Friday, January 28, 2011

Dear Scooter......

Dear Scooter,

You are three years old!!  We had a great birthday party.  We went to Jump Zone with all of your new friends and came home to eat the cup cakes you baked!!  I took you shopping and you picked out your very own birthday dress which you wore for three days straight including to bed. Then we met Big and Janet at the Aqaurium and they brought you two BIG surprises, Madison and Carson!!  It was so much fun!  You ran through that aqaurium loving every second of their attention even more than you loved the fish.  Overall I would say it was a great 3rd birthday.  Daddy and I did not get you an actual present because you got plenty from everyone else.  But I wanted to write to you and tell you a little bit about who you are and what we wish for you. 

At three years old you are more like an 8 year old.  You are well spoken and funny.  You have good manners and you are polite.  You eat well, you play well and you are a lot of fun to be around.  You are grown up for your age in a lot of ways.  I am not sure if that is our fault or just your spirit but regardless it makes you one of my very best friends.  Truthfully there are days that I am not sure I would have gotten through without you.  You take care of me as much as I take of you.  You have a big heart and a great memory.  You love to make us proud and to make us feel good.  You have a little of me in you and a lot of your daddy, a combination I would say is just about right for a lot of fun and success.  You have an old spirit.  You are wise beyond your years and very aware of what is going on around you.  You read people well and you don't trust right away. Daddy and I are very proud of you and pray everyday that we are letting you have a lot of fun but raising you to be the young lady that we know you can be.

I can promise you we are not going to get it right every time, we have already made plenty of mistakes.  We are so blessed that you have a forgiving heart and wake up the next day loving us just as much!  We pray for your future, for the friends that you make, for the choices that you make.  We pray for your health and for strength in your little body.  We pray for wisdom in teaching you right from wrong and the consequences that come with what you choose.  We plead with God to fill us with the knowledge that we need to protect you from the mistakes that we have made and to lead you on the path to make the wise choice.  We watch you grow and listen to you talk and see what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong all the time thanking Jesus that the right outweigh the wrong for now. 

We know there will be a time when your choices are yours to make, not ours.  A time when protecting you is more about praying than it is about leading.  A time when you don't ask what we think before you jump.  And we pray that all of the laughter and tears and moments and teaching and leading fills that heart of yours at those times.  There will be moments that you fall and we will pick you up, everytime.  Not because you deserve it but because we love you like Jesus loves us and you will always receive grace from us as we do from Him. 

Scooter, the last three years went by like a long month of winter.  The moments seemed to last forever, but the years went by with a blink.  All I can imagine is that one day I am going to wake up and you are going to be 10, 20, 25.  You won't crawl in my bed in the middle of the night, you won't need me to make your breakfast, I won't need me to kiss your boo boo's away, I won't need to be there to help you dress or tell you which shoe goes on which foot and I will miss every single one of those things more than you will ever understand.  Well at least until you are a mom, and then you will understand perfectly.

Sweet Kathryne Elaine, you have blessed us more than you will ever know.  I still remember being pregnant with you and getting on my knees in the bathroom stall  in that Buckhead high rise begging God to let me keep you.  Pleading with him to keep you healthy and protect me from the miscarriage that seemed so close in that first three months.  I remember laying next to your daddy at night and falling asleep with his hand on my belly praying over you.  We wanted you so badly.  We told the Lord if you were the only one we ever got you would be enough.  You little sister proved us wrong. ;)  But my sweet Scooter, you are more than enough.  You are a precious gift that we are so humbled by daily.  Our Lord has clearly forgiven us for all of our sins, and you my sweet baby girl, are living proof of that. 

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

This is the best advice that we can give you my sweet girl.  We can teach you and lead you and help you and raise you but if you live your life based on this scripture you will be more successful than we could ever hope for.  I pray that as you grow you understand that more and more.  For now, we will enjoy your sweet little prayers every night that end with "prayers to Jesus amen". 

Happy Birthday Kathryne Elaine Hall,
We love you bigger than the whole sky!!
Mama, Daddy and Sissy

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Truth Is.

I am a stay at home mom. My job is endless. I work 24 hours a day seven days a week and am lucky to get six sporadic hours of sleep throughout the night.  No, I don't have an infant.  Instead I have a 20 month old that has never slept through the night and a 3 year old that ends up in my bed at least 4 nights a week.  Am I complaining? Nope.  This is my life and I love it.  I am grateful to my husband who works his tail off so that I can raise our kids and I am grateful to my Lord who has blessed his business so that we can afford it.  Are we rich? Nope.  Matter of fact I have 4 t-shirts all from the Gap, all the same style and I rotate them throughout the week.  That and 3 pairs of jeans is my entire wardrobe.  Well and three bags of maternity clothes. 

I as I sit here and type in a six year old white long sleeve t-shirt, Doc's sweat pants, hair a pulled back in a pony tail, no bra, feet desperate for a pedicure or a cheese grater, with yesterday's eye makeup still lingering I have to laugh out loud.  I mean really?!  Look friends, I love being a mom and a wife and I wouldn't trade it for the world but I have to giggle when I think back at the dreams I had for myself when I was 18 years old.

Think about it for a moment today in between wiping butts and noses and trying to pull yourself together to go to the grocery store.  Or if you are at work, between mindless projects that drag you through the day that you are begging to end.  If we are all telling the truth you and I both know that our vision for ourselves was a little different than where we ended up.  Not better just different.  Okay look I will share mine with you and you can continue to lie to yourself or join in the fun whatever works. 

So I am 35 years old and next month I will be 36.  When  I was 18 here is how I imagined myself at 36.  Blonde (I love being a blonde), 120 lbs (which I have not been SINCE I was 18), driving a convertible BMW M5 (or whatever the best one is which of course I do not know because that dream died 15 pounds ago). I was going to be a sucessful pediatrician owning my own practice.  Now this one is extra hilarious because not only am I married to a chiropractor, but we don't take our kids to the pediatrician. Ever.  I was going to be married to a tall, dark, and handsome man and though I did not get dark I did get relatively tall and very handsome (so this one turned out ok ;)).  We were going to live in Virginia Highlands, which is a very trendy spot in the ATL.  Middle TN is not even close.  I was going to have 4 kids, at least two of them being boys and by the time I was 36 I was going to be DONE having them and already have my boobs put back in the correct spot.  I have failed miserably in this catagory. I am not even close to done and the spot my boobs are supposed to be in, well I am not even sure it's still there.   We were going to be wealthy, live in a beautifully redone old house and own a place in Florida (look I was 18 people bare with me).  So yeah, we live in a 25 year old rental house beside the highway that has rotting extrerior doors and a porch that is going to fall off from the termites.  Oh and that house in Fla, it's there, it's just not in my name or anyone's name that I know for that matter. This and you can add in tons of traveling all over the world and that about sums it up for my dreams at 18.  I do have a passport and it has been stamped 3 times so I have not failed completely right!?  

My point is that the grass always looks greener, prettier, easier, younger, happier, more fun. But the TRUTH is that none of this matters. The truth is that I have a beautiful little girl that will be three tomorrow.  I have a 20 month old that makes me laugh more anyone on the planet.  I have a husband that  hands down has the best set of dimples I have ever seen.  The truth is that my parents are both still alive and my brother and sister are my very best friends.  The truth is that all of my dreams at 18 were nothing but that, dreams.  And the reality that lies before me is so much better than those dreams. Okay, I will admit the boob job thing sounds pretty good, and the beach house, okay and yes I would like to live somewhere without rotting doors and termites but you get my point.   

Last night I had a dream.  I have no idea what it was about but I will tell you I woke up and remembered one thing.  In my dream I was told "I am second".  I am not kidding that is what I remember about my dream.  I woke up this morning and had to smile at my life and at the less than subtle reminder that the Lord had given me as I slept last night. I am second.  He is first. He is the reason that I have any and all of the things that make me happy.  He is the reason that I got to wake up this morning and love on my babies.  He is the reason my mom and dad are still alive and my family still intact. He is first and He reminded me of that last night and truthfully I needed the reminder.  All the stuff that we wanted and the things that we had to have, that is all they are, things. They mean nothing.  Our salvation, our faith, our walk, that is what matters.  Our treasure will be found in Heaven,  not here, not on this earth.

Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Matthew 19:21

So today I do not mourn for my lack of things.  I do not miss my career, my BMW, my house in Florida (notice I did not say my boobs) but instead I am grateful for what I do have which is a beautiful family, two happy little girls, and a Lord that loved me enough to send His son to DIE for me so that I would live in Heaven for eternity with him and my grandaddy and my little boy and baby Hall #4 and everyone else that I love.   Today I will praise my Lord for my blessings and for the reminder that I am second and He is first and as long as I live that out to to the best of my ability I will enjoy my treasure for eternity, which is a lot longer than 100 years.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet Baby Harrison Hudson

I am sitting here with a cup of decaf, an empty plate that once held the last slice of chocolate cake from Scooter's party yesterday, a house that is strewn with toys and puzzles, two sleeping children, and a heart that is heavy with  the burdens of others and prayer.  There are so many families that suffer loss, struggle with sick children, beg God for a miracle.  I am not sure if I am just ultra sensitive to these families now or if God places them in my life because my heart is so open for them after our losses.  Actually, I am positive it is the latter.    

I have a friend that is pregnant.  She lost her last baby a few years ago and never imagined she would be here again.  A miracle.  She has not had an event free pregnancy so far, but she is hanging in there.  I pray for her constantly, asking God to give her any miracle that was to be mine today.  Does that sound crazy to you?  I don't know maybe it is crazy.  Maybe I should be saving mine up just in case I need them one day soon.  But you see this is what I know, I know that if I needed a miracle, this same friend would give me hers without a thought. 

There is another family that I have asked God to give my miracles too over the last few months and that is the Hudson family.  You guys have read about sweet Harrison in my earlier blogs.  I am so touched by this family and this little boy, partly because his father was a good friend of mine what seems like a lifetime ago.  But mostly I think because I know that if our boy had a lived a few more weeks, we may be in the same boat they are in. 

I think about them a lot.  I struggle between relief and jealously to tell you the truth.  If Bennett had lived and not been "normal" by today's definition would we have made it?  If he had been a special needs kid, it would have rocked our world and the world of our girls.  It would have changed our lives entirely just as Harrison has changed the lives of his family.  I imagine the struggles financially, emotionally, and a thousand other ways.  I do at time breathe a sigh of relief that my girls are not going through that and my husband does not have that pressure.  However, then I remember Bennett.  Sweet, perfect, little Bennett laying there in that little box and I think, I would trade with them in a heartbeat.  Bring on the sleepless nights, the financial hardship, the medical train wreck, bring it all.  It makes me smile to know that this family, the Hudsons, that is exactly their attitude.  They will take it all and move forward and pray for a miracle everyday and they do just that.  That my friends is why it is so easy for me to ask Him to send my miracles to Harrison today and tomorrow and next week.

Below is a website for this sweet little guy.  It tells his story and it will guide you to his facebook page and his caringbridge site.  I encourage you to read it for a multitude of reasons.  One, it is reminder of how precious life is and how healthy kids are a true miracle.  Two, it will give you something to really pray for and to watch as God answers those prayers as I know He will.  Finally, it will give you an opportunity to give to a family and see how your gift affects their lives.  How often we give openly, but never really see the affect we have had on others.  This is an opportunity to give and watch first hand as we strengthen a little boy's life and affect a family's future.

I think about miracles and how many I have been blessed to see and be a part of.  I remember my sweet boy and then I look at my niece Savannah who was never expected and a miracle to our family and I smile at the thought of my sister.  I smile because I know it tickles her heart with every breath Savannah takes.  Today I am sharing my miracles with a few people that have touched my life and if you are in need of one, you are welcome to one of mine sweet friend, just let me know.  ;)

Pray for sweet Harrison and if it is on your heart to give, I hope that you will.

Love and Blessings!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mike aka Bud.

Recently a friend of mine, a new friend of mine, lost her brother.  He was in his forties and he died of cancer.  Unfortunately, she was here and he was on the other side of the country and he died before she could get there to say goodbye.  It got me thinking about my brother.  I am the middle child of three and I have a little brother.  His birth name is Michael Bennett Slocum Jr. but he goes by about a thousand nicknames including but not limited too Bud, Junior, Little Mike, Little Daddy, Frog, Minnesota and Mike.

On a typical day I refer to my brother as Mike or Bud.  So for this blog we will call him Mike.  Mike is 33 years old, he lives with my mom and dad, he works for Delta Meter which is a family owned business, he loves to drink, smoke, gamble, play cards and watch football.  So as you can see we have very little in common at this point in our lives. From that I imagine you would gather that we talk every now and then and that we are not very close.  You are wrong. 

When I in college I went home to visit.  To give you a little bit of background about me, I don't have a very good memory.  I don't remember much about being a kid or even a teenager.  I remember traumatic events such as my heel cord extension when I was 18 months.  I remember births and deaths and I remember trips or vacations.  Other than that it is like everything before Doc is a blur.  So for me to remember this night would make it either really exciting or really traumatic. 

So anyway, I went home to visit and my brother was out that night. This was during the time of pagers.  Yes, I know, I am dating myself.  Look folks, I will be 36 next month and I cannot do a thing about it so what the heck right?!  I digress, Mike had a pager but he was AWFUL about returning calls.  Unless, and this is a big unless, unless I paged him.  You see at this point in our lives we had a lot in common.  We were both in school, we loved football, beer and bars and spent a lot of time together watching football, drinking beer and going to bars.  I would venture to say he was my very best friend at the time and I was his which explains the "unless".  So Mike was out and I paged him to see when he was coming home but he did not call me back.  So, I paged him again, and again, and again.  Now if he usually ignored me I would have thought nothing of it and left it at one, maybe two pages.  But since his track record was so good I went straight into panic mode.  I remember it like it was last night!  I just knew that something horrible had happened to my brother and for about an hour and a half, until his sorry butt got home, I laid up in that bedroom and cried wondering what I would do without him.  When he finally got home I squeezed him and told him how happy I was to see him! NOT! I cussed his butt out and told him if he ever scared me like that again I would kill him myself! ;) 

"The moral of my story? you ask.  I love my brother.  He is up there with Steph in my top five favorite people on the planet.  To this day, even 250 miles away and worlds apart as far as lifestyle goes, I talk to him everyday.  Sometimes more than once, sometimes more than twice.  I thought about him a lot when my friend told us the news of her brother.  I thought about the idea that one day he could be gone. I was relieved when I remembered that I had already put him on my list of people that I ask God to let out live me. (Yes, I have a list and honestly, it is getting longer and longer) I thought about how grateful I am to my parents for doing whatever it is that they did to raise he and my sister and I to love each other and need each other and to stay close no matter what life brought us.  I thought about all of the other people I know who have brothers.  Some that are close to them, some that are gone, some that were just never really there.   I realized that my friend had a lost a piece of her.  Someone that knew her for her entire life, someone that watched her grow up, that was there for all of the milestones, someone that knows exactly what she means when she says "Dad (or Mom) is driving me NUTS today!"

You see friends, you only get the brothers or sisters that God gives you.  It's different than even a spouse.  If you don't like your spouse you can always get another one. (Okay I get it but this is just for illustration!)
But you don't get to go pick another brother just as ( much as some of you would have liked) you didn't get to pick the one you've got!  I believe that God was intentional with our siblings.  And we as siblings have a responsibility to love them, support them, be there for them and put up with them no matter what.  It doesn't matter if they are good or bad people. They are not ours to judge. God makes that clear when He tells us in  Romans 14:10:

"You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat."

It doesn't even matter if we like them or they like us.  We are stuck with the brothers that we get.  Thankfully, mine is a gift to me.  A big, exhausting, frustrating, mind boggling gift, but a gift none the less. ;) I realize that all brothers are not a gift, some probably feel more like a curse. 

Gift or curse, just like the rest of us, our brothers only get so long on this earth.  So we have a choice we can either love them just like they are and enjoy them as only siblings can or we can decide to turn away from them.  I think about my friend who will bury her brother this week.  I pray they left nothing unsaid between them.  I am beyond grateful that if I lost Mike he would have no doubt how I felt about him or what he meant to me regardless of things that we have done or said over the last three decades.   For that and his friendship and about a thousand other things about him I am once again humbled by my great God. 

Today I am praying for brothers and sisters.  I am praying for the relationships, for forgiveness, for love, for healing and for grace.  I am praying for those relationships that the Lord intended for us as family.   I am praying for you my friends. Praying that if you have a brother or sister that has somehow been lost in the chaos of life you will reconnect with them, tell them how much you miss them, make them laugh, and make right any wrongs.  Fight for those relationships that have crumbled and strengthen those that are so important to you!   Once again, I have been reminded by my sweet friend's loss that we don't get to pick when we say goodbye.  Today I am praying for her and her family.  Praying that the Lord will bring them peace and comfort in their loss.  In addition to those prayers I am praising Him like crazy for another day with Mike who makes me laugh even on the days that I don't find funny. 

Blessings friends!

I Love you Bud.