Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Man, Life is Rough

Missing Him

This week has been an emotional one. It is not over yet. 

You see, my first born, my oldest, my baby is away at camp.
Mama is having a hard time.  This is the first time we have been apart like this.  I can't fix the "homesick" that he feels. I don't have my good morning hug. I'm not greeted by, "Hey, Mama," as he comes into the room.  I miss him.

It has been a humbling experience...being so many miles away.  When he called the other night, it was all I could do to keep from driving the 2 1/2 hours to just bring him home.  We both would have felt better, being under the same roof, but it would not have solved anything. 

When the chipperness in his voice turns to quivering, it is hard. I can't fix it.  I"m a "fixer" by nature (possibly an enabler at times, although he would never think so).  I want peace, love, and happiness (not realistic).

But this week at camp, he is growing, learning, discovering things about science, space, and himself.  He is learning independence and responsibility (don't we all want the for our children). He is coming out of his comfort zone.

And Mama is too.

I began to regret sending him to camp.  I began to wonder if it was really the right thing to do. Afterall, he is only 9 years old. 

But I stop myself.  He is 9 years old...10 in one month, a fifth grader in August, a big brother to two yahooligans. He is a Christian, an athlete, a member of the school Robotics and Academic Teams. 

He is making memories that will last a lifetime.  He is meeting new people. He is learning about things he enjoys.  He is building character and learning life skills. He is doing something that most of us have never done (and never will).  How can I regret that? 

I love praying with him over the phone.

I love hearing the giddiness in his voice as he tells me what he did (can't believe he did the Space Shot!). 

I love that he is taking part in the opportunity of a lifetime.

I love being his mama.

I love that I miss him, that I love him that much I'd rather have him home with me.

I love that I am learning to let go, let him grow, let him become his own person.

I love this kid.

And I miss him.

Will Work for a Sippie Cup of Milk

Carter was not disgusted with shucking corn.
He actually enjoyed it and couldn't wait to tell his daddy.
His expression cracks me up. He was so serious!

Day 3 - Social Media

This blog is about as social as I get with technology (except for email and texting). 

I once had a FaceBook account. I used it while my husband was away at CH-BOLC (Chaplain School).  I was able to keep up with what was going on and see pictures of him that were taken at his trainings.  After he graduated, I was able to keep up with some of the other Chaplain wives I met.

I went from signing up to having lots of "friends." Not sure where they all came from.  Many I didn't really know. Most were from my school district, but weren't really my friends.  I got friend requests from my students, which I don't do. I truly believe that is asking for trouble.  I don't have anything to hide, I just think that teachers have to be very careful these days. The best thing about FaceBook was staying in contact with my long lost friends Amy and Beth.  I love these girls so much.  However, after I deleted my account, I've lost touch with them.

Why did I delete my account?  That in itself is a long private story. In a nutshell, someone thought they knew all the details of a problem that arose and posted some pretty hateful comments about the character of Christian people.  I didn't want to hear it read it. It was bogus. It was cowardly. It was totally uncalled for.  So, I deleted my account. 

I didn't need it.  It had totally gotten away from what I wanted it to be.

I have never done Pintrest. I got on the website once and it was very overwhelming.  I might check it out again.  I've never done Twitter before either.

I guess one thing I really like about this blog is the ability to make it personal.  I can decorate it up by changing my background and header. I can change the pictures, add and delete stuff, change the font.  For a tech geek like me (I have a class blog, a class webpage, and a glogster account), it is fun. 

When I started blogging, I was (still am) totally in love with Angie Smith's blog.  If you haven't heard her story, oh you must.  I have also discovered Zulily, which Jenna metioned. I love it!  I have made several purchases from them and love the items I got.  Like I said, I'm a pretty big geek, so I check the news and weather alot on my cell phone and iPad.  I am such a geek, that I have "taught" blogging PD's to teachers and Glogster classes.  My trusty sidekick Lesley has given me a bit of job security by adding me on to her annual growth plan (to collaborate with me using technology)! 

I think for now I will stick with this blogging thing. It is kind of fun! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blog Challenge: Day 2 - Why this blogging thing???

A few years ago, my college friend Kim introduced me to her blog.  Oh, it was so cool. I immediately became addicted to reading blogs and definitely had my favorites I liked to visit.  I really wanted to be a blogger myself, but God basically told me no.

Quite clearly.

If I didn't have time for him. I didn't have time for this blogging thing.

Case closed.

Well, it seemed that God had his own plan with this blogging thing. It was to be used to be helpful, to show others His love, to bring honor and glory to Him. 

How?  Well, I hope that the things I share: my struggles with being a mom, life as an Army Chaplain's wife, and how God works in my life in general - make a connection, touch a heart, make a reader think. 

I've posted all about our Army journey so far, how God is using us in our church, and how life is as a mom of three boys.  I've posted about some of my ups and downs, smiles and struggles.  I have done several posts that go along with Bible studies have led or been involved with. 

This blogging thing has also brought some great opportunities.  I was contacted by Leafwood Publishers to do my very first book review.  Totally cool. Now I am reviewing for other companies as well.  I've also received free digital scrapbooking software from My Memories and have had 3 giveaways.  Best of all, I've "met" some really amazing people. 

I don't want to be negative, to bring people down.  I want to be an encourager. I want to make you laugh. I want to share God with you.

I like finding new, inspiring blogs to follow. I will admit that I stopped following folks who were so negative all the time.

I always appreciate folks stopping by. I LOVE comments (hence doing this challenge). 

You can click here to read my first post.  If I have mentioned a topic you would like to read more about, check out the labels on the right.

Thanks, Jenna for allowing me to take part in your blog challenge!

Blog Commenting Challenge!

***Ok, so obviously this teacher can't follow written instructions. I get an F for the the day!  Instead of linking to my main page, I linked to this post.  If you are visiting from Jenna's, or just want to check out my next challenge post, just click home and it will take you to the main page.***

So, as I was catching up with my blog reading yesterday, I noticed that my friend Kim was taking part in a fun looking blog challenge, The Third Annual Blog Commenting  Challenge.  With Colin away at camp, I need a little fun.

Today is Day 2, but I guess I should start with the Day 1 post first. Here it goes...

Hi! My name is Natasha.  It is so nice to meet you.

My husband Jeff and I were married in 1999, but we have actually been together since '91.  Because he has listened to God's calling, I am the wife of an Army Chaplain.  Jeff is also our church's associate pastor and a deacon.  I was pregnant with our middle child when he was ordained. I was pregnant with our youngest when he took his Oath of Office.  I joked with him when he was ordained as a pastor that if felt weird not being pregnant for such an event!

We have 3 rambunctious boys: Colin is going to be 10 next month. I have to say, he is one of the neatest kids I know, so caring and thoughtful (like his daddy in so many ways).  Carson is 6, stubborn as a mule.  Guess that is what we get for naming him after my grandpa. He is super smart, such a deep thinker. Carter is 2 - wild as a buck deer!  Oh, 2 years old going on ten. He thinks he is big enough to do whatever his big brothers do. He sees no difference.  Yes, all C names and YES it does get confusing.  "Carlin," Cartwheel," "Colson," and sometimes just, "You. Yeah, you."  Carter makes it easier. He just calls everyone, " Boy." 

I am a fourth grade teacher. Have been shaping young minds since 2000.    I love teaching, learning, and just being there for my fourth graders.  I've seen them through so many things: moving, abuse, birth of a sibling, and even death of a parent.  For some, I am the only mom they know.

Although we were born, raised, and still living right here in South Central Kentucky, we are open to the possibilities of Active Duty. 

I love being a mom. I love being a wife.  I love being who God is making me out to be.  His plan is so much better than anything I could have ever imagined. 

Again, welcome!  I am looking forward to meeting some new folks through Jenna's Challenge!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Aware and acknowledgment

Through this gratitude journal, this dare of being aware and acknowledging God's precious mercies and grace each day, I have taken moments that could be gross or simply are ugly and make them beautiful because I have found Him in those moments.

This week, I am sharing a few simple gifts I have acknowledged through His love...

~ a surprise lunch date ~

~ rainbow pancakes that come with the question, "Are you sure these are safe to eat? ~

~ birds chirping before sunrise ~

~ worn out kids ~

~ having an ER nurse at church ~

~ a sleepless night to pray ~

~ the little old man who offered to buy the boys gum at the barber shop ~

~ how he doesn't want his big brother to go to camp ~

~ how chocolate donuts do the trick in Wal-Mart even though the big boys disapprove ~

~ "I'm sorry," from brother to brother ~

~ simple, soft pink sunset ~

~ stopping by at 10 PM to say good bye ~

~ a safe trip ~

~silly games played in a hotel room ~

~ sending my oldest to camp ~

~ the first good morning wake up call from camp ~

 What simple gifts have you acknowledged this week?

Friday, June 22, 2012

They Need Us

If you haven't noticed, I've been experiencing some really strong emotions about Christians and lost souls.

You see, last week, I got to spend some time with a lost mother.  She loves her 3 little girls so much, wants only the best for them.  They do live across the street from our church. Two of her girls go to school with two of my boys.  Now they are in the same classes at church.  I love her girls so much. Now, I have come to love this mom as well.

She is so scared.  She admitted it. 

Her life is in a spot she never wanted.  She doesn't know any other way. 

She wants better. She wants hope. She wants Jesus.

She's just scared.

Scared of what He might make of her.

Scared of how her husband might react.

Just scared.

It was so difficult for her to admit front of me, my husband, an elderly couple, and a widow from our the parking lot after Father's Day service. 

But when she did admit it, her whole demeanor changed.  You could see and feel the power when she cried, "Y'all, I'm just so scared!" 

She was letting go.

She was accepting.

She was changing.

It was a big step for her.

"Now take little steps," we encouraged her.

You see, she, like so many others, believe that when you do decide to let go and let God, that everything will

It doesn't.

Little steps.

Baby steps.

They need us.

They need us to let them now that this walk we are on, this journey, it is daily, it is difficult, it is not one we do along.

They need us to love them, to hold them, to pray from them.

They need us to admit our faults, proving that just because we are called Christians, we are not perfect. We are the hypocrits that fill the pews. That is why we are there.  I shared with her how I struggle with my temper and being in control.  Mr. Will shared his struggle with losing his home (which was hit by a tornado).  She saw it in us.  She struggles, like me, being the mom she wants to be.  She, like Mr. Will, lost her home too.

She told me and Hilarie, "You girls got you a project now."  She wants us to lead her, to guide, her, to show her Jesus.  She told us she doesn't have anybody like us in her life. 

She needs us.

We don't see her as a project.

We see her as we are....a sister...a mother....a friend....a woman who wants to be have people she can really and truly trust and depend on.

She needs us. 

She told us that she felt stuck.  Stuck in this trailer park.

Jeff told her, "If you weren't in this trailer park, you wouldn't be here right now.  Your girls wouldn't have this." 

She knew he was right.

Our lives don't always turn out the way we plan.  We make decisions; they lead us places.  God is the master planner. He takes what we've done to ourselves and offers us a way out.

I guess the point of all of this....

Jesus died for us.  ALL OF US. Not just the rich, the fancy clothes wearing, Cadillac driving, mansion living people.  He died for ALL OF US. The rich, the poor, those with no cars, those in trailers.  EVERY ONE OF US.

We can't keep Him to ourselves.  We have to share Him. They need us to.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Did you know

Across the street from your church there is a lost mother.

She is spiritually lost.

She has been beaten.

She has been addicted.

She has been raped.

She has been left for dead by those she trusted.

She has never known another life.

Pregnant at seventeen.

High school drop out.

No job.

No car.

She sits at home everyday and takes whatever is dished out by her family and "friends."

She needs love.

She needs acceptance.

She needs hope.

She needs Jesus Christ.

Who will show her?

Who will teach her?

Who will let her know that there is hope, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ?

Did you know that there is a man across the street from your church?

He is a product of his environment.

His dad beat his mom. So he beat his wife.

He works to pay the necessary bills and have a little food for his kids. 

His friends are bad influences.  He's pretty much a follower.

He came to church once. 

He didn't feel welcome so he never came back.

He is lost.  Spiritually lost.

His wife, his children...they need a man of God leading them.

Who will lead him?

Will you wave at him and smile at him when you drive your nice car into the church parking lot as he is working on his broken down junker?

Will you walk over there in your Khakis and button down shirt and talk with a greasy, dirty young man in ripped clothes?

Will you invite him to come to church?

If he shows, will you greet him?

Will you introduce him to your friends?

Will you make a point to find him after the service and invite him back?

When you arrive at church each week, will you look for him in his yard or will you look away?

Did you know there are little children across the street from your church?

They are precious.

They have little to nothing.

They watch your kids get out of your nice car wearing their Sunday best. They look at their dirty, illfitting hand me downs.

They watch you and your husband holding hands across the parking lot.

They probably never saw their parents hold hands.

They wonder what goes on behind that door, in that building.

They ask their parents to go.

Parents say no.  Those people are hypocrites.

They watch each week. They ask each week.

Finally, they are allowed to go to your church.

Without their parents.

They see love. They hear love. They get love.

They ask their parents to go.

They say no.

The children continue to go.  They love this place called church.

Their hungry little bellies are fed.

Their hungry little souls are fed.

No doubt they are different than most of the children their, but they are just as loved.

These children come every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, and every Wednesday night.

Without their parents.

Did you know there is a family across the street from your church?

They are lost.

They are dying.

They need Jesus.

Will you introduce them to Him?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Review: Mondays with My Old Pastor

"Sometimes, all we need is a reminder from someone who has walked before us."

That is what is written on the cover of the book Mondays with My Old Pastor by Jose Luis Navajo.  It also describes the book to a tee. 

This book is about a pastor who experiences burnout.  He has made is agenda book more important than his Bible, and he is ready to give up, believing that God never really called him on this journey. 

After a dream and encouragement from his wife, the pastor visits with his old pastor. During deep discussions, the younger pastor is encouraged to continue the race God has called him too.  Each Monday, the old pastor tells stories and gives advice to his colleague, many times telling him what he needed to hear due to things he was experiencing at that time.  The bond between the two men grows; the younger pastor learns so much, even about the health issues faced by his pastor.

This is a touching true story. I was moved, encouraged, and challenged when I read this book.  For those wanting to fully serve, it is a must read.

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purpose of an honest review.

The Creation Museum

On Saturday, a group of us from church visited the Creation Museum in Petersburg.  It was an awesome place.  Although we didn't see everything there (Carter had had enough, plus his mama and daddy were tired), we were impressed with what we did see.  We are looking forward to a return visit in the future. 

 Topics such as when the dinosaurs lived and died were included. Carson found that fascinating!  He loved reading the questions and flipping the boards to see if he had the right answer.  I never really thought about it, but until sin entered the world, all animals were herbivores. 

The museum depicted the Garden of Eden and told the story of Adam and Eve.

 It also showed what happened after Adam and Eve disobeyed God.

The Noah's Ark exhibits were really cool too.

We learned a lot, were reminded of things we never really thought much about as well. I loved that the kids were really intrigued by the museum as well. One thing that was really cool was the area that showed "man's way" vs "God's Word."  Carson really like those posters and we had some great discussions.  If you are ever around that area, you should definitely check it out.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I have a question for you

What kind of Christian are you?

Would you welcome a lost soul covered in piercings and tattoos into your church?

Would you hug and shake that person's hand during meet and greet?

In your "all white" church, would you welcome the guests whose skin is a different color?

Would you stare a lost soul down because she didn't dress the way you thought she should on Sunday morning? Instead of a dress and heels, she wears all she has, flip flops, capris, and a plain shirt.

Would you stand in the parking lot and hug her and love her and pray over her and listen to her cry for help, for hope, for change for an hour after church while everyone else has run off for Sunday lunch?

Would you love her children even though they are sometimes dirty and hungry, and they are different than your own?

Would you welcome them in and honestly pray for them even when you told them you would?

Would you be glad that your church is next to a trailer park with families who don't know any other way but the way of "the streets?"

What kind of Christian are you?

Do you warm the pew each Sunday?

Do you go to church only on holidays?

Do you attend a Sunday School class?

Do you fellowship with your church family after church?

Do you act one way on Sunday and a different way the rest of the week?

Do you do God's work or do you let someone else?

Do you think Sunday and Wednesday night church service is just for the old people and kids?

Do you spread the Good News or keep it to yourself?

Do you read your Bible?

Do you pray without ceasing and with thanksgiving?

What kind of Christian are you?

Are you a cheerful giver?

Are you an excuse maker?

Are you honest with God?

Are you holding back?

Are you a lover of all people?

Are you a fisher of men?

What kind of Christian are you?

The little things I have LIVED for this week

So, the week before last was kind of a yucky week. I was just a grouch, not much fun to be with.  I found myself fussing, complaining, yelling. I really didn't like myself.

The problem?


Plain and simple, we have too much stuff.

It trickles from room to room.  It overtakes the bar in the kitchen and the dining room table.  I trip over it. I wash it, fold it, and put it up. It finds its way back out.  The kids don't like cleaning it up. 

I am blessed that we have the means to have stuff, but sometimes it just stresses me out.  Now that baseball and VBS are out of the way, maybe I will have time to organize and get rid of a lot of this stuff. The chore charts will be put to great use this week too! 

In the meantime, here are a few gifts from the past week....

~ wide open spaces for kids to run ~

~ dirt and small creatures to keep kids busy ~

~ When Carter "sings" Until the Whole World Hears ~

~ Riding in cars (a van) with boys (eating ice cream )~
 ~ VBS: children, volunteers, and souls saved ! ~
~ lunch with a friend and lots of kids ~

 ~ Colin's Sportsmanship Award ~

~ Singing Deck the Halls in the car in June ~

~ the Creation Museum ~

~ two exhausted  6 year olds discussing what they learned and saw at the Creation Museum ~

~ Wonderful Fathers ~

What gifts have God blessed you with this week?