lord, I don’t have to have any more babies, just let Erin keep hers!” “Jesus, I will never ask for anything else, just don’t let my mama be sick” “God the ONLY thing I ask is that you protect these girls and keep them healthy. I don’t need anymore babies, just let me have these for the rest of my life!” I smile at my mom whose doctor was astonished that she did not have breast cancer. I dance when I get new belly pictures of sweet Erin as she closes out her third trimester with healthy baby boy. I praise Him with all I have when I wake up each morning to healthy, beautiful children. Prayers answered. Maybe we will get another baby, maybe not. I won’t spend my life wishing I had more. I will bathe in my blessings and the blessings of those around me knowing that I will spend eternity with all 4 of my children. Praise Jesus!

I am back at home. Working only a couple of days a week to help my sweet Doc keep things running smoothly. Today we cleaned bathrooms, yesterday it was a kitchen scrub down. Eventually I will have the house closer to where it was before the chaos started. And if I don’t who really cares!? Fall will be here soon, we will be SO busy with traveling between the two of us. I am praying that He will keep us safe and that we will remember to enjoy every moment. Thanks for checking in my friends!!



Sunday, June 5, 2011

Seasons Change

Last week marked a new chapter for our sweet family.  Or as many of us like to say a "new season".  Which is just a way of putting things so as to remember that they will not last forever.  Just as the heat of the summer will soon pass, so will these days. So  in this "season" of my life I am not only the wife of a chiropractor, I am also the assistant of a chiropractor.  Well assistant/receptionist/office manager or all of the above at any given time Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  Yes, for a brief period of time I have taken over Precision Spine Specialists.  Our sweet Sharliss has moved on to a new season of her life and as a result, here we are in a new phase of our own. 

I will not lie to you, because as you already know I am just not good at it.  This season, just as the last few that we have lived here in TN (speaking of both the literal seasons and the life seasons) is not my favorite.  It is hard and exhausting and I miss my kids and they miss me.  I will say that there is something fun about being in the office with Doc all day, even though I do not really see him while we are there. But the truth is friends, in my heart and soul I am a mama.  A stay at home, raise your kids, make the dinner, clean the bathrooms mama.  All day, every day, and I LOVE IT! I get that it is not for everyone, but it is for me 100%! 

This season, phase, time whatever you want to call it, will be short. I will work until we find my sweet Doc the right person to help him there so that I can be home.  I will go in everyday and get my butt kicked right along side him because that is what I do best, support my sweet husband that is working his tail off for us.  I won't complain (okay maybe I will complain a little bit) but overall I will do it with a smile on my face.  I will miss my babies and try my BEST to make up for it when I have time with them no matter how tired I am.  I will stand faithfully, knowing that my Lord is right along side of us making sure that we have what we need.  And soon, I hope, I will be back home in my pj's at 8 am sitting on the sofa kissing on the heads of my baby girls and trying to figure out will it be the sprinkler or the pool today??? Hmm....what a tough life I live.  ;) 

So friends, for those of you who have called and wondered where I am, there you have it.  I am up at 6:15AM getting ready, making breakfast and heading to work until 6PM (or 6:30 or 7 depending on the day) and hurrying home to see (and feed) my babies before they have to go to bed!! Oh, and if you are wondering where the girls are for those 12 hours, they are a home having a BLAST with Aunt Kasey.  We are SO blessed she is able to help us!!! That is it for now.  Plan to hear from me in about month if you are waiting for a call because all of my spare minutes are going to my babies until I am back home with them!!

Have a GREAT summer friends!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Here I am on week 4 of what has been a merry go round of sickness and injuries at the Hall house.  Just about the time that the puking had ceased and the cast came off, in came the snot.  I do not get it.  You take two perfectly healthy kids to the park and you bring home a week worth of tissues, sleepless nights, Hylands cough and cold and tears.  Ugh.  All for a day at the park? 

So here I am in good ole Franklin TN, the home of the cicadas and freakish weather, sitting on my sofa wishing that I had take out Chinese food and a cold beer.  No I am not kidding, I really want a cold beer.  I know I don't drink anymore and haven't for 5 years, but still I want the damn beer. I think back on the days when it seemed like a cold beer could solve just about anything.  And just as quickly as I go there I remember that the cold beer is what caused most of the problems ;). 

So, I will do without the beer and the Chinese food if I am being honest and I will make a pb&h and wait on my girls to get up with runny noses and frustrating coughs.  All the while I am thinking about next week and the week after.  Wondering what God has in store for us and if it will be fun or frightening, or both ;).   I laugh at the absurdity of being 36 years old, still trying for more babies, broke, tired, sick, living in the turd and on the verge of needing a pedicure so badly that someone might actually offer to pay for it if they saw me barefoot.  I wonder what it would be like to sleep through the night or have enough money to get my truck fixed and then I giggle because I know that would not be any fun at all.  I mean that is what makes us the crazy Hall family right!?  The fact that we are exhausted and broke and still buying organic food and making babies is what makes us, US!!  Are our priorities screwed up? Maybe. Or maybe we have them just right. 

We are once again getting our butts kicked here in Franklin TN. Next week I go to work at the practice for the summer, we need money, we need a house that is our own, we need to be well, and we want another baby. With all of that said, this is what I know.  I love my husband bigger than the whole sky.  I have two of the sweetest, prettiest, funniest girls in the whole world. Jesus loves me.  My mama and daddy spoil me rotten and my sister misses me just as much as I miss her. That, the phone calls from my brother everyday and my four best girls are all the things that keep me sane (relatively speaking). Therefore, I will wait patiently on Him and trust in His plan, knowing He will lead us down the right path. 

Ephesians 2:10 (The Message)
7-10  Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

I love at the end where it says "WORK WE HAD BETTER BE DOING".  I guess I better get off of this computer and get to work!! ;) 

Blessing My Friends,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Presley Rose!

Presley Rose,

Happy Birthday my sweet girl.  Today you are two years old and as much as it feels like the time has flown by, in many ways the last two years have felt like a decade.  As I watch you play today I am amazed.  Amazed at the gift that you are.  Amazed at the grace of my Lord.  Amazed at His timing.  You see my sweet girl, your birth marked the beginning of the hardest season of our lives.  A season where we have struggled in every way possible and felt more lost and more loss than we ever imagined.  A season where loneliness and hopelessness were at the tip of every day waiting, with the devil, to take over our home and our hearts.  And then there was Presley Rose.  This beautiful tiny little person that Jesus sent to us knowing that if we had you, we would never quit no matter how hard it seemed or how tired we were.  And so it was. 

On the days that daddy worked 16 hours and I was home with you and Kathryne feeling lonely and lost there you were needing to nurse, or be changed, or be held.  When your brother came and went in a day, there you were not even a year old, needing only mommy. A gentle, beautiful reminder that life goes on even in death and our blessings out weighed our sadness infinitely.  The year that has followed we have watched you grow and learn and finally get hair ;)  and we have laughed more than we ever imagined.  The days that I feel like I have had all I can stand your daddy will smile and look at you and your sister and say, "look at those girls, what do we have to complain about? What else could we possibly want?" He is right.  You and that big sister of yours are more than we ever deserved or imagined.  A blatant act of love and mercy from our Lord and Saviour. 

Today you are two and you are funny and beautiful and spunky and obstanant and loving and in a purple cast up to your left hip ;).  The first of many boo boos I am afraid.  You, my sweet girl, are wild and wide open.  Nothing is stoping you and everything is yours to be had.  Daddy and I watch and laugh and shake our heads at the glimpse of  our future with you.   I fear that motorcycles and sky diving are a part of that future.  You are your mama made over.  Tough and full of energy with a hint of mean, just enough to get through anything that may stand in your way.  Your daddy knows he is in for the ride of his life with you and he cannot wait!!  You have white blonde curls and giant blue eyes that fill up your face complimented by a dimple on the left side that matches Uncle Brett's. 

There is absolutely no way to tell you how much we love you or what you mean to us.  All I can say is that you are a gift that we did not deserve but that we cherish with everything that we have.  You bring laughter and fun into our lives and our home and that is something we have needed more than ever over the last two years.  We pray for you every day.  For your health, your future, your husband, your heart.  We know we cannot protect your from the world, but we are asking Jesus to give us the tools to prepare you.  Watching you grow delights us and gives us so much to look forward to.  You my sweet Pdub are a mommy's girl, you and your sister are best friend's and your smile lights up your daddy's world!! Like I said, Jesus knew just what He was doing. 

Happy Birthday Presley Rose. 
We love you bigger than the whole sky. 
Mommy, Daddy and Kathryne (Sissy)


Friday, April 22, 2011

He is not here: for He is risen.

The best way I can say it is that the last week at the Hall house, well it has been hell.  We have had puke in the dining room of Cracker Barrel, we have had poop in the car seat 30 miles from home,  I have had a lap full of diarrhea that was not my own, we have washed and bathed and scrubbed everything in the house including the car seat, ourselves and our sweet three year old who has spent a week fighting her first stomach bug.   Yesterday was the first day that she woke up with a smile on her face and at 10 am Evil Knievel (aka Presley) dove from the ottoman to the couch and missed.  The child hasn't walked since.  I have been tired and ill and hungry and frustrated and sad.  I have fought with my sweet husband, slept on the couch with my sick baby, missed small group, spent a day without a shower, carried around a 20 month old, laughed, cried, cooked, cleaned, prayed, begged, screamed and surrendered all about 100 times this week.  Until today. 

When I woke up today with my house a wreck, my baby that still cannot walk, my three year old that was too full of energy because she hasn't been out of the house in a week, I was immediately reminded, humbled, ashamed of my absurd complaints.  Flashes of the cross, scripture, reality of what was and what is to come filled my every thought.   My Savior, his sacrifice, my Father and His, the loss, the death, the torture, the sin, the pain, the miracle, all of it was right in my face just as it should be and I praised Him. 

Many years ago, our God, my God sent His Son to die for me.  The thought of sending one of my children to die for anyone, much less everyone else's mistakes, greed, gluttony, shame, pride, seems not only ridiculous to me but honestly I can assure you that I would not do it.  I have already lost a son and I can say in all of my selfishness that if given the choice of you or him, I would have picked him every time.  But that is where the miracle is right?  That is what makes God, well God.  His mercy, His love, His grace, His forgiveness are all of the things that make Him our Savior and us just people who need to be saved! 

Jesus died for me, because I am selfish.  Because I refuse to sacrifice what I love for anyone or anything on this earth.  He knew.  He knew before I was ever born that I would be a sinner, a proud, selfish, gluttonous, greedy, sinner.  And He was right.  I want to eat what I want to eat when I want to eat it.  I want all of the things that make me comfortable and happy.  I want my kids to be healthy.  The fact that my kids are okay, my marriage is intact, my life is working out, that is really what matters to me.  Isn't that true for all of us??  Let me ask those of you who are parents, would you let your baby die so that I could go to heaven?  Or forget that, would you lose your home so that I could go to heaven?  Would you give up your marriage for my soul?  Okay you don't have to answer but I know and you know what the answer is.  And so my friends, that is why He died, because He knew we wouldn't.  That is why He suffered so, because He knew we couldn't. 

Our God is a just God.  He sent His son to pay for all the sin that was and all of the sin that is to come.  That is why Christ had to suffer and die the way He did, to pay for ALL of the sin, not just mine or yours. The reality of it really makes you think doesn't it?  If I sit and consider it long enough I feel ashamed.  But the truth is He never expected us to do it, He was going to do it all along.  Why? Because He is Love.  And think of what you would do for the people you love the most, for your children.

I am one of those crazy moms.  I am always thinking of escape plans, emergency exits, what to do in case of ( insert tragedy/emergency here).  I have a plan in case the car is thrown into a lake with the girls in it.  I have a plan if someone breaks into the house when Doc is out of town.  I am certain that if Doc and I were stuck under a tree that has fallen on the house in a storm, I could break both of my legs, wiggle my way out and drag myself to the girls room to save them.  I know how I would cover them both with my own body if a dog attacked while we were out walking and honestly, (yes I know this sounds ridiculous) I think I could kill the dog with my hands.  Now maybe I could or maybe I couldn't but I would die trying.  You are probably laughing, but what parent wouldn't do ANYTHING to save their children!!??

So what if I said to you, "You know Kathryne and Presley are sinners and I love them so much that I cannot bear to spend eternity without them.  So I have decided that I am going to sacrifice my next child for them."  You would look at me like I was crazy.  Anyone would.  But at what cost would you send your children to Hell?  That was God's choice right?  It was let Jesus die for all of us, or all of us go to Hell.  What a choice to make.

 How would you pick which child dies for the rest of them?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I am in awe of a Father that is capable of that and that is willing to follow through with it.  I am humbled at the man that was beaten to a pulp and then hung by nails on a cross to die for me.  I am overwhelmed by the miracle of the resurrection showing the world that He is who He says He is.  I am forever grateful for all of this and for Holy Spirit that lives inside of me because I believe and I have faith that Jesus was the Son of the One and Only God and He died so that I can live forever. 

I pray that today you too will be reminded.  I pray that in your longing, suffering, mourning, wanting,  complacency, you will be reminded what He did for you and for me.  I pray that His death will humble you and His resurrection will fill you with joy and hope.  I wish you all a Happy Easter and encourage you to praise Him for who He is and more importantly what He did for all of us. 

Matt 28:5-6 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.   He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Love and Blessings,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Isaiah 25:8

Today my heart is heavy, my soul is tired, my faith is tested and the world around me keeps on going.  As I sit here at our Raggedy Anne and Andy table on a chair that is too small for my four pregnancy behind I sigh and wipe tears at the reality that is the new life of some of the ones I love.  I feel lost as I have prayed incessantly for their families and yet today the Hudson's bury their sweet Harrison and today one of my best girls woke up without her mama.  I can't help but question God's timing and wonder where he was this week.  If I am completely honest, I don't understand any part of either plan.  Of course I still trust, I still believe, I still walk faithfully.  Yet it takes me back to March of last year when I was in my own hell wondering where God was.  I have to imagine that two of the families that I care about are wondering the same today. 

I realize that there are moments where we all question, where we all wonder what He is thinking.  And though that makes me feel better about my own doubts, I still hang my head in shame. 

Isaiah 25:8  tells us "He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken."

Psalm 34:18 tells us that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit"

Today I am praying for the faces and hearts of the people that I love.  The faces that are drowning in tears and the hearts that feels as if they will forever be broken.  I pray that He is there with them, wiping away their tears and holding them close.  I mourn the loss of baby Harrison and Mama Peeples and I wish I was closer to help or hold or hug as those that loved them the most greive. 
I sit and I weep for their loss and wish that I did not understand, but I do.  I understand completely what if feels like to love someone with your whole being and to have them taken from you too soon.  I understand all to well what it feels like to have your life changed in a moment;  a single, chaotic, uncontrollable moment that flashes like a nightmare rather than a reality.  Once again the reality that we are not in control slaps me right in the face.  Once again He shows me that His will is the only way.  Once again I am humbled at the reality of His greatness and His power. 
As I go into the afternoon that starts a weekend of new life for these families I can think only about the ones I love the most.  I am so thankful for every moment that I have with them.  I am so humbled that He has blessed me with my family and friends.  I am so grateful that, though loss has touched us so closely, He has spared so many that I love. 
Today I will hug my babies tight and tell my parents I love them.  Today my heart will break along with the Hudson family as they lay their boy to rest this afternoon.  Today I will shed more tears for my sweet girl than she will ever know.  I will do all of this and I will praise Him with my whole heart for all that He has done and all that He has yet to do in my life and in theirs.  
Love and Blessings Friends,
Please lift us the Hudson and Davis/Peeples families with me!! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fried Banana Pies

This weekend, as a family we made a big decision.  A decision that will affect the rest of our lives, a decision that required a lot of prayer, a decision that was difficult and draining, a decision that we would have rather God just make for us.  I supposed in His own way, He did. 

Last night as I sat on this beat up couch with my husband I read Joyce Meyer's book "The Secret To True Happiness".  If you haven't read it, I can tell you from the first four chapters, you should.  I am not a big underliner for the lack of a better term.  I don't highlight as I read or take notes and the only journal I have is this one that I let everyone read.  But as I was reading I asked Doc to borrow his pen and I underlined the following:

"Much of life takes place when no one is looking; and God works in our lives during the ordinary times".

Duh.  Right?  I mean daily we strive for EXTRAordinary yet God is working in the ordinary.  So why are we working so hard? Missing so much of today trying to get to tomorrow.  Not far down page 6 of this book I again used the pen and underlined the following;

"True life is really not found in arriving at a destination; it is found in the journey". 

Thank you Joyce!  If there was anything that I needed to hear on Sunday March 27, 2011 after 15 days of talking and discussing and making BIG choices it was that!  I took a deep breath.  I looked at the man opposite me and smile at his sweet bald head and those giant dimples.  I giggled inside at my dirty kitchen and thought to myself "who cares Melanie? I mean really no one in the entire world knows that your kitchen is dirty but you and him and he doesn't care!" 

Doc and I want to do EXTRAordinary things, we want to live EXTRAordinary lives, we spends days and weeks and months talking about how to get out of the ordinary and into the EXTRAordinary! Why?  I guess because we think we will be happier?  Honestly, I don't know why.  I would say society pushes us to that but honestly, I think that is a LAME excuse for anything so I am not going to use it here. 

As I sat last night reading I thought about the things that make us happy, I mean really happy.  Our girls playing, our family visiting, laughing with each other, time on the couch with hot chocolate and the food channel, swing sets and barbecues and fried banana pies.  These are the things that make us happy, make us feel good, that light up our lives.  And you know what?  We have all of those things.  Everyday. So we should wake up skipping and dive into the bed at night giggling. 

Solomon (the wisest man EVER) tells us in Ecclesiastes chapter 5:  "Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and drink and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him".

Translated from The Message: After looking at the way things are on this earth, here's what I've decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that's about it.

And that is about it folks.  That is all. Enjoy it.  Whatever it is.  I get it. I didn't get a vacation and you did.  I have friends with more money, less debt, skinnier, heavier, more kids, no kids, great husband, no husbands, big houses, nice cars, no car, great parents, no parents, bad parents.  I have friends that from the outside seem to have it made, but on the inside they fight disease and addiction and have marriages falling apart. My point? No one lives the same life and no one's life is perfect.  Some got dealt a better hand and some would trade with you in a heartbeat.  But what the bible, the Lord, our SAVIOR tells us to do is to enjoy OUR lives!!  The one that we have, because that is the only one we get and it is a waste of time wishing for someone else's, it is just not going to happen. 

So that is what I plan to do.  I plan enjoy my life, today, right now.  I don't want yours and even if I did I can't have it.  What I have are two beautiful little girls and a man that's day can be made with a fried banana pie.  It takes me 15 minutes to make a fried banana pie.  So if you ask me, I ought to wake up skipping and go to bed giggling. 

Love and Blessings!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

C'mon April!!

There are only about a thousand things going on in my head.  None of which I have the patience to put into words worth reading.  I will say that I am ecstatic that the sun is shining today.  It gives me hope that this area which we call Middle TN will not be cold forever and that one day we will be able to go outside without a toboggan on the head of my littlest one. 

I have been waiting to blog, waiting for something exciting, special, wonderful, horrible, sad, stressful, fun to talk about.  And today I realized that I have none of these things and all of these thing everyday, so why not write? 

It is the middle of March and time is going by so quickly that I fear that I will wake up and be 50 and not even remember what happened yesterday.  We speed through these days dreaming, hoping, wishing for better, for more, for everything.  Yet we wake up and we are exactly where we were the day before and cannot ever seem to get ahead.  Is this life for everyone? I have no idea.  It doesn't seem like it from where we stand.  It seems like the fast flying days go by in our dressed up turd (as we like to call our house) while everyone else plans vacations that we cannot afford and buys cute clothes for the spring that will never grace my wardrobe.  It feels like we are in March.  March the month that we just cannot seem to get away from.  The month that sucked for us last year and somehow has managed again to suck for us in 2011.  I am certain a lot of it has to do with perspective, attitude, outlook.  But at the same time looking in or out, it is just not a barrel of fun around the Hall house. 

We have lights on in cars and heat that doesn't work (which shouldn't matter except that is is in the 40's still at night in this damn state).  We have a condo in ATL that will sit empty in two weeks and a mtg to pay on it. We have bills and loans and a business that we have no idea what to do with.  We want to move closer and father away and we cannot afford either but that doesn't matter because we can't even make a decision if we could afford it!  We have people we want to help and spend endless hours trying to figure out how while they are oblivious at how much we really care.  And selfishly I wonder "are they even worried about us? Do they have any idea what we are going through"??  We live in a house that we don't like in a state that we have never felt at home in with a business that has been blessed but we cannot enjoy  it because of the house and the state. 

I think about all that we have been through since we have moved and all that we are going through now and then I think of Kate or Harrison and I laugh at the obsurdity of my selfishness and cry at the horror of my greed.  I mean really?  There are people with babies that cannot swallow Melanie!! There are families with 7 year olds fighting brain cancer!! REALLY!?  I am upset about money? Housing? Location? I am angry about what? I think on some days I am completely justified.  I mean all I really want is to feel settled in a state I have lived in for almost 2 years, a home for my kids, my husband to be home to eat dinner and a house full of babies none of which I have.  I feel sorry for myself thinking about a family who just had their 5th baby.  I wanted 5 babies.  I have had 4 but there are only two asleep in the room next to me.  I am anxious and frustrated and tired and unsettled and scared and angry and all of it is selfish and none of it I am proud of.  But I still feel that way. 

So I pray and I ask Him for help.  I ask for guidance and relief and answers and patience and I ask for more.  More of everything because that is what we think we need right? But what I have figured out is that I need less.  Less of all of it.  Less stress, less stuff, less dreams, less chaos, less appointments, less obligations, less pressure.  Less.  I like simple. I like easy.  I like less and that is what I am praying for today.
"Lord, please give me less.  Please take all of this and help me to trust you to take care of it for me. Carry me so that I do not have to pick a direction.  Allow me to rest and make my decisions for me.  I trust you and know that you know what is best for me and my family. Amen"

That is my prayer today. That is my prayer this week. 


Friday, March 4, 2011

Dear Bennett.

Sweet baby Bennett,

A year ago today you came into this world and went straight back to the arms of Jesus. It was a glorious, sad, wonderful, scary day for mama and daddy. Everyday we remember, everyday we mourn and everyday we rejoice in the moments that I had with you in the womb and the fact that the Lord blessed us with the sweet boy we had asked Him for.

We miss you, and selfishly we want you here on earth, in our home, in our arms. But we know in our hearts that you are in a place that has beauty beyond our imagination and you are surrounded by nothing but happiness and joy. This, my sweet boy, makes us smile and a little jealous to be honest.

You have two big sisters here that know you were ours and one day will understand the impact that you have had on our family. You made us stronger, you deepened our relationship with our Savior and you brought our faith to the forefront of our lives, our marriage, our parenting and our hearts.

Oh baby boy how we long to hold you and kiss those dimples that I am certain you have. The only thing that makes that longing bearable is the fact that one day we will join you and you will introduce us to Jesus and our sweet Angel Baby that we lost in August and we will kiss you both all over and eat ice cream and swing until we puke. I cannot wait!!

You miss so much not being here. You miss time with the two sweetest girls that Jesus ever created. You miss moments with Grandparents that came straight from the angels. You miss Aunts and Uncles and Cousins that would have spoiled you beyond belief. You miss popcorn and cookies and roasted marshmallows that your daddy would have insisted you get to try. You miss a daddy that would have loved you like no other and shown you how to be a wonderful man and a mama who dreams about you, still, everyday. All of that and yet you miss nothing. We miss it for you and you are in heaven content and happy beyond our wildest dreams. All the while hanging out with Jesus!

The year has flown by and I only imagine that the decade will do the same. One day we will wake up and it will have been ten years since we lost you. Time will go by, and our hearts will heal, but our love will not stop and our memories will serve us well. You will live in our hearts and our dreams. We will imagine what you would have looked liked on your tenth birthday. We will dream of who you would have been on this earth and what you would have done.  We will do all of  this while we will smile and mourn and miss and love and one day there you will be even yummier than we ever imagined.

We love you William Bennett Hall. We will carry you with us in our hearts until we get to carry you in our arms.

Mama, Daddy, Kathryne and Presley

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Two Birthdays...One Long Week.

When I was a kid I remember at the end of  summer I was so disappointed that a WHOLE YEAR had to pass before it came again.  The same for Christmas, my birthday, fall break etc.  A year seemed like a life time, like eternity.  I remember my mom would say " don't worry Christmas will come again next year" and I would reply over tears "next YEAR!  That is SO LONG!!" ;).  Oh my how times have changed. 

Now I sit here in this rental house in Franklin TN and wonder how in the world an entire year has gone by!?  Where did it go?  What did we do?  Did we even live it or did we just wake up and it was gone? I am pretty sure that we missed about 6 months of 2010.  March to August is a complete blur with glimpses and memories of hospital visits, sleepless nights and sheer grief mixed with celebrations, births, weddings, birthdays and family.  I don't remember much of it and what I do remember, with exception of the birth of Savannah Marie Foraker and Wendy and Brett's wedding, I wish I could forget. 

But here we are back to March. March, which is now my least favorite month of the year.  March, the month that marks the birth and death of our boy and the absence of the baby we lost in August that would have been due on the 16th of this month.  Ugh.  March.  A full year has gone by and it still seems like yesterday that Doc was carrying a shovel down a hill, yesterday that my neighbor brought the orchid that sits on our table, yesterday that I called my sister and asked her what to name my boy.  I hate March.  And truthfully, today I want to just throw that damn orchid in the garbage can. 

Yesterday was Doc's birthday and I felt terrible for him.  All it did was a begin a week of memories.  Hard, gory, terrible, sad memories that we have pushed away every day for a year.  I tried to celebrate it with him, but he just would not let me.  Everything I planned he said no and I knew that nothing would make it fun.  So I made him banana pudding, which helped in the moment and that was it.  No card, no present, no dinner, no celebration.  Poor Doc.  What a miserable birthday, just like last year, to start a miserable week. 

March 1st 2011 here we are and all we can think about is March 5th.  I know it will get easier every year, I know that we should look at our girls and be grateful, I know that this is all part of healing, but none of that makes this week bearable.  It just doesn't.  So I will play with my babies and stay busy and love on my sweet husband and pray the week goes by fast.  We will get up on Friday and celebrate our boy who will be having cake and ice cream in heaven with Jesus and Hall baby #4 and RW and Mamaw and Don and Hunter and two of his cousins and Owen and all of the other angel babies that we miss and mourn and we will smile knowing that he is not alone and he is well taken care of until we get there. 

This morning my mom sent me an email and it was long and sweet and thoughtful.  In it she said that she would be in heaven before us and prayed that would make us feel better that she was there with him until we get there.  I don't know what God has in store for today or tomorrow, so who knows which one of us will get there first.  But I do know that she is right.  Knowing that Bennett is there with his Grandaddy, and my Grandaddy and his Mamaw, that does make it easier.  It makes it easier to be here without him and one day it will make it easier to leave this earth and go to heaven and hold my sweet boy.  That my friends, makes me smile, helps me to breathe in the moments I feel like I can't, gives me joy in a time of overwhelming sorrow.  

This week I will pray a lot and cry a lot and smile a lot and dream a lot of a sweet little boy with big dimples, a bald head, and giant blue eyes.  I will ask God to make each moment easier and beg him for another little boy.  All the while knowing that the first He will do and hoping for the second. ;)  I thank each of you for loving us enough to follow our journey in the loss of our boy, for walking along side us, for picking us up when we are too tired to walk, and for the incessant prayers that have healed us more that you will ever know. 

I pray that this year will bring more healing for our hearts and the hearts of those closest to us.  Thank you mama, Michael and Steph for loving me enough to hear it in my voice and being there for me.  I don't know what I would do without you.  And Doc, Happy Birthday baby!  You are my everything and my rock and this week will not last forever, I promise ;). 

Blessing Friends,