Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy 7th Birthday Presley

Dear Sissy,
You are 7 and my heart can barely take it.  Happy Birthday Sunshine.  Your 7th birthday was so much fun!! We had a party at the park with 28 kids!! It was amazing.  There was a pinata and bubbles and 65 cupcakes.  You loved every second of it.  Your friends from school came and daddy took a half day off of work to be there.  Ms. Robyn helped mommy get ready. Everything was perfect and the rain held off!!!

At 7 you are so much more than I ever dreamed.  You are beautiful and kind and smart and so very talented.  You play the piano with such ease and grace and you have no idea that it is your gift, one of many.  You love with your entire being and your smile shines Jesus in a way that all people want to talk to you and hear what you have to say.  Your daddy says you are not made for this world and he is right. Your heart is different than the rest of ours. It sees only the good and believes only the best, it will be broken many times but it will change lives, I am sure of it.

I wish somehow I could bottle your attitude and your sweet soul, the world needs more of it.  Right now you love Jesus and Kat the best.  You love piano and Spanish and you do very well in school.  Your teachers say you are a light and you have made many friends.  You just started gymnastics, and just like everything, it seems to come easy for you.  The best part of you, is that you don't have any idea how incredible you are.  You just think everyone is as amazing in their own way.  You went through the first Suzuki book in 7 months, rather than 15-18 which I think is about the time it takes most.  You can play and sing piano at the same time and specifically play Adele's "Hello".  You and Kat harmonize very well together.  You love pink and purple and dancing and cartwheels.  You love animals and outside and bubbles.  You excel in spelling and math and music and Spanish and basically anything you put your mind too.

You are a gift.  A gift to all of us, but especially to Kat who takes the world too seriously. You make her laugh, she needs you almost as much as she needs air.  Josie is your buddy's you guys play well together and FIGHT well too ;) Your favorites are mama and Daddy but running a close second is Janet and Big.  Big calls you "The W" You LOVE Papaw and Uncle Brett too.  Savannah and Laila Burkes are your best buddies, but you make friends with everyone you meet.  Your favorite movie is Big Hero 6 but you have not seen the new Jungle Book yet and I am sure it will win out.  You love Taylor Swift and Adele but music of any kind makes you happy.

We are going to dinner tonight with Mr. Kendall and Ms. Aby, you love them both.  You picked Sopapillas.  It will be a fun night.  Our lives are blessed.  We have a lot of fun and daddy works hard to make sure that we get what we need and gives us just about everything we want!! Oh!! Ginger, your kitty, she had 4 really cute kittens ;) You are in love.  But I do not think we will keep any this time.  Sorry, kiddo.

Before I know it you will be 8, but you will still be my baby girl.  You promised you would.  I tell you all the time how gifted and special  you are and you just smile and tell me :there is always someone better mom".  Maybe that is true, but I have yet to meet them my sweet girl.  Happy 7 th birthday Presley Rose.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dear Ladies: You aren't doing each other any favors.

Today was the last day of my bible study. It started last fall in September.  Truthfully, the only reason that I went was because it gave me the first opportunity I have had in three years to leave the house during the week and sit at a table without kids.  I am not kidding.  The first day they asked why we were here and what we wanted to learn and I said "I am here because my kids are not and I am not even sure what the study is about. It doesn't really matter because I am coming no matter what".  As the year ended, my group which had started with about 8 of us, ended with three originals and two ladies that joined us second semester.  The final group was a great group, filled with women who were transparent and a leader that was able to make parenting, even at it's worst, humorous. It was a weekly treat for me to be part of it, and it gave me an excuse to sit next to one of my very best friends every Wednesday.  I will miss it.

Today as we brought the year to a close, we took a moment to go around the room and say what the group or the study meant to us and what I heard made me smile and broke my heart at the same time.  You see ladies, and yes I am talking to YOU so listen up: this a group of women ages ranging from 24 to 60. Most of us have small children and the majority of us are in our thirties and forties.  THIRTIES AND FORTIES!!! Pay attention here.  I was in a room of women that have lived  quite a bit of life. Many of which would tell you that this bible study wasn't their first rodeo.  And today, at the end, these women got up and in tears talked about how this was the ONLY place they had ever felt welcomed, honesty, transparency, comfortable, grace, mercy, understanding (I could go on and on) in a room full of women.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME LADIES!!?? What the hell is wrong with us?? How is it possible that these women, at their ages, have never joined a group of women that made them feel these things?  Good grief. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. And I knew exactly what they were talking about.  I had even watched, in this very room early on in the year, as one lady who was struggling in a huge way was made to feel like her life was more of a soap opera than a reality. She quit coming.  Quit coming to a women's bible study because she was made to feel uncomfortable about sharing her life with us.....this is the world that we live in.  We live  in a world where women, who claim to love Jesus, make other women feel like less.

Ladies, we aren't doing anyone any favors by acting like we have it all together. This world if full of enough guilt and shame and condemnation without us offering it up as a side to our chicken salad on a small group gathering picnic table!!! And here is the cold hard truth.  We are ALL guilty.  Me, you, her.  Every one of us.  If you lie, you are guilty. If you only share the positive, you are guilty.  If you sit quietly and don't share at all, guilty.  If you gossip, guilty.  If you acted like you have never been there, guilty.  If you aren't listening to these women, you are guilty. GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY. All of us.  This world, the media, the enemy, together they have stacked the deck against us ladies and we are letting them kick our asses every hand.  That is just the plain ole truth.  I'd like to ask you when was the last time you went to a bible study and had someone stand up and admit to using the F word when talking to their three year old? Or when you sat at a table and listened to a woman say "I can't control my kid".  These are the women I just spent a year with and their honesty is the most light I have seen shone in this dark world in a loooong time.

So I am challenging you ladies, all of you and myself.  How many friends do you have that know the real you?  When is the last time you sat in bible study and told that story that you were ashamed to tell?  How many people really know the status of your marriage?  Our testimonies, they are gifts.  Every. Single. Piece of Them.  Gifts are to be given away.  SHARE ladies.  Use your story and help another mom, another wife, another teenager.  Tell the truth.  Be embarrassed. Ask for help.  Don't leave out the hard parts because those are the pieces that speak to someone in their very darkest times.  Don't you wish someone would do that for you? Don't you wish someone would stand up and say "My kids are terrible. My husband isn't home enough. My parents didn't notice me.  We never have sex. My daughter hates me. I can't talk to my mom.  My family is falling apart. My son can't read and he's 7.  My 5 year old isn't potty trained.  My husband ignores me. I am losing my mind. I can't get pregnant."  Say it ladies. Love yourselves enough to say it and love your friends enough to say it.  The world is broken.  Be a light.  Be a light like the women that I just spent nine months with were to me.  You won't regret it.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday Josie

Happy 3rd Birthday Josie!!

Josie.  Mama is SO SORRY!! She is writing this months late.  Our November 2015 was CRAZY and I just never got to write!!  But, you are THREE!! Oh my goodness child you are AMAZING!!!! At your third birthday you were potty trained and talking up a storm. We had a super fun birthday for you.  It was the first real party you had so daddy and I went all out.  We invited some of the people that had prayed so hard for you and walked a long side us during the hardest days of our lives as we fought for you.  The house was covered in Minnie Mouse and her friends.  We had a piƱata and cup cakes and BBQ from Jim and Nicks.  Most of your favorites were here!! Janet and Big and Nana all came. It was a great day!!

At three you are smart and funny and WILD.  I always say you are like raising a butterfly and it is true!! We just got rid of your paci in January. We spoil you rotten and it was just hard for us to take it from you.  You love Disney and your sisters and your daddy. You get up EVERY NIGHT and sleep in our bed and daddy insists he is okay with you doing that until you are 20.  He gives you EVERYTHING you want. Your favorites are Daddy and Uncle Brett and Janet and Big and Nana.  But your sisters are your world.  Josie, you are a gift. A walking miracle that we are BLOWN away Jesus let us have. You love to sing and you are actually very good. Aunt Sissy says you have a gift.  You love anything chocolate and gummies and chips and sauce.  You love pink and purple and basically anything Presley is playing with. The two of you are great buddies and you fight like crazy!!!  Mama is sorry she wrote this late. I will write more often, I promise.  I love you baby. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ladies, can you imagine? Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord  your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will love you, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph 3:17)

And so it begins. Another year. Another chapter.  Another chance.  And it is ours to decided what we do with it.  Many people make New Year resolutions.  I do not. Not because I think they do not matter, mostly because I am relatively good at keeping set on a goal and do not need the New Year to hold me accountable.  I do however think about what my resolution would be, assuming I made one.  Would it be to save money? Exercise more? Eat less? Yell less? Have more patience? And then it hit me and I realized that I had come up with a New Year resolution that could change the world.  One that could change our homes and our friendships and our marriages and our success.  Ladies, hear me out on this one because this could be life changing if we could figure out how to make it happen.

What if our New Year resolution was to like ourselves more?  Ugh. You cringed didn't you?  I know, I hear ya. But stay with me for just a moment.  Think about it. Think about how different your day would be if you liked yourself more.  And I mean all of yourself.  Not just your hair or your  boobs or your latest outfit.  Like really liked everything about yourself, just like He made you.  No returns, no exchanges, nothing added or taken away.  Rest in that thought with me for just a bit.  Can you imagine? I  cannot.  Honestly. I am not sure it is even possible in the world that we live in today.  Society and media and retail have surly laid it on thick trying to convince us that we are not enough. Some of us watch TV shows that make us feel less beautiful.  Others of us do not need TV because our husbands are doing just fine.  Some of us have neighbors that we compare ourselves to or friends, good friends, even great friends that we enjoy but leave us feeling defeated after our time together. This is no one's fault but our own of course, but it does happen. 

I am going to be brutally honest with you for just a moment.  I do not like myself.  Not all of myself anyway. To be fair, there are pieces of myself that I like a lot.  Most of those have to do with my personality.  I like that I am strong and honest. I like that I am a good friend to those that I love the most.  I like that I am completely and utterly in love with my husband, so much so that I do not even realize other men are in the room.  There is a list.  I won't bore you with the rest.  But there is also a list of don't likes.  I don't like my body. I have NEVER liked it.  I have been heavier and I have weighed less. I have been in worse shape and in better shape. It's never been enough.  I don't like what I have accomplished so far in my life. I feel like I could have done more, helped more, accomplished more.  I don't like that I live in Tennessee and I have a full list of reasons that I blame for that one, all of which are superficial and ridiculous.  The list goes on....

You see, my friends, it doesn't matter does it?  What we do and do not like about ourselves has zero to do with reality and everything to do with our hearts.  Somewhere along the line someone said something to us, did something to us, left us, hurt us, modeled for us, and we took those words or that example and tore off a piece of our hearts and replaced it with that lie.  And there it has sat ever since reminding us that our worth lies in the eyes of others.  A big FAT LIE that we have spent a lifetime believing.  It is exhausting. 

I think about my past and my present.  If I stop and think through conflicts that I have been in and I am honest with myself, most of them could have been avoided if I just liked myself more. If I hadn't allowed the other person to decide my worth, I could have walked away from most of them bruised but not beaten, tired but not lost. 

Ladies, our worth lies in only One person's hands and that is the hands of Jesus.  That is truth.  It is written. I realize that it is hard to believe. I understand that we pride ourselves on being good mothers, wives, friends, daughters, teachers, coworkers, and that day to day successes feed our souls.  But we are doing it wrong. All of us. And I am leading the pack.  It's like a really dysfunctional game of follow the leader where we are all walking in a circle comparing ourselves to the person in front of us and talking about the person behind us.  It is sad.  And we are setting a horrible example for our daughters.  We are teaching them that their worth lies in the hands and the eyes and the minds of everyone BUT Jesus. 

I look at these 6 blue eyes that are watching me and I am ashamed of myself.  I don't want them to care. I don't want them to care what you think or what I think or what their dad thinks. I want them to care what Jesus thinks.  I want them to look in the mirror and be blown away at the fact that every piece of them was planned perfectly. Have you ever done that?  Can you imagine? I don't want them to suck in their stomach or hold up their "beaten up after 5 babies" breasts and wish. I want them to stand there just like they are and smile. When is the last time you did that? Can you imagine? I want them to see the talents of others and enjoy them not covet them.  I want them to take THEIR gifts and relish in them rather than wish for more.  Have you ever done that?  Can you imagine?   I don't want them to wonder if they are enough or what else they could do to make themselves more appealing.  I want them to marry a man that loves Jesus and them and to actually believe him when he tells them they are beautiful and that he loves them and only them forever. Have you ever done that? Can you imagine? 

Ladies, what if your New Year resolution was to like yourself more?  What if it was mine? What would your marriage be like? What would your friendships be like? What would your daughters be like when they grow up?  Wouldn't it be amazing to raise a new generation of women who depended on the love of Jesus rather than the love of man? Would you be willing to join that movement if it was started? Should we do it? ;) 

Happy New Year Ladies!