Friday, April 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Friend

Yes, my dear one. It is that time again. Five Minute Friday.  Got five minutes?  Sure you do.  Read the prompt. Set the Clock. Write.  It's that easy.
Five Minute Friday



A friend is a funny thing.  As children, much of our troubles came from friends.  They weren’t sharing or playing fair.  They spent more time with their other friends.  Then come the teen years. Many of those childhood friends change.  There’s a new crowd, maybe a hipper crowd.  College friends….maybe I have a couple. I got to college, studied, graduated in 3 years.  Wasn’t there for friends, had a career to think about. 

Now, adult friends. That’s another ballgame.  It’s a cross between childhood and teen years.  You want to fit in, sometimes it is hard.  Singles with friends that are married with children.  Coworker friends.  Church friends. Facebook friends.  They all come and go.

But there is one friend that is constant.  Jesus.

But you can’t see him is what you tell me.

I can feel him.

But you don’t know if he’s really there.  Yes, I do.  It's my faith.


My best friend.

I can call him day or night, happy or sad.

I can depend on him to lead me, guide me, never forsake me.

He is true to his word.

He won’t gossip about me.

He won’t throw me under the bus.

He will love me when I neglect him.

He will comfort the tears.

He will never lead me astray.

I am glad, oh so glad, for my relationship with Jesus.  He is my best friend, the friend that makes all other relationships possible.


And I thank you for stopping by, my friend.  My words here come from the heart.  I hope that you are blessed, and I look forward to hearing from you.  While you are at it, stop by Lisa-Jo's and join in with Five Minute Friday. You won't regret it!

Surprised by Motherhood

I just finished Lisa-Jo Baker's book Surprised by Motherhood.  I was really excited about the release of this book, so excited that I preordered and received it in the mail before it was officially released.

Well, let me just say that I was not disappointed. I don't want to give away anything, but let me just say.....

My heart was touched.

Why is it that moms always feel they are lone? We feel that we are messing things up. We are terrible because we lose our temper or hide out in the bathroom just for five seconds of alone time.

But we aren't alone.

As moms, we are all different, but we are all the same.

Like Lisa-Jo, you may have not  first desired to be a mother.  Me on the other hand....I had it planned out.  Get married. Have 3 kids.....two boys and a girl.

But like every other plan, God had a different, better plan.

I have my 3 children, just not that girl.  Being the mom of three boys....I wouldn't trade it for anything. When I got pregnant back last summer, the main question was, "Are you hoping for a girl?"   My answer was always no.  If I were to become pregnant again, just so you know, my answer is still no.  Like Lisa-Jo, I wouldn't know what to do with a girl.  I think I am doing pretty good with these boys right now.  Honestly, I would love to have a daughter, however, I would not get pregnant just to have a daughter.  But even more than that, I would just want a healthy baby.  That's true more than ever since experiencing a miscarriage.


It is so much more than I expected.  I always thought I would love being a mother.  But the love I have for my children is so much more than what I could have imagined.

I think being a mom and being in love with your children gives us a glimpse of how much God is in love with us.  I have held my sleeping sons and cried because God whispered to me, "You see this?  You know how much you love this baby?  Well, I love you more."  HE loves me more.

We all get so burnt out on the routines of life.  Wake up. Get kids up. Get them to school. Work. Get kids after school. Take part in after school activities. Cook. Clean. Bathe. Do homework. Go to bed. Get up. Go to bed again.  Wake up. Do it all over again.

The laundry piles up.

The dishes get dirty and pile up.

The toys make for an obstacle course.

There are tears.

There is yelling.

There are more tears.

There are kids fighting.

There is poop, puke, and pee to clean up.

Well, being a can never get bored.  There is always something to do.  A kid to hold, a toy to put away, a nose to wipe, a glass of milk to pour, a butt to wipe.  But being a mom is so much more.

It's letting the kids giggle in bed instead of shushing them to sleep because the sound is breathtaking.

It's scooting over in bed because some little person had a bad dream and cuddling with mom and sticking a foot in dad's back is safe and secure.

It's the honest truth that those pants really do make your butt look big and your toddler is the only one to tell you what you've always suspected.

It's the lines and dates on the door facing that show the growth of your wee ones as they soon become as big as you.

It's cheering them on during a game.

It's giving a much needed hug when they fail.

It's hearing, "Mama, I love you," the most precious words in the world.

It's getting sticky kisses.

It's your toddler belting out Clark Griswold's " I LOVE A PARADE!" has he hops into bed at night and then begins singing The B-I-B-L-E.

It's the funny little sayings.....Mama, smell my feet.  Mama, your breath stinks. Mama, I tooted. Eeew! Mama, you tooted.  Mama, I am NOT going to school today. Mama, your butt looks big.  No, Daddy. I want Mama.


Being a mama is so breathtaking, awesome, inspiring, tiring, frustrating, scary, wonderful gift.

Like Lisa-Jo, I am raising Kingdom Kids.  My children are a gift from God.  I have stood with each of them in front of the church and dedicated them back to the Lord.  All too often, I realize that they are only mine for a little while.  I must do everything I can to guide them to Jesus, to help them to become the God-fearing men that are warriors for Christ.

I wanted to be a mama more than anything else in the world, and on July, 26, 2002, I was given that gift. Colin is almost 12.  His first twelve years have flown by, and I know that in the blink of an eye, Colin will be driving, then off to college, and then creating a life of his own.  It seems like only yesterday I lied to the nurses on the phone and told them my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart.  They were anywhere from 5-8 minutes apart, but when you can't even stand up.....well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  This first boy of mine gave me one heck of a delivery.  After 12 hours of labor, no epidural, and 3 hours of pushing, my almost 10 pound baby stole my heart.  I feared for him when he rolled off the couch as an infant.  When he began walking, Colin was as clumsy as his mama. We spent many nights rushing to the ER because his fever would spike.  He is so tenderhearted, this boy who opened his heart to Jesus during revival.  He helps kids up on the soccer field if they fall even though they are on the opposing team.  God has provided him with some amazing opportunities.  Space Camp, Academic Team, Robotics Team, STLP.  He loves church.  He loves God.  He loves others.  He is a little old man in a kid's body.  Sometimes I forget that he is a kid.  I probably lose my temper with him the most.  Maybe I expect more from him.  He is so grown up most of the time, that when he does some crazy kid thing, I totally can't believe he did it.  I forget to let him be
little. He teaches me about myself.  I see his insecurities and they are the same as mine.  He gets his temper from me. But he loves....Man that kid loves. He's built like his daddy, stocky, thick.  He procrastinates like his daddy too, but we won't talk about that!  As my first born, he continues to teach me so much. Right now, I often wonder if I am going to survive his puberty!  I realize that at this age, Colin doesn't understand his body, his emotions, the changes he is going through.  He's not a little kid any more, but he isn't a teenager either.  He's at that awkward stage where he is trying to find where he fits in.  Honestly, he fits perfectly in my heart.

In 2006, we opened our arms to Carson. My Iley.  He had a rocky start on this stormy spring birth day, having to be rushed to NICU after birth.  His poor lungs were filled with fluid, and he had so much trouble breathing.  At 8 years old, he hasn't fully recovered from that.  This kid, my Iley C., he struggles so much with his health.  When he gets sick, he is sick. He's missed out on fieldtrips, parties, and family holiday celebrations. Tonight, he is missing out on his baseball game. Severe leg cramps prompted us to have tests run.  Food allergies keep an EpiPen nearby, along with a bottle of Benedryl. He is my milk loving boy. My hotdog bun eater. My child with a very sweet tooth!  He wants what he likes and expects us to know what it is without asking.  Stubborn. Stubborn as a mule that boy of mine.  Named after my grandfather, he is so much like him.  The eyes, the ears, the way he crosses his legs, the little things he does that shows he loves you.  His love for banana popsicles takes me back to my childhood summers on Cherry Street. Pa Tootsie always had our favorite banana popsicles on hand. This second boy child of mine became my shadow at the age of three when he became a big brother.  If I was up at 2 a.m. feeding the baby, he was up with me.  Every time I turned around, he was there.  He was so much on my schedule that we pulled him out of daycare, thus creating this bond with his baby brother.  Still, I always expect him in my bed sometime during the night.
Carson is this artistic creature.  I think he gets that from Jeff's grandmother.  Nanny loved to draw and so does Carson.  He's going to be our scientist. A strong, silent man.  There's no need in talking about things we all know....if he doesn't want to talk, he doesn't.  He's not being rude, he just doesn't see how nonsense is necessary.  My soul prays each day for his salvation.  I know he thinks about God. I know he loves God.  I just want to make sure that he understands what Christ has done for him and be able to recognize God's still small voice. My Iley Carson.

After a family trip to Chicago in 2009, we found out that our third little one would be joining our family.  This child, a wild man, came into the world after we found out I had been losing amniotic fluid. Since his arrival, he has let the world know that he is here! Carter is non stop. He is Mister Personality.  He is my baby in every way.  He's four years old, and I still call him the baby.  The third baby. Carter doesn't know how little he really is.  He has never know little. He's know his big brothers, and anything they can do, Carter can do....and better.  Colin's friends are Carter's friends.  He knows no different.  Carter likes things just so.  Sippy cup empty? Throw it across the room.  Need something? Yell for it.  Mad at your brothers? Hit them.  He's not always wild.  Not always.  He loves to cuddle at bed time.  And only Mama will do.  When I had my miscarriage, it hurt Carter and me both that I couldn't get out of bed to care for him. Jeff would let him cuddle with me and then make him go to the other room so I could rest. One night, Jeff was trying to get Carter in bed, and I hear him on the baby monitor telling him that he doesn't like him and he wants Mama to put him to bed.  He's definitely Mama's Boy.  We have our routines, and he likes them. He needs them.  We have to sing Rock-a-bye Baby right after I dry him off after his bath. At bedtime, we have to watch Caillou.
And my "choceemilk" kid knows at bed time, it's only white milk! This boy, my Carter, he is my hero in so many ways.  I pray that in his daring endeavors, his escapades, that he will be a lover of Jesus.  He is loving church. My heart melts when he sings his favorite songs of Jesus.I can't wait to see what this boy of mine will do.

These boys of mine. My gifts from heaven.  They have changed me and taught me. They've taught be about myself, about the world, about life, about love. Being their mama has brought many surprises.  Many things I didn't know about myself.   I have loved deeper than I have imagined.  I have learned to negotiate. I have sacrificed.  I have laughed.....and cried. I continue to face my fears. I become stronger each day. 

This whole motherhood thing is more than I ever thought it would be.  It is better.  It is worth it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Glue

It's that time of the week again. The time to inhale the word that Lisa-Jo throws out there and let whatever is stirred pour out from your fingertips...Yes, Five Minute Friday.  You can head over to Lisa-Jo's to find out how to join in or just read some amazing words.

Five Minute Friday
Today's word: GLUE.


Sometimes it is just hard to keep it together.  You feel as if you are about to become unglued, and the pieces are about to fall apart.  But still there is something deep inside holding it all together. 

How do you keep it together when you Skype with your husband and he must take cover because his compound is under attack? 

How do you keep it together when the doctor tells you your baby stopped growing? 

How do you keep it together when your preteen hates you because he hates everything and doesn't understand the changes that are occurring within, that crazy thing puberty?  

How do you keep it together when you are scared of 9 year olds in your classroom? 

How do you keep it together when you are tired, and frustrated, and well.....tired?


Sweet, sweet Jesus.

He is my glue.  He keeps me together.  I could sing that He is my sunshine after the rain. 

My sweet Jesus.  The best thing I have ever done is admit that I am nothing but broken without him.  He keeps me together. 

My Rock. My Salvation. My Everything. 


Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I'd love to hear what GLUE has stirred in you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Paint

Our lives paint a picture, a picture filled with memories.  As I sat reading Surprised by Motherhood last night, Lisa-Jo used her words to paint a picture in my mind.  I saw what she saw. I felt what she felt (hence the wiping away of tears) and then reflected on myself. Myself as a mom, what has brought me to motherhood, and, I guess in simple terms,  a look to the future - how will this motherhood role affect my children.

I want this life of mine to paint beautiful memories for them.  I want, and pray to be each day, to be the mother they need me to be.  That I can mold them and guide them to be the Christian men God has planned for them.

I want the painted memories to be those of love, compassion, encouragement, and fun.  I want them to know when I am wrong, when I mess up, that I honestly, truly try to do the right thing.  Because this whole motherhood thing will paint a path for these boys.  They will have an image of what a mother is or is not.  It will affect them as they become men of age and start dating and then one day marry.  I want what I am to impact their decisions on the women they date and then woman that is chosen to become the wife.  

Five Minute Friday

If you stopped by here today, Thank You!  You've just read my Five Minute Friday post (Yes, I do realize this is Saturday, but a mama's got to write when a mama can write).  Five Minute Friday is simple.  Each day, visit Lisa-Jo to find out the word of the the week.  Then write for five minutes.  Don't worry. Don't over analyze (don't analyze at all really). Just write.

I Turned Around and Someone Turned Eight

Last week, we spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon celebrating Carson's eighth birthday.  What a blessing it was to have Jeff home this year for Carson's special day.

We celebrated with a Minecraft Cake,

friends and family, 



 and gifts.

Carson, you are an amazing little guy, and we love you!  Happy birthday, Iley C!

Why I Do What I Do

When we were school age children, we would get so excited to see our teachers "outside of class" on the weekends or during the evenings.  I guess we all figured they lived at school.  It's so funny because times haven't changed.  When I see my students out and about, they seemed shocked to see me outside of room 206.

This being a teacher gig is more than just teaching reading, math, and science.  It is about teaching children.  That's what I do.  But why?

There are so many days I ask myself the same question.  The days a nine year old cusses me or threatens me or another student. The days half the class makes an F on a test that I felt they were totally prepared for. The days that have heated discussions with parents because they think the school is picking on their children.  The days when I'd rather be stranded on an island than sit through one more PLC, faculty meeting, or content planning.  The days when teaching is out of the question, and it is just about surviving until 3 o'clock.

So, why?  Why do I do what I do?

I think the last sentence of  this note I got from a student says it.....

There are kids that don't get hugs. There are kids that have never been told "I love you." There are kids that come from nothing and more than likely are on a path to nothing.  There are the kids whose parents are too busy with their own lives that they never ask for homework, check folders, or make an appearance at a conference.  There are kids whose parents get them out of every ounce of trouble they find themselves in only to place the blame on an adult because their kids are just perfect.

Then there are the other kids.  There are kids that their parents make sure homework is done. There are kids who take the assignment one step further because they just want to.  There are kids that are encouraged and loved and kissed and told, "you're great" every single day.

Why do I do what I do?  Because there are these kids,  regardless of what color they are or what neighborhood they're from or who their parents are, or that have a disability or are gifted, these kids, they have potential.  I want them to be the best they can be.

If a child's best is a C-, I'm going to push them to get that C-.

If a child never does their homework at home, I am going to give them time each day to get it done before class.

If a child has never been loved, I am going to love him.

If a child is more than just a kid in a wheelchair, I'm going to push him out of his comfort zone and the limitations others have put on him.

These kids are my kids for 9 months of the year.  It is up to me to show them what they can do if only they try.  It is up to me to love them, to hold them when they cry.  It is up to me to high five them, laugh with them, and encourage them.

I am not their friend. I am their teacher.

It is up to me to show them what I see in them and open the door so they can pursue something more than their circumstance.

In my fourteen years of teaching elementary school, I have had approximately 1,000 students.  That is 1,000 lives I've touched.  I am about half way through my teaching career, so double that.  I will have touched about 2,000 lives (if that isn't right, I am sorry. I am a language arts teacher, not a math teacher).  That is the size of some small towns.

Imagine the potential in those numbers.  Those kids can make difference in this world.  I am a piece of that path.  My hope is that something I say or do will create a spark in them to light the world afire with great things.

Teaching is like sowing the seeds of Christ.  You may never see the harvest of the seeds you planted.  There are kids that I see now as adults who are in the military, who are in college, who are becoming colleagues (wow that makes me feel old). I see that they are doing great things.  But others, I may never know if anything I did made an impact.  And if not me, maybe someone did, maybe someone saw their potential and helped open a door.

So, why do I do what I do?  Because there are these kids, and they have potential.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Book Review: Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Moms

Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Moms is the third book in Nancy B. Kennedy's Miracles and Moments of Grace Series, all of which I have had the pleasure to read. 

This book is compiled of stories that will move a mother's heart.  Each story is unique as is each of our mothering experiences.  Some stories are told from a mother's relationship or experience with her own child, while others are told from a woman's relationship with her own mother.  Either way, each story is heartwarming.  Women share their experiences on seeking God's guidance while parenting. Still, other women share funny stories that many moms can relate too. 

In one particular story, a mother is reminded of the love and compassion her mother had shown her as she was growing up.  At the time the story was written, the woman was taking care of her mother and become frustrated with something her mom had done.  She extended grace to her mother and remembered that she had once done the same for her.

This is a wonderful book for mothers.  The stories remind us of the importance of motherhood, the special bond between women and their children, and the grace that we should extend to others because of the grace God has extended to us. 

I received a free copy of this book from Leafwood Publishers for the purpose of review.  The review is my own opinion of the book. 

Five Minute Friday - Writer

When I grow up, I want to be a writer.  I am so in love with words.  When I hear songs like Speak Life and The Words I Would Say, I am reminded about the power of words.  When I read scripture, and I am still and quite, I hear God's voice, I feel Him changing me.  When I speak words to others, I can smile that I uplifted them. Sometimes I cringe because I can't believe the words that just came from my mouth. 

But words.  I do love them.

We all have story to tell.  We have words to spill from our souls to share with the world.  We can use these words, whether we have a desire to be a writer or not, and we can change the world. One story at a time.

Homeless. Tell your story.
Recovering addict. Tell your story.
Military. Tell your story.
Abused. Tell your story.
Worst mom ever. Tell your story.

Your story can change lives.

Tell the story of Jesus.  Tell of His grace and love and mercy. That, my friends, is life changing.  It is a story that needs to be told over and over and over....

This blog, this simple online place, it allows me to be a writer.  It allows me to use words that will hopefully be a lifesaver to someone.  To share my story, what God has done for me, that's the whole purpose here. I made a deal with God.  I would use this space to glorify Him. If I didn't have time to spend with Him, I wouldn't spend time here.  He is why I tell my story. He is why I want to be a writer when I grow up.

Five Minute Friday
Thank you so much, Lisa-Jo, for providing this time for me to be a writer.  If anyone else wants to join in for five minutes each Friday, just click on over to Lisa-Jo's to find out how.  Oh, and she wrote a book.  I have my copy waiting for me on the table. Just have to finish another before I start!
Lisa-Jo Baker

Thursday, April 03, 2014

So much to do, so little time


One of my greatest treasures is being a mom.  How painful! How heart-wrenching! How wonderful!  I love my life as a mom.  It is the hardest job ever. There are days I wonder how these children can possibly be mine; they are simply to stubborn for words. They fight and kick and scream and tattle and instigate.  Boys will be boys I guess.  Some days I feel like I am at my wits end because they will not listen, they expect toys and dirty clothes and trash and shoes and food to be cleaned up themselves, or mom the maid will do it!

Then there are days (many times found in those crazy days) that I wonder how I deserved to be so blessed with these children.  My children.

There are the hugs I get every morning.  Sometimes it is that "hold me close" hug that just wants to cuddle. Sometimes its that quick "head on hip, pat on back, outta my way" hug.  Regardless, it is a hug from a precious child that is glad to see his mama first thing in the morning.

There are those kisses. Sweet boy (sometimes sweaty, stinky, and sticky) kisses.  Colin on the cheek. Carson on the cheek (the kids has kissed me 10 times in his whole life - no joke). Carter full blown on the lips, sometimes on the eye, cheek, nose or wherever he has the desire to plant one.  But kisses from my boys.

There are those shrills of laughter, giggles galore, one of the greatest sounds in the world.  Laughter brought on by Spongebob and America's Funniest Home Videos, Minecraft shenanigans, and the stinky toots from across the room.

There are the silly jokes, "Hey, Buddy! You wanna race?"  that make no sense at all, but just the way it sounds cracks you up.  There are the holy moments of saying grace at meal time only to have your toddler sing it like he is straight up Full Gospel. Not sure where he got that. Us Southern Baptist just don't do that sort of thing!

There is the catch phrase of a child that lasts years. The memories made while on vacation and the park or at Chuck E. Cheese's.

There are the tears and the boogers and the blood and the vomit and the poop and the "only mama will do moments."

There is the cuddling, the sharing of the last cupcake, the hand holding, the bath time messes, the tickling, the praying, the singing in the car, the five more minutes at bedtime to spend with a child.

There is so much to do with these little people that God has given me.  There is little time to do it. There is no time to waste.

Instead of wasting my day working on laundry piles that will NEVER go away, I am going to build memories. I am going to create memories that me and my children will hold on to for years to come.