Monday, February 22, 2010

Valentine's Day...a little late

I have not always made a very big deal out of Valentine's Day. Most years, Patrick and I might go out to eat and grab a little happy for the girls. But this year, I realized I kinda love V-day. I couldn't wait to do something really special for my family. Why not take a day and go above and beyond to show some extra love? So...roll forward to February 14th. I was sick. Like really sick. I had the stomach bug from you-know-where, and then I passed it on to my hubby (you know, because I love to share:) Anyway, my plans for Valentine's day changed and got moved back a little. And thankful I am that they did. So on Tuesday, I set up the table while the girls were napping, and Patrick and I surprised them when they woke up. I made cupcakes, and we bought them little happies and cards. It really wasn't a big deal (see picture above), but they loved it nonetheless. Well, we were sitting around eating our cupcakes when my little Lily's face just fell. She looked broken-hearted. I asked her what was wrong. She said... "Oh mommy, thank you for all of this. I am so sorry I was disobedient today. It was a sin. Will you forgive me?" Melt my heart. Earlier, something had happened that I had already handled with her. She was, as she said, disobedient. But I knew at the moment when were "dealing" with it, she was not repentful. She hated to be disciplined. But the act itself, she did not hate. Usually, Lily is one to feel sorrow over her areas of disobedience. But that day, it just didn't come. And I knew I had done all I could. So fast forward to several hours later when she looked at me with those big, brown eyes and truly felt geniuine remorse. It reminded me of Romans 2:4 " or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" Isn't it so true when we think about the unmerited, gracious kindness of our Father, our hearts truly break over our sin? I love how just a little act of kindness towards my daughter brought about the sorrow over her disobedience. I love that God fully equips me to teach, train, and cultivate the hearts of my children, but it is Him alone that changes them!! The Holy Spirit is working even when I might not see it. It was nothing I did that made Lily realize she was wrong. That was totally the work of God on her little heart. He was just using me in the process. A lady at my church recently said at a christmas party that we (parents) are like John the Baptist. We are just preparing the way for Christ in our children. I loved that illustration. And I love that God gives us an instruction manual on how to do just that. Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." So basically I need to be constantly talking and teaching and "preparing the way." It's such an awesome and heavy responsibility. And I feel as though I fail miserably at times. But I am so thankful that 1) His mercies are new every morning, and each day I can wake up and go at it again. 2) I am teaching, talking, and showing them the way, but it is God who is doing the real work on their hearts. Praise the Lord!

Besides, look at these little faces! Aren't they more than worth the effort? :) God is so good to me!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"It hasn't snowed this much in Jackson since 1985"

Here is a lovely picture of how I started my day yesterday (and today), a hot cup of tea next to the beautiful flowers my husband gave me for my birthday. What you can't see in this picture is the big window opened to the falling snow outside. The meteorologists had been calling for snow all week... but it is Jackson, MS. This place never gets snow! I was disappointed I missed out on the big snow at home, so I certainly did not want to get my hopes up for the same amount of snow here. To be honest, the thought of making up more days of school left me thinking-- PLEASE no snow!

**side note** My school was out for a week during the "Arctic Blast" in mid-January. Not because there was any snow/ice on the ground but because the ancient pipes in the city of Jackson couldn't handle the freezing temperatures and they busted-- leaving the whole city of Jackson without water for a week!**

I really did not (do not) want to make up any missed school days on a Saturday or, worse, during my Spring Break! Regardless of how I felt, the snow came, just as predicted, Thursday night. I woke up Friday morning to a blanket of snow covering the ground and falling from the sky. It was so beautiful and peaceful. It was such a wonderful, relaxing day, and God knew (better than me) that I desperately needed it. I love, love the feeling of being "snowed-in"... you can't go anywhere, you have nowhere to go, you are forced to just relax! I'm sure if I lived up North that "snowed-in" feeling would get old, but it never will for me here in the South!

I am such a kid-at-heart. I could not wait to get outside and play! I woke up at 7 a.m. (on my day off) and waited for Nathan to get up so we could take Bella (our dog) out. I genuinely felt sorry for all those people who do not have a child, dog, or spouse to play with in the snow! We had such a blast running in the snow, throwing snow balls, and building a snow*woman*.

The whole day, I was filled with a heart-warming JOY from God. I love His creation of snow... It makes me think of His mercy and what He did for me 18 years ago... took all of my ugliness and made me white as snow! I am amazed at His goodness. And to think, if left up to me, I would not have chosen for it to snow Friday. I love how well He knows me. What a great day to reflect on that!

I was excited to see most of the snow on left on the ground this morning. I would love for it to stay all day! I know not everyone likes the snow, but those people mainly live up North! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy Bird-day, Anna!!

A quarter of a century ago today, my sweet sister was born. Growing up, my mom always told us that we would be best friends some day. At the time, we were having some knock-down, drag-out fights, and although we were close friends, I don't think we grasped how true my mom's words would be. we are. We are absolutely best friends. We don't go a day without talking several times, and I can hardly wait until she is back in town so that I can see her daily too!

Besides being my sister and friend, Anna is genuinely one of my favorite people. To know her is to love her. She lights up a room just by being in it. She is hilarious! She keeps our family laughing constantly. I love that I can have a blast with her anytime we're together, but at the same time, I can tell her anything too. I trust her opinion as much as anyone-from the very important things to what to wear on a date night. I even talk with her about parenting! That is because Anna is constantly observing and studying the best way to do everything. She always strives for the best. She has such a teachable spirit, and because of that, she has so much wisdom and insight to offer. She is a student of the Word, and I love that her life totally reflects it. I admire her so much. She is an amazing and godly wife and a loyal and honest friend. She has the kindest heart, and she is so authentic. Her focus is on things and relationships that have eternal value. She is drop-dead gorgeous, but it is truly her spirit that makes her one of a kind.
Anna is teaching this year, and I am so proud of her. She handles things so much better than most would. I am constantly impressed by her! She is such a hard worker, and she excels at every job she has ever had. I am so excited for her next job... to become a mom. (I am REALLY ready for her to get this job-haha) She has a heart for God and her home, so I know she will make an amazing mommy. She is already the best aunt ever! Everything Anna does, she does so passionately. She loves, laughs, plays games, tells stories, and lives in a way that shows her whole heart is in it.

I really adore Anna. She is the best friend and confidant anyone could hope for. She is such an encourager. When I had Lily, all I could think was "I really hope I have another girl." I wanted Lily to have an "Anna." And I pray everyday that Lily and Evie will be to each other what Anna is to me. I am blessed beyond measure to have her as a sister, and I really hope one day we do find houses right next door to each other:) Anna, I love you so so much, and I hope you have the happiest birthday/birth month!
Oh yeah....she has THE BEST smile ever.

This picture makes me laugh.