Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birthday Boy!

Okay, I know I said my next post would be more of the Bible Study I am working on but I had to post this. As many of you know, our sweet baby boy celebrated his first birthday on November 2. I can hardly believe it has been a year. I am delayed in posting this because I wanted to wait until my sister sent me the pictures from his party so I could share them with you. I hope you enjoy! Happy Birthday Baby Boy!
(I am sorry-I tried to get the pictures in a proper order and either I am too tired or my computer is intentionally frustrating me and I can not figure it out-at any rate-I am sure you will enjoy my little darlings!)

My three musketeers
(This was supposed to be the last picture-
this is after the party when Brady was actually cleaned of all of the cake mess)
This is the aftermath

He's thinking, "I can't believe Mommy is letting me do this...shhh...don't anyone tell her, she might come and spoil my fun!"


See what a good sharer I am? Want some Sissy?

Showing off!

The face plant

Prezzie time!

Does it get any cuter than this?

Hmmm, I really like this box-what a cool present!

Brady and "Uncle" Shannon (my sister's fiance)

Our sweet Birthday Boy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My One True Desire

I have made a commitment to God, my husband, my family and myself that I wasn't going to go through this study quickly. I am going to take it slow, chew on it, meditate on it, apply it. I want to be real about it. I don't want to say I am going to do something about it and then just stuff in the back corner of my mind for "someday". I want it to be my heart beat that I am to first submit my heart to Christ and die daily, and secondly submit willingly to my husband and serve my family.

Because of that, I am still stuck on the introduction. I'll probably be there for a month! But I have to tell myself that is okay. I am one of those types of people who loves to make lists. And I love even more to mark things off of my list. I guess it gives me a some sense of control and accomplishment. But I don't want to add this study to my to-do list. I want it to BE my to-do list. I want my life to be about this one thing. I know that may sound extreme, but really I am a control freak who needs to let go.

One thing Sunny said in the introduction was to pray for the Holy Spirit's pruning in your life. But you know, I am like just about every other American Christian I know. I like to be comfortable. It doesn't feel good to go deeper because most of the time I don't like what is there and it hurts. I mean, really, really hurts.

My childhood was not the happiest of childhoods and I had huge resentment issues with my parents. I ran away from home on several occasions, was kicked out on probably even more occasions, lived with my grandparents for a time and on and on. It was rocky to say the least. But all of that led me to run away for good when I went to college. I just wanted to get away, far away. Little did I know it was that very decision that would bring me back home.

While at college I became a Christian after reading a required reading assignment from one of my classes. The reading assignment was Ephesians. You can read more about it here. But when I became a Christian I made a deal with God. No, actually it was more than that. I told God what I was NOT going to do. I told Him I was not going to forgive my father. Well, I bet you can guess what God thought of me telling Him what I was going to do (there's that control thing again, rearing it's ugly head).

Little by little, God began to work on my heart. He began to show me who my father was, where he had come from, the hurts he had endured. He opened my heart and eyes to the fact that he was just a single dad trying to do right by me the best way he knew how. Yes, those hurts I experienced were very real, but God took the sting away. And after a couple of years, I finally let all of that go. I mean I really let it go. Sometimes I share things with people if it gives them hope, but the hurt is just not there anymore.

I share all of this to tell another story. Even though I had forgiven my dad we still fought like crazy when we were together. It is true, we just don't see eye to eye on a lot of things. I had just come to the conclusion that I would have to keep putting my heart out there and keep forgiving. I really felt that was what God was asking me to do.

A couple of summers ago my dad and I got into this huge fight. He was here in town and I stormed out, (I am good at running away) taking my kids with me. Rick stayed behind to try to talk to my dad. He was defending me. As I stood outside of the door to my grandparent's house listening to them talk my dad had some not very kind words to say about me to my husband. Oh my, did those words sting. My dad said I was using my kids against him by taking them away and that I was being manipulative. He said he feared for my marriage because of the way I acted sometimes. You know why those words were so incredibly hurtful? Because they were true.

It took me all of about five minutes after we left to realize it and to say to Rick, "I can't just let this go." You see, I come from a family of yellers and I am a reformed yeller myself. It was amazing to me when I met Rick and his family that they didn't scream at each other. He helped to see something better. But my family would fight and scream and yell daily, and then act as if nothing ever happened. But I would hold onto these things on the inside and tear myself up. But this time was different. I decided to put a stop to all of that.

In an unprecedented move, I put down my pride, picked up the phone and called my dad. I told him that his words hurt, that I was an adult and I didn't appreciate being screamed at like that. I have always been very sensitive and for the first time I tried to make him understand how the yelling just hurt. Why couldn't we just talk like normal people? I am not an unreasonable person and usually if someone points out something I did wrong in a gentle way I listen and take it to heart. And I was in the wrong for sure. And you know what my dad said? He said, "I'm sorry". Those are two words I have never heard him say before.

He also said other things. We talked about some of the things that had happened in our past. You see, I had never told him I had forgiven him because I didn't think it was necessary. It was just a work that God had done in my heart and I just loved my dad. All of it was water under the bridge to me. It had been 12 years in the past when some of this stuff had happened. But Dad says to me, "But it's still right here for me, Lisa." Wow. That just broke my heart. I finally saw the forgiveness I needed. And you know what I said? I said, "I'm sorry." I had said it before, but it was different for some reason. I meant it before but I guess I never realized how much I had hurt him. I was a different person back then. That is not an excuse but I guess I figured since Jesus forgave me, then it was taken care of.

My dad said one more thing before he hung up. He said "I love you Lisa." Those were words rarely heard as well. And you know what? We have not had one single fight since that day. God has done something truly amazing. He has opened doors that I considered sealed shut. I had lost hope and faith that things could ever be right.

I share all of this because this is the awesome power of God at work in my life. And I know this is what happens when I submit. But it is so hard. There is so much unspoken hurt that comes to the surface when you allow him access to every little corner of your heart. But there is healing on the other side. And oh how beautiful that is. You walk through fire to get there, but you realize that the fire is what brought the healing. That is God's purifying work in the heart of one who lets go.
Deuteronomy 4: 35-36
35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God;
besides him there is no other.
36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you.
On earth he showed you his great fire,
and you heard his words from out of the fire.
Here is a quote Sunny shares with us in the introduction:
Fran Sciacca:
"A major distinction exists between the ancient marble-crafters and the God of eternity, however. They worked with lifeless stone, and what emerged was the product of their own skill and choice. But God depends upon us to hold His chisel and welcome the blows of His tools. A necessary cooperation exists between the Master and His work. We must submit to become what He so faithfully wills to form. Becoming like Jesus Christ must be at the center of our understanding of what it means to be a child of God on this side of eternity. And like the artisans of old, God's methods necessitate pain, the removal of what we might rely upon, and great amounts of time and patience....There's much within each of us that would implore the Master to quit the work, to let us be content as an unfinished piece. We are frail people living in formidable times. Pain, difficulty, suffering, loss, and rejection are regarded as enemies in our postmodern world. But in the hands of a loving Father, afflictions and difficulties are meant to be the agents of glorious change for those who submit to the work of the Master's hand."

I am not saying that I have mastered this by any means. This is just one example in my life. Too often I am way too prideful and caught up in myself and my own selfish desires to see what I really need. And that is for Him to prune me. So here is my prayer today:

Holy Spirit, prune me, refine me, shape me. Help me to be transformed by the renewing of my mind more and more into the likeness of my Savior. Allow me to submit my heart to your discipline, so I may share in your holiness and righteousness. May my life bear the fruit of your work in my heart. Make this my one true desire. Amen.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coincidence?...I think not

Wow, two times in as many days. I know you are all amazed!

Well, I jumped in, with both feet, to that new Bible Study today. You know the one. The "S" word, remember?

Anyway, today's homework from the introduction to the study has to do with writing some thoughts on a couple of verses Sunny posted, but before I do that I have to back up to yesterday.

One of the things I have committed to doing in order to fully commit to this study is to get up earlier. I did not want the time I spent studying to interfere with my pre-designated family time. While, I realize that ultimately, what I am doing here, has the potential to have an eternal impact on my family and hopefully many generations after me, I know my family needs me fully present at certain times of the day-so earlier rising seemed the best option.

I have to say that 6 am rolls around awfully early for me. But I have made a commitment to an hour a day and I need to be up before Rick and the kids in order to accomplish that. So anyway, I get up yesterday, fairly awake, ready to go. I was seriously pumped. And so I started journaling.

Journaling is something I LOVE to do. Yes, even at 6 am. I wrote out this prayer to God: "Lord, be with me. Search my heart and see me. See if there is anything undesirable there. Make my desire for you. Help me to fight and defeat the schemes of the enemy, who seeks to keep me in the pit. But even there you are. Help me to bring honor and glory to you in my role as wife and mother. You are my King. Amen"

I realized, starting this study, that in order to biblically submit to my dear husband, I had to submit to my dear Lord. I shared in my last post about how incredibly difficult this is for me. Look up "strong-willed" in the dictionary and there you will see my picture. So, that was my prayer to start this journey. Nothing fancy or deeply theological about it. Just an admittance of my great need for help.

From that prayer this thought has been stuck in my head since yesterday morning. "Search my heart Lord." Sometimes I like to memorize little portions of Scripture and keep repeating them to myself throughout the day when my thoughts get off track. For example, when I was overwhelmed with the busyness that is the life of a homeschooler, and I FINALLY recognized that I had lost my focus, I would repeat this to myself. When I got impatient with the kids, there it was again. When I was tempted to argue with my husband...yep, you guessed it, there again. Now don't get the wrong impression. I am not this super-spiritual person who knows all this Scripture and goes around quoting it all day long. No, it is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY the power of the Holy Spirit. God's Word says that it will not return void. What a beautiful truth that is.

I just love it when that happens-when God brings to mind a certain Scripture throughout the day. I will say, that I have learned the hard way, that I should probably listen. (Yeah, my picture is next to hard-headed too). I think that is probably why God feels the need to repeat Himself. And honestly, I never cease to be amazed.

Have you ever read a Scripture during morning devotions and then had the opportunity to speak about it with a friend later? Have you ever thought of a song and then find it playing on the radio as soon as you turn it on? Have you ever had a sermon on a particular passage of Scripture and then you go home and you have en e-mail that talks about it as well? That happens to me ALL the time.

Coincidence?...I think not! (Not that I believe in them anyway).

We have been studying the life of Joseph in our Bible lessons at home. And lo and behold, what do you think the pre-schoolers did for a craft and story a couple of weeks ago. Joseph! Our pastor talked about a "ziggurat" during a service where Madison was with us and that very week one of our assignments was to make one. Talk about experiencing the Word!

Coincidences?...well, you know what I am going to say.

Anyway, imagine my surprise this morning as one of the Scriptures Sunny wanted us to comment on was this:

Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

The exact same Scripture that had been going over and over in my mind yesterday! How cool is that?

Coincidence?...oh no, it's a God-thing!

I am not sure exactly how to answer Sunny's question about how these verses have impacted me and my family. But I can't wait to find out! So these verses have become my prayer for the week and for this study. I know that without some serious self-confrontation that I will not willingly submit my heart to my Lord and to my husband. Instead, I will continue to do what I have always done-look out for my own good, fight to get my way. (Stubborn-that's my picture too.) I want God to expose my sin and discipline me in His righteousness. I want to be God's girl.

Incidentally, here is the second passage we were asked to comment on:

Psalm 19:14
14 May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

I am adding that to my prayer. I love this verse because it is basically saying, I want to glorify you in all I do. When you say the "words of my mouth" (the things you speak) and "meditations of my heart" (the things you think)-that pretty much covers it all. In all I do, I want to please my Lord-even if that means not being pleased myself. I want to put aside myself-strong-will, hard-headedness, stubborness-all of it. I choose to lay it all down for my Lord. After all, look what He laid down for me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Biblical Submission

Now there's a title that will grab your attention!

You know what I am talking about, right ladies? That one word in the Scriptures, that many of us, if we were truly honest with ourselves, would rather it not be there. BUT, you know what? It is, so we have to deal with it. We can try to explain it away. We can pretend it only applied in a certain time. It certainly isn't for us "liberated" women is it?

Sorry, sistas! WRONG-O! Life will not get easier if you just ignore this one little word. So I have decided not to.

(By the way, for all of you guys who read the blog, don't stop reading, remember you are to be submissive as well.)

I used to teach a ladies' Bible Study at my church. In just about every study I did, this word would come up. I always wondered why it was such a stumbling block. Part of it has to do with our culture I think, and the lies Satan would have us believe about who we are supposed to be as women. We don't have to take nothin' from nobody, right? Don't tell me you haven't thought it. I have actually had a strong Christian woman tell me that Paul was a chauvinist for what he wrote about women. Part of it has to do with our own sin nature, whose roots we can trace all the way back to the Garden. We just don't wanna!

I can't tell you how much this perspective breaks my heart. And let me tell you, if there was once a woman with more of a rebellious, independent spirit than me I would be amazed. So I am not speaking as one who does not understand. I do. I know. I have bucked every authority God has placed in my life. My father, my pastor, my government, my husband and my God. I have been there and I am here to say it isn't pretty.

The purpose of this first post on this topic, however, is to guide you to the study I am doing. There is a link on the left side of our blog or you can find it here. The study is being led by a sweet sister in Christ with a passion for directing people, women in particular, to the Word of God and to living lives in passionate devotion and service to Him (at least that is my impression).

But she also tends to be a bit of a slave-driver. Just kidding Sunny! Actually there is homework that goes along with every lesson and one of the assignments is posting an entry on our personal blog about what we are learning and how we are growing as we are journeying (is that a word?) to become biblically submissive women.

So my first assignment is to write a little about myself, how I came to find the blog and why I want to do the study. Is this not the coolest? This is Bible Study the 21st century way (but the message is the same), connected with women around the globe. I mean, is that just not so neat? Who gets opportunities like that on a daily basis, to join hearts and prayers with sisters on the other side of the world, and right next door? Very powerful stuff, but I digress. (Shocking I know).

My name is Lisa. I am an almost 31 year old woman (Yikes!). My wonderful husband is Rick, God's gift to me. We have been married for nearly 8 years and together for about 11. This, in itself, is a miracle. Just ask my dad. I was raised by a single dad and he will tell you that I am an extremely difficult person to live with. You might call me high maintenance. While motherhood has mellowed some of that out of me, my husband does not have it easy. A sad truth? Rumor has it that people were placing bets at our reception on how long our marriage would last. An even sadder reality? I think we have beaten them all! Praise the Lord for His grace and mercy and for a most patient, loyal, faithful and loving husband. Love you sweetie! It's been a wild ride but there is no one I would rather share it with.

I am also a mother of three. We have a 6 year old daughter, a 3 year old son and our second son will be one in less than a month (yikes!). And just to answer the question everyone always asks, yes there will be more little Epsteens. I am a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom. So that pretty much sums up my life.

I am a former Director of Women's Ministries for my church. (Be patient with the website, it's under construction). I share this part of my life not to toot my own horn, but to show how God has been working in my life recently. I LOVE women's ministries. My background is in biblical counseling and I love speaking to, encouraging and teaching women. It is one of my greatest passions. However, as the demands on my schedule have increased with homeschooling and other responsibilities I started to realize that my family was getting my leftovers. Don't get me wrong, I loved my ministry and my church. But after much prayer and seeking the guidance of my husband I realized I had to step down. This was such a hard decision to make, but I have recently come to realize that my primary biblical responsibility and ministry is to my family. Even more important is maybe the realization that that is okay. We stay-at-home moms often struggle to find significance in what we do. But I cannot sacrifice my family for my church. And I know my church does not expect me to. I was very nervous as I turned in my resignation but the outpouring of love and support I received from my church body was overwhelming to say the least.

So my family is my ministry. Husband first, kids second. I cannot really remember how I came to find the study but when I did I knew I wanted to do it, that I needed to do it. I ask that you, our faithful blog-readers, and you, the ladies participating in the study, join me in prayer as I seek to remain faithful to my commitment to complete this study. My deepest hope, sincerest desire and most lofty prayer is that I can become more and more like the One who saved me from my desperate life of sin and bring glory to Him in all that I do. Dirty laundry, poopy diapers and all.

And if you feel so led, won't you consider joining me on this study? If you do, leave me a comment so I can encourage you and be in prayer for you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

You Are Near...

I am so sorry, my blog, for neglecting you...

I have to admit, I love blogging. I love writing, but I especially love reading what others write. I find it hard sometimes to find inspiration for what to write myself because there is just so much good stuff out there. My life seems so ordinary most days. The most excitement I got this week was reading about Abraham during our Bible lessons and hearing my daughter mis-name circumcise as circumstance. Too funny, but I digress.

I apologize to those of you who read our blog and have wondered where we went. But, finally, I am inspired. As many of you know, we have a new
Pastor, as of August 24th. I can not say enough about him or his family. Our church is so very blessed to have them.

Last Sunday, Pastor Troy preached on a topic very near to my heart. It has been a few days so I will try and summarize as my memory will allow. Troy has been preaching a series on the Family, namely God's family. This series is leading up to its conclusion on October 5th, when the
Church of the Nazarene will celebrate its 100th birthday. Each week, Pastor Troy has been asking the questions: who is included in the family? and who is excluded? (I guess you'll just have to come hear him preach if you want to know the answer-seriously, he is a really good preacher!)

This past Sunday he focused on a woman named Rahab. If you don't know much about her you can find her story in
Joshua 2. Basically, Rahab was a woman from Jericho who hid two spies Joshua sent into the land before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River. When the authorities came looking for the two men, Rahab lied and said they had already left. After that, the men promised Rahab that she and her family would be safe when they came back to take over Jericho. They instructed her to gather her family into her home and hang a scarlet cord out of her window. Rahab did as she was instructed and she and her family were spared, as promised.

What is interesting about Rahab is that she was a prostitute. She was not a Jew. She was about as far outside as you can get. Yet, later in the Bible we read even more significant facts about her. First, she is listed in
Hebrews 11, a chapter of the Bible many people refer to as the Hall of Faith. She is listed along with some pretty amazing people-Noah, Abraham, Isaak, Joseph, Moses, David. Need I go on? The writer of Hebrews doesn't mince words either. Make no mistake about it, she was a prostitute. Um, what?

But there's more. James, the brother of Jesus, speaks also of Rahab.
He calls her righteous. And he reminds us that she was a prostitute. As if that is not enough, it gets even better than that. You see, Rahab, it turns out, was the mother of a man named Boaz. Boaz had a son named Obed, Obed had a son named Jesse, and Jesse had a son named David. You remember him right? And remarkably, we see that Rahab is part of Jesus' family tree.

I don't know about you, but I have a few people in my family who I would rather not claim. Some of them may be reading this blog (oh, you know you love me). Really, though, it is nearly unfathomable to think that God, in His great and infinite wisdom, chose this woman, Rahab, a Gentile prostitute, to be a part of the line of Christ. Doesn't that give you hope? Isn't that so amazingly beautiful? God has been in the business of redeeming long before you and I were a glimmer in our parents' eye. In fact, I would venture to say it is one of His favorite things to do.

Rahab was an outsider. There was nothing special about her. She didn't belong. But this woman speaks right to my heart. You see, most of my life I have struggled with this feeling of not belonging. I know, typical middle child, right? I never really fit in at school. I am usually very self-conscious, especially in unfamiliar social settings. I am very different than just about everyone in my family. You could call me a black sheep. Yeah, I am a misfit. So was Rahab.

You know what my favorite verse in all of Scripture is? Well, I am going to quote it for you because I am sure you are on the edge of your seats.

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ." Ephesian 2.13

Is that not the most beautiful thing you have ever heard? I am literally in tears just contemplating how big and amazing and merciful my God is. Now I am near. I once was far (really, really far, probably farther than Rahab), but not anymore. I am not an outsider. I am on the inside. I am near. And you can be too.

Some of you who have heard my story and know me really well, know that Ephesians was what I was reading when I submitted my life to Christ...FINALLY! It remains to this day my favorite book of the Bible. If you want God to knock your socks off with His amazing grace, read Ephesians. Trust me, you will never be the same. I know I sure am not.

For those of you who read this blog and might wonder how you can be on the inside too, please call me or write to me. I would love to share more with you and pray with you. If you don't want to call, just re-read my favorite explains it all. But then call me.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's not about me!

Birthday Girl!

Well, it's official! I have been a mother for six years today. And I have not seriously injured or maimed any of my children. Don't I get some sort of reward for that?

Seriously though, this day is not at all about me, so I thought I would write a post on the top ten things our sweet girl has accomplished in a year's time (no, I am not bragging, just a proud momma-okay maybe I am bragging a little, but I know you will forgive me!). So here goes:

10. Madison is now reading at a 2nd-3rd grade level. She enjoys books of all sorts. She loves to read to Mommy and her little brothers-when they sit still long enough to listen. Her current favorite books are the Little House series of books. She even made her own homemade butter after being inspired by all the work that Laura and Mary had to do. It has actually been a great learning experience for all of us and we have come to appreciate much more all that we have been blessed with.

9. Madison learned how to write in cursive. This was one of her own personal goals for herself this year. Momma wasn't sure if she was ready, but as always she surprised me.

8. Madison lost five teeth this year, including her top two middle teeth. We can't wait for Chrithmuth!

7. Madison finished Kindergarten. And Mommy cried.

6. Madison became a big sister...again. In preparation for the new baby's arrival she took a sibling education class at the hospital which was great fun. And even though we were sure we were having a girl, and Madison said if it was a boy we should give him back to God and ask for a girl, she has been the best big sister to her sweet baby brother. She is quite the "little mommy".

5. Madison learned how to ride a two-wheeler.

4. Madison donated 14 inches of her hair to locks of love. More tears from Mommy, although I must admit it does make getting ready in the morning a breeze.

3. Madison moved up to Mrs. Kohne's Sunday School class. She loves Mrs. Kohne...and Mrs. Kohne's Starburst.

2. Madison experienced true heart-break this year as her best friend moved away to, as Madison calls it, "misery". Translation: Missouri. We miss you Kate!

1. Madison accepted Jesus into her heart this year. This was, of course, the highlight of our year by far. Being raised in the church, Madison had a foundation for faith but it wasn't until this year that we started talking more seriously about what having Christ as her Savior meant. She asked a lot of tough questions. We had Bible Study every morning, which opened up doors for some great conversations with her and once again, Momma was amazed at how much she really understood.

Huh! Who would have thought? Oh yeah, Jesus did, when He said this and this and this. Oh, ye of little faith! I explained to Madison about how to ask Jesus into her heart, about recognizing her sin and seeking forgiveness and repenting and also that it meant that we live for Jesus too. I asked her if she was ready and she said "no". We talked about it almost daily over the course of a couple of weeks. One night we were in the car and talking about it again, and she said, "But I already did that. I asked Jesus into my heart the other night after we talked about it when I was alone in my room." Can you say "awwww"?

Well, after hearing her say that and then telling us all about it and hearing her excitement, I have to admit, I got a little sad. I so had wanted for Rick and I to share that moment with her, to lead her in the prayer of salvation. But true to her character, she did it in her own way. Thankfully, swiftly, the Holy Spirit brought conviction to my heart and helped me to realize, IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!!!!!!!!!

I have a feeling it is a lesson I am going to have to learn many times through many birthdays. Happy Birthday, baby girl, we love you!

Little Colts Fan!

Daddy's Girl

Madison and Brady

Madison- 3 years old
Madison (2 years old) and Noah
Madison and Brady
Her Royal Highness
Sweet Baby (this is her famous touchdown pose)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Where has the time gone?

For those of you that know us you know that this is a big b-day weekend for my little princess. She turns six on Sunday. It seems like only a few weeks have gone by since she was born. She still loves to get and give hugs and kisses to both mom and dad, but I am sure that soon that will be over. I figure that a birthday is a good time to sit back and think about the last year and the strides that she has made. This summer as you know we took the training wheels off of her bike and while she is still not able to go out and ride without help yet that is a big deal around here. She has also lost her two front teeth (five total). She starts first grade this year (on Tuesday) and she has taught me a thing or two already when it comes to her school. She is and will always be daddy's little princess, but when I look at her I think where has the time gone?

A quick little story for some background for this quote (my favorite for at least this week) by Noah. The kids and I where joking around while setting the table for a meal (I think breakfast). Madison asked me how I knew the answer to some question that she made up and I said that, "I have some learning." So Noah always the one to be on his toes says, "I have some learning in my mouth!" Kids say the funniest things don't they?

Brady has been a crawling fool lately and he today stood with the help of a toy shopping cart and then let go of the shopping cart to grab a hold of Lisa. If I am not mistaken this was his first cruise with what I am sure will be more cruising to come. He has also for the second straight night crawled into his room to let us know it was time for him to go to bed - how grown up is that? So again I look at Brady and think where has the time gone?

Well Brady is in bed now and the other two are in heaven with their Winnie (Grandma) across the street at Wal-mart so I am going to go read a little and just think to myself, "Where has the time gone?"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Big girl!

And no, I am not referring to myself!

It's official. The training wheels are off! My baby is growing up!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Windy City

A couple of weekends ago we went to Chicago. Now, this in and of itself, may not come as shocking news. We live close and it is a great place to go, tons of stuff to do for the kids, great places to eat, good shopping (can anyone say IKEA?). Come to think of it I am not sure why we haven't gone sooner.
I have fond memories of Chicago as a kid. I remember the time my dad took me to a Cubs game, just me and him, and then out for some of that famous Chicago pizza afterwards. I remember going to the Museum of Science and Industry on a field trip and me and a friend of mine were able to fit inside one pant leg of William "the Refridgerator" Perry's pants. Fun times.
However, this trip was met with just a little trepidation. We went to meet 20 people we had never met before.
Let me tell you the story.
When I was pregnant with Brady I received weekly e-mail updates from a site called BabyCenter. They kept me up-to-date on everything that was going on with me and baby all throughout my pregnancy. It was so cool to see how my little guy was developing and to receive great advice on all of the fun things I was experiencing. (To read our birth story click here.) Anyway, I noticed one day that on the e-mail it said "Visit your birth board". I had no idea what that meant so I figured I would check it out.
Well, if you have ever been to a message board you know what I am talking about. For the rest of you I will try to explain. The message board was for moms-to-be who were due in November of 2007. I went there and got tons of advice from moms just like me. I had some great girls who went trough GD with me. I got great advice on baby carriers. I also got one thing I didn't expect: some of the best friends I have ever had.
You see, on this message Board was a thread called "Christian Mommies". Figuring I would identify with this group I started reading. I introduced myself (I didn't give too many specifics-you never can be too careful with all the loonies on the Internet these days). Over the next several months of our pregnancies these girls and I became very close. We shared much more than our ever-expanding waistlines. We shared life. We prayed for each other. We laughed and cried together.
When we had our babies we decided to take our board private so that we could share things that we might not want the whole world being able to see. Since then our relationships have only strengthened that much more. We have been there for each other through deaths of loved ones, infidelity, surgeries, illnesses, and more.
We decided about 6 months ago or so that we wanted to meet each other for real. That was the hardest part for us. Many of us are stay at home mothers who crave adult conversation during the day and we have found that in each other. We just knew we had to finally put faces and voices and hugs with the pictures and conversations we have shared.
It was a little trepidating and surreal. But it was also unbelievable to get to hug these women who have been rocks for me over the past year and then some. To pray and cry with them for real. To stay up late and eat junk food and have real conversations. That trepidation wore off after about two seconds. It was like we had all been friends forever, and we just picked up conversations where we left off.
The hardest part was saying good-bye. But we promised it wasn't really good-bye. It was just "see you later".
So, without further ado, I will introduce you to all of my new (old) girlfriends (and most of their husbands and kids who were just dears to come along).

Mommies and Babies (from left: me and Brady, Chana and Maisy, Liz and Jocelyn, Cheryl and Griffin, Kylie and Carson, Brooke and Lauren, Jenny and Evan, and Alyssa and Riley)

Some of the kids in downtown Chicago-Millenium Park

(from left: Graham, Griffin, Evan, Brady, Madison, and Noah)

Everybody at Lincoln Park Zoo

Holy babies, Bat Man!

We are already planning our trip for next year. The group picture with a bunch of wriggly toddlers should be loads of fun! But, I wouldn't miss it for the world!

All I Want for Christmas...


Monday, August 4, 2008

Comic Relief: A Good Reason to Have Kids

I was playing baseball with Noah earlier-yes, inside. He had his "mitt" (actually an oven mitt) on the right hand and the ball in his left. I told him to switch since he is right-handed and this is the conversation that ensued:

Noah: I'm right handed?

Me: uh-huh

Noah: Is sissy wrong handed?


(For the uninitiated ROFL=rolling on the floor laughing!)
Kids just say the darndest things!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Whole Nine Months

Today is Brady's nine month birthday. That is absolutely unbelievable. Today he has been out as long as he was in. When you are pregnant it is like time stands still. The waiting is unceasing. Then they are here and it goes so fast. Happy Birthday baby boy! We love you!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Well, it has finally happened. Not too bad for almost six years of parenting!

Actually, I say that to assuage my guilt for feeling like the world's most horrible mother. Our first major boo-boo happened yesterday. What can I say? My boy is, well, a boy.
We have this particular table in our house. It is designed as a coffee table but it is also a trunk in which we store toys to keep them out of the way for when visitors visit. Anyway, the top has been broken on it for a while now. Actually, it was broken and then it was fixed and then it was broken again. We did not have the right hinges and supports on it to keep it from slamming shut on little fingers so we decided to take the top of until we could get the repairs made. Meanwhile, the top to the table is sitting on the floor.
Those of you who know my kids, or any kids for that matter, know that it does not matter how many wonderful toys a child has, they will always find a way to play with whatever is not intended to be played with. In this case, the table top. I cannot tell you how many times I have said, "Noah, don't play on the table top" over the past week.
First, we had it standing on end, resting on the table. Well, Noah decided that looked like a fun slide. Not too smart on my part I suppose. So I laid it on the floor under the table. Part of it was still sticking out however and apparently it looked like a good ice rink. So Noah dons dad's shoes, walks over to the table to try to play on the top and proceeds to trip over the shoes and fall face first into the side of the coffee table. Our coffee table is a rectangle. And wood. And hard. Not a good combination.
I was sitting right there and I was able to get to him immediately. Then I learned something about myself. I do not handle crisis well. His nose immediately swelled up and did not "look" right. And I went into frantic mom mode.
Madison got the ice. I got the phone. Daddy got the doctor's bill.
Actually, she said it is possible it was not broken. She did not do an X-ray because there was nothing they could do for it anyway, unless it was displaced, which was thankfully not the case. We have been icing it up and loving on our boy. And he is still all boy. It was about two seconds before he was off to torment his sister again.
Ahhh, the joys of motherhood!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm it...apparently

I never was good at tag. I am way too slow. But, I have been tagged by my friend Cheryl so here goes:

The Rules: Answer the questions using only one word.
Then tag four others.

1. Where is your cell phone? charger
2. Your significant other? cute
3. Your hair? ponytail
4. Your mother? crazy
5. Your father? Florida
6. Your favorite thing? kids
7. Your dream last night? forgot
8 Your favorite drink? water
9. Your dream/goal? weight
10. The room you’re in? living
11. Your hobby? reading
12. Your fear? kids
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home
14. What you’re not? quiet
15. Muffins? chocchip (that’s one word isn’t it?)
16. One of your wish list items? basement
17. Where you grew up? Indiana
18. The last thing you did? diaper
19. What are you wearing? clothes
20. Favorite gadget? computer
21. Your pets? none
22. Your computer? Dell
23. Your mood? tired
24. Missing someone? Papaw
25. Your car? mini-van
26. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
27. Favorite store? Target
28. Like someone? lots
29. Your favorite color? red
30. When is the last time you laughed? morning
31. Last time you cried? ???

eeney, meeney, miney, moe....
...I'm tagging Rick, Alyssa, Brooke, Denise

(sorry guys-I don't know too many bloggers-you can blame Cheryl ;)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Still here...

Sorry, we have been neglecting the blog for a couple of weeks. Let's see if I can catch you up to date on what has happened since our last post.

1) Happy Birthday to Rick! He turned 31 on June 23. He got the great privilege of getting to go see Kung Fu Panda for his birthday-lucky guy!

2) We were all very involved in our church's VBS that same week (6-23 thru 6-27). Madison got to move up this year since she graduated kindergarten (YAY!) and Noah got to go for the first time. This year's theme was Power Lab and it was all about the Power that Jesus gives us. They learned that Jesus gives us the power to be thankful, to help others, to be brave, to live forever, and to tell others about God. At which point if they saw me writing this they would shout very loudly "Eureka"! (That is what they had to do every time they heard the Bible point). Anyway, they didn't quite get it because they say "Hooreeka"! I think it is a cross between Hooray! and Eureka!

Rick and I were crew leaders for the older kids and we had lots of fun being big goofs as well. I love VBS because it is the one time of year that Rick and I get to do ministry together and it was so much fun and we had an awesome group of kids as well. A total of 9 kids came to know Christ that week. Hooreeka!

3) I have been in the throes of planning this upcoming school year's curriculum which has been occupying most of my time. And there you have it-my excuse for not staying on top of the blog. Anyway, I am just about done, just have to narrow it down a little and then go about buying it-which is much easier said then done when you are cheap like me and have to look at ten different places to find the best price. I am planning on posting the curriculum when we are done so you can all see what Madison and Noah will be learning this year.

4) Brady has received four teeth, and they all came in the same week. Yeah, that was lots of fun! But that grin is worth the sleepless nights. Now he is working on crawling. He gets on his hands and knees and scoots backwards and gets quite frustrated by the fact that he is moving further away from whatever it is in front of him that he is trying to get. My little boy is growing up!

5) Okay, I have another excuse. As most of you know, this past year we began homeschooling. While we had tons of fun and I loved it, there were times when I felt incredibly lonely. I am pretty social and it was hard to be home all the time and have to start saying "no" to more and more things. There are many churches in the area that have many homeschooling families who attend but ours is not one of them, so I decided I needed to come up with a way to meet some other homeschooling moms so I could get some support. So when I got the homeschooling newsletter in the mail I was excited to see a request for help with our annual Open House. I jumped at the chance, figuring it would be a great opportunity to interact with other homeschoolers. It is the largest and most well-attended annual event in our area. However, there is a LOT of planning involved. My goodness! I am very excited about all of it as I have had fun communicating with various exhibitors and workshop leaders. My responsibilities include making reservations for all the exhibitors, developing and finding speakers for various workshops, and community marketing. The event is August 7, so needless to say, I have been a little busy recently.

6) And last but not least, drumroll please, we have a new pastor! Thanks to all of you who were praying for this. I am very excited that Pastor Troy Hochstetler, his wife Shari and their daughter Kyla will be coming to serve at our church on August 24th. There is a link a few posts back where you can go to listen to his sermons-he is very good at what he does. This is a very exciting time for our church. I am on the church board again this year so I am looking forward to working with him and getting to know him and his family better.

Well, that's about all I can think of for an update right now. We will try to do better-we promise!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Father's Day holds a special meaning for me. It reminds me of the times that I have spent with my grandfather Gene. He has had the biggest impact on my growth from a boy to a man. When I grew up I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I remember almost everyday during the summer once he got home from work we would grab our gloves and go outside behind their house and he would hit baseballs to me. He would hit some at me to start with and then once my arm was warm he would run me all over the yard with pop-flies and grounders. And in the fall we would go out back and throw the football around. Anyway, he was always there for my games. No matter what sport or what the weather was he would always be there. I am not sure if I ever told him just how special he is to me. Even in school after I was informed that I was LD (learning disabled) he never let me fall back on that and use it as a crutch. He made sure that I knew how smart I was but he he also made sure that I pushed myself. Even now after Lisa and the kids the next person that I what to make sure that I do not disappoint is my Grandfather, Gene.

Another person that has meant lot to me is my dad, Joe. He is my step-dad, but who would ever be able to guess that with the love and attention that he has put into our relationship. He is a great husband to my mom and a great dad to myself and my brother Dylan. What I think that I will always remember most about my dad is that he is a fighter. I don't mean that he would hit us or anything, but he is a fighter (after all he is married to my mom, sorry mom). I remember several years back I was at a friend's house watching TV and stuff. I got a call from my mom. She sounded like she had been crying which was out of the norm for her. She explained that Joe had been diagnosed with skin cancer that had spread. The doctors gave him very little time to live. If I remember correctly it was like a 12% chance to live two - five years. That night I did not go home but I did cry myself to sleep. I have never been good with bad news or situations (just ask Lisa), so while my dad spent a long time in different hospitals I think that I saw him twice. It was not that I did not want to see him or that I did not have time for him, but I guess that I thought that the less time I spent with him then his situation would not be real and he would be okay. After he was transferred back to a hospital in Lafayette I went to see him one day and we talked for about an hour. Even though I did not want to go I did and it was worth it. I remember later my mom telling me how much that meant to him that I went to see him.

The next time my mom called with the same tone as that night. It was to tell me of my dad's heart attack. He had been out mowing their yard when he felt weird. He has told me since that he knew what was happening to him. He put the mower away and called 911. While they were on their way to get him he put the dogs away and unlocked the door so that they could come right in and take care of him. He said that he put the mower away and the dogs up so that my mom would not have to do that later (what a guy, he is having a heart attack and he is thinking about making sure that my mom or brother do not have to do any more work). My mom told me that as he was getting on the life line shuttle to the heart hospital that he told her that he did not think that he would survive this. So she promptly told him that, "you better make it through or I will kill you." Well he is still alive today. What did I tell you - a fighter.

I could go on and on with stories about both my dad and my grandfather (for those of you that know me know that he is my Gene, and that I have never said grandfather this many times ever). But now that I have kids of my own I worry. If I could ever be even a quarter of the people that Gene or Joe are then my kids will be truly blessed. But I worry that instead of these two real men in my life that I will be more like my real father. As you see I have no stories of him. Not even a little joke to let you know a little about him. This is because I have never met him. And the fact that I have his dna in me scares me. I see my kids growing so fast even Brady. Lisa tells me that I am here with them and for them and this already makes me a better dad than my biological father. So here I sit with two earthly examples of a good dad and the greatest example of all our heavenly Father, but I still feel uneasy. I do know that this Father's day that I am truly blessed, I have three kids that seem to hang on my every word. How much more could I ask for? To all the dads out there happy Father's day. I hope that your live is as full and blessed as mine.

And to our Father in heaven, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Man

Well, today has been a tough day for our family. Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of my beloved grandfather, Edward Brady. I still miss him so badly it is painful at times. So much so that it is a struggle to breathe. I dream of him frequently and talk of him with my children almost daily. My grandfather was the epitome of strength. He never disappointed me. NEVER! I mean, seriously, how many people can you say that about in a lifetime? There is so much more I could write as my head is swarming with a lifetime of memories right now. But all I can really do is share a couple of pictures. My grandfather didn't like to have his picture taken very often, but when you did catch him you could usually see him there-his mischievousness, his love for life and family. He knew what was important. And so I share him with you. You're the man, Papaw! Oh how I miss you.

Papaw and Madison (4 days old)-well, Papaw may have been a little older here!

One of Madison's favorite spots!

Papaw's Kids

Papaw spoiling his kids-out for breakfast at IHOP-or as Noah calls it "My Hop"

Come on, all together now, awwwww!!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"Fascinatin' Epsteens"

Hi all! When we started this blog a couple of months ago, the purpose was to keep friends and family informed as to what is going on in our lives. My sister and I always joke about how there is very little "drama" in my life. And I like it that way. But, because of that fact, I often have trouble coming up with things to write.

Rick and I get Netflix and we have recently been watching past episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. Somewhere in the first season there is an episode called "Fascinatin' Debra". It is a funny episode (duh!) where Debra calls into a talk radio psychologist who is so interested in her that she later calls and asks if she can come to their home for a personal interview. When she gets there, she is of course, not only greeted by Debra, but her quirky husband and crazy in-laws. Debra ends up getting upset because they basically steal her limelight and she thinks she is boring.

Well, some may look at my life and consider it mundane and boring. I wake up everyday-usually to the sounds of a baby crying or someone calling "Mommy" in the far reaches of our house. I make breakfast and am faced with such life-altering decisions as cereal or pancakes? Milk or juice? Do I get dressed or stay in my pajamas? Like, I said, very little drama. Next comes our morning activities, which include Bible study, playing Chutes and Ladders and Barbies, and maybe watching a movie or playing outside. Then again for lunch I must decide peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and jelly (we like peanut butter here). Then it is time for naps and we all lay down. Even I get the chance to catch some Zzzs every once in a while if there isn't too much laundry to fold or a floor to mop or an e-mail to write. Stick with me here, it will get much more exciting soon. After nap, there is usually a poopy diaper that needs changing and a nose that needs wiping and a dinner that needs cooking. I live quite the glamorous life you know.

Maybe you got the point from my last post that I have been contemplating my blessings lately. Well, a friend of mine recently posted a link on her blog that made me think a little more about this life I lead. Here's the link This is a blog written by Angie Smith, who is wife of Todd Smith who sings for Selah. For those of you who do not know their story you can check out their blog. It is the story of the pregnancy, birth, and loss of their darling baby girl. Within the last couple of weeks, Angie's sister-in-law Nicol, went to check on her two-month old son to find him not breathing. The tears were freely flowing as I read their heart-wrenching stories. As I was reading, I just had to fall on my knees last night in prayer to my God. I had to thank him for my three little blessings, and my one in heaven. Read the blog. I am sure you will be moved to tears with me and probably take a moment to question whether you are appreciating your blessings or complaining about them.

Last night, after reading the blog, I went upstairs and hugged and kissed each of my children. I called my husband who was working to tell him good-night. As I settled down in bed (at about 2 am), my youngest awoke and proceeded to scream for the next two hours. This is very uncharacteristic. I finally got him back to sleep and my middle child awoke calling for Daddy. Normally, I would have been annoyed or angry. But not last night. Instead, I went to bed at 4 am, praising God for a night filled with crying babies. I know there are some mothers out there who long to hear their babies' cries. So, here I am praising God for my blessing tonight. And my mundane life. No, it's not glamorous. But it is glorious. No, it's not dramatic. But it is divine. And it is mine. I know I don't deserve it but I praise God for it. So, if you are reading this, I encourage you to stop and get on your knees and praise the God who made you for your blessings which He freely gives. He wants your praise. That's what He made you for. He gives you these blessings so you will see Him and turn your heart to Him and praise Him for who He is and what He has done. I am not whining about a blessing anymore. I choose to praise Him! Won't you join me?

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Waaaa, Waaaa, Waaaaa!!!!!!!

I haven't written a "real" post in a while so I thought I would hop on here and share what I have been thinking about lately.

Confession time: I am a whiner! I mean, no kidding, I could make a career out of whining I do it so well.

Like most parents, we try hard to teach our children valuable life lessons. We look for teachable moments where we can help our kids see God in real and tangible ways. One of the things we have noticed our kids doing (like all children are prone to do) is complaining. And oh how it irks me! It especially gets under my skin when we are out doing something fun and they are complaining. Here's how a typical conversation may go.

Mom: We are going out for dinner tonight.
Child # 1: I want to go to McDonald's.
Dad: Sorry, we have already decided we are going to Chick-fil-A
Child #1: Waa, waa, waa, I want to go to McDonald's.
Child #2: Waa, waa, waa, I want to go to Don Pablo's.
Child #3: Waa, waa, waa.
(Okay-he has an excuse, he's allowed to whine at 7 months).
Mom: Are you whining about a blessing?

Are you whining about a blessing? That question usually straightens them out. If not we will remind them that we can stay at home and eat peanut butter and jelly.

A similar scenario happened today. One of my dear friends got married today and we went to her wedding. She was so beautiful and the day was just gorgeous. But on the way home I heard "waaa, waaa, waaa, I'm hot". Now before you go criticizing me for being an insensitive mother consider this: if it is cold, if it is snowing, if it is raining, if it is windy, if it is foggy, if it is sunny, if it is cloudy, if it is dark, my children will complain about it. I was at my wits end with the whining today, so being the mature 30 year old that I am, I asked them if we could find anything else to complain about and began whining right along with them. That was actually rather effective as well, as they were so humored by mommy's whining that they forgot that they were hot. In fact, child # 2 said, "Mommy, you're not supposed to whine."

Are you whining about a blessing? We have all heard the saying, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", right? Well, as I have been particularly convicted about my own whining lately, I really wish my children were not imitating me in this area. But after looking at my heart, I know they are. I set the example and the tone in our household. And I am a whiner! Waa, waa, waa!

This was really brought to my attention most recently with our vacation to Florida. My husband hinted at this a couple of posts back but didn't share the whole story. I will spare you the details and will just give you the highlights.
#1-we missed our first flight-wa!
#2-we missed our second flight-waa!
#3-we got on the third flight but it was a really small plane and we couldn't all sit togehter-waaa!
#4-we got separated at O'hare-waaaa!
#5-I flew by myself with 3 kids (thank goodness they are angels!)-waaaaaa!
#6-My darling husband, flew first class by himself, eating chilled salmon, warmed nuts, and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies-waaa-aaaaaaa-waaaaaa!!!!
#7-we spent an entire day (and $1300) in the ER-wawawa!!!!!
#8-we didn't get to go to the beach-WWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

You can hear it now can't you? Well, my parents (who were housing us for free) did. And my husband (who was on his first vacation in three years because he works two jobs so I can be at home) did.

Most devastating of all? God did. Are you whining about a blessing? You are on vacation with the family with which I have blessed you. Are you whining about a blessing? You are in beautiful Fort Myers. Are you whining about a blessing? I have provided the means for you to be here and for you to relax and rest because I love you and know you need it. Are you whining about a blessing? You have wonderful parents who are willing to take care of these precious little ones I have given you so that you can enjoy the husband I have given you. Are you whining about a blessing? See I am giving you beautiful weather and you are in the water every day. Are you whining about a blessing? You have not had to cook or clean for an entire week. Are you whining about a blessing?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5. 16-18
Do everything without complaining or arguing. Philippians 2.14 (ouch)
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100.4-5
We had a great time on our vacation and enjoyed each other immensely. After the crazy day at the airport just trying to get there we were all very pooped. I slept soundly but was awake for some unknown reason at 6:30 am the first day of our vacation. Then I put my glasses on and walked out to my parent's lanai which overlooks the pond and what did I see but the most beautiful sunrise. I woke Rick up and we just sat there together marveling at the beauty of our great big God. And you didn't hear me complaining!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


That prospective pastor I was talking about??? Well, he just agreed to be called to be our new senior pastor! So cool! We will have a vote in a couple of weeks, so please be praying for our church.

Click here to hear him preach: (Troy Hochstetler)


A couple of Sundays ago, we had a guest pastor speak at our church. For those of you who don't know, we have been without a pastor since last August and we have FINALLY gotten to the point in our search process that we have started interviewing prospective pastors. Well, two weeks ago we heard the first candidate preach. He preached a great sermon out of Genesis 22 where Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his only son Issac. He also referenced back to when God fulfilled His promise to Abraham to give him a son. He had a lot of us laughing hysterically as he made the comment, "They were so OLD!" Maybe you had to be there, but he said it in such a way that it was so funny. Then he painted a picture for us of how laughable it really was. Abraham was 99 and Sarah was 89. And it was so humorous to them, that what did they decide to name their son, but Isaac, which literally means laughter in Hebrew. Now, you may have thought that this was going to be some deeply, well-thought out post about the significance of Abraham's faith or something of that sort. Well, I am not feeling that deep this morning. However, I do love to laugh. I mean, is it not one of the greatest feelings when you are laughing so hard your stomach hurts (hey, it's one way to work out those muscles right?). I love inside jokes. I love contagious laughter. I love to hear my kids giggle when they think no one is around. Pure joy! There is nothing quite like it. Well, I am going to share some laughter with you this morning. Enjoy!

Oh yeah, by the way, that last post of my darling husband's was pretty laughable too. Those of you who know me even a little bit know what I am talking about. But, he sure is sweet ain't he?

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I have the best wife in the world. I know that most husbands think that they have the best wife, and while I am sure all are wonderful they are indeed not the best. I truly get reminded of this fact everyday. Here is a little of what I am talking about. Two weeks ago yesterday my family was going on our first full family vacation in at least two years if not longer. I will spare you the details of flight delays and what not, but we were halfway through our flights and in Chicago. The flight to Ft Myers only had three seats left so Lisa and the kids jumped on the plane and flew down with a promise that once I got there that she would pick me up. While I know that our kids have some kind of sleep gene when it comes to flying, I am sure that flying with three children all five and under is not what she had in mind. Mean while after my exhausting flight to Miami in first class I got to Fort Myers where as promised Lisa was waiting on me (Those that had heard the story about the flight know what a great time I had in first class).

The next day was a great day except for the fact that I forgot that it was Sunday and thus Mother's day! (Guys please once you have kids never forget Mother's day!!!) Lisa was very nice about the fact that I was (and still am) the biggest dope on the face of the planet with no Mother's day anything for her. Then skip forward to this weekend (we will skip all the dumb things that I did this week). I slept most of the day Saturday since I had worked the night before. There was a party for a good friend of ours that is getting married very soon (next Saturday) and she set things up so that I could go. After the dinner part of the party I needed to leave to get back home see the family for a couple of seconds and get ready for work. Now I will tell you that every time my wife goes out to eat without me she always asks if she can bring anything home for me. With that in mind and the fact that she has had our crazy kids all day to herself since I slept I never thought about asking if I could get her anything from the restaurant. Again she was very (and I mean very) nice about this thoughtless act on my part. Now if you know us very well you know that, again, I am the biggest dummy around and the fact that she puts up with me makes her the best wife ever. Now I could go on and tell you more stories about times that I have been dumb but that would just take up too much time so I will close this thought by saying that she is the best mother to our three little ones as well. The reason that our children are so nice and polite goes no further than Lisa. In addition Lisa has taught me that reading things other then the sports page can be fun and exciting. She has opened the world up to me to explore, and I hope that she will let me explore with her. I am truly blessed to be able to call her my wife and best friend.

Other thoughts since my last blog a long time ago. One I am still working on deepness in my relationships. In fact the number of relationships that have gone deeper than when I last wrote about going deep is zero. sometimes I think that maybe I need to be less of a dummy first, but that will take a bunch of time. Also, one of the things that I realized on vacation was that it seems to me that a lot of people that work hard to have the finest things often do not get to enjoy them. While on vacation a couple weeks ago we stayed at Lisa's parents condo. It is a very nice area and has a golf course, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Now I can probably count on one had the number of people that swam the entire week we were at the pool (which was just about everyday). As you drive through the community you see beautiful homes but seemed to me that everyone was so hard working to pay for these houses that they did not get to enjoy them. Others things that I kept thinking about writing about have slipped my mind (and yes I am writing at 3am again so sorry if I ramble). So with that I will say TTFN and I will write again soon. Thank you again for reading this.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

How Time Flies!

OH BABY!!! I can hardly believe it; our little guy is six months old already! My how time flies! I can seriously just sit and watch him grow. He is truly a miracle. Though the smallest of all of our precious ones (at a whopping 8 lbs. 6 oz.) he is now the biggest, weighing in at almost 22 pounds. Our doc says there is no chart for a kid like this. He is one big boy! It is amazing to see all of the things he can do now. He is sitting and drooling and babbling and laughing and squealing. He says "mama" but usually only when he is displeased with something I have done-or not done. And what a smile-he will melt your heart in an instant!
If anyone wonders if miracles really do happen just look at that face. My pregnancy was a little scary this time around. Diagnosed with gestational diabetes at about 26 weeks, despite my best efforts to control things with diet, I became insulin dependent and was giving myself shots in the stomach three times a day. I was losing weight the entire pregnancy-a fact that did not make my doctor all too happy. I was in the hospital because of decreased fetal movement and while there I was having some pretty hard contractions. I amazed the nurses when I assured them I was not in labor (these contractions were an every day occurrence for me)-they appeared a lot harder on the monitors than what I felt. If only it would be that easy. I had to have weekly non-stress tests to monitor baby's progress. I had to have regular visits with my nutritionist and endocrinologist. During one of my visits to the hospital we were given a tour of the NICU, where we were told our baby would spend his first few hours of life. All in all it was a pretty stressful time. But oh God is faithful and oh so good! For just look into the eyes of my boy and you will know that He is real! I love you my baby boy and I praise the Lord daily for the gift of your life. Lord, please give us wisdom to raise this son to know and love you all the days of his life.