Friday, November 09, 2012

And Love Some More

Whew, so how about that election? That sure brought the crazies out, didn't it? I'm not sure why people think angrily blasting their opinions on Facebook will win people over, but there you go. To me, it becomes less about the candidates or even the issues and more of a "I'm right and you're wrong."

When I was thinking about writing this post, I was incredibly frustrated and even angry. In a round about way, I found a status of someone that I'm no longer "friends" with that professes to be a Christian and a preacher too. The status was about the two candidates and quite frankly was incredibly racist. I was horrified and my initial reaction was to fire back a response, but I didn't. I've been trying to work on opening conversations with people, but I've tried before with this person and it just became a spitting match. I then thought about posting a scathing status myself, but that's not really appropriate either. So lucky reader, you get my thoughts.

I know I've mentioned before that I'm studying and slowly reading the New Testament to establish my own belief system. I've also been reading the history of the times and how the scriptures relate to what's happening. I've been wanting to write my thoughts but like any good English major, I've wanted to conduct research and check things before putting my thoughts to paper. Let's be honest though, the chances of me having time for all that and the energy are slim, so here are my initial observations. Actually, it's mainly just one: love.

Everything comes from love.

John 3:16 - For God so Loved the world . . .

John 13:34 - A new commandment I give to you, that you Love one anoher . . .

Galations 5:22 - But the fruit of the Spirit is Love . . .

Romans 13:9-10 - For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

I Corithians 13 - But the greatest of these is Love.

I John 4:7 - God is Love

In the New International Version of the New Testament, the word love appears 232 times. You know how many times hell is mentioned? Roughly 23. And some of those appear to refer to a physical place in Jerusalem that was the city dump. The area was always on fire.

I don't know about you, but 232 seems a little bigger than 23. And consistently, the scriptures refer to Love as the greatest, the most important, the first, etc. First and foremost, this is how you are to act. You are to love those around you, so they know you are of Me (God).

I am so tired of the phrase Love the sinner, hate the sin. If you love someone, truly, you don't treat them that way regardless of the sin. I love my children, I would not say the things that are being said about fellow humans to my children. I love my friends, we may disagree, but I would never attack them the way some of our fellow humans are being attacked. It is amazing we are able to bring any of the lost to Jesus the way some of these "Christians" are acting. Here's the thing, folks, we are ALL sinners. All fall short of the glory of God. My sin of over indulging on food, or alcohol, or gossip is no better than this or that person's sin of gambling or promescuity or lying.

We need to come together and say, hey, maybe this other stuff doesn't matter so much; we should all strive to take care of the "least of these". The people who don't have fresh water, the children without families, the families without homes. The people who need our help. Let's focus our attentions on that for a while.

There's a part in a Casting Crowns' song that says, "They're on the way to You, but they're stumbling over me." Let's show the love of Jesus and let God worry about the rest.

Monday, November 05, 2012


Peyton and I have been at odds this past week. I tend to have the emotions of a straight line, where he is definitely a zig-zag. At times, it can be very difficult for me to handle the ups and downs of his personality. The extremes drive me nuts and it seemed to be really bad last week.

It becomes a vicious cycle where he will act out seeking attention and because of his behavior, all I want to do is send him from the room. So then the cycle begins again. I can see this and when he's not around, I'll build a resolve to stop it, but then he'll walk in the room acting crazy, and I'll just send him away.

Also, he and Shey have just been mean to each other lately and I've been at a loss as what to do. Then a stroke of brilliance hit. Love.

Love has been on my mind these past few months. Isn't that what it all boils down too? If we are always motivated by love, the choices become clear. In times of frustration, I need extra love to see me through. It's hard to stay aggravated when hugging someone.

And so my idea. Whenever the boys are frustrating me, I'm going to "wrap them in love." literally. I've tried it a few times, and they always start laughing and the situation is somewhat diffused. Even this morning, on the way to the car, the name calling started. I felt myself tense, getting ready to scold, but instead I called Peyton to me and Shey started laughing. I threw my arms around him, squeezed tight and told him I loved him.

I know it won't solve all the problems, but if we start in a place of love rather than anger, I know it will make a difference.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mama Tew

I don't remember the exact date, Elizabeth was only a couple of months old and I had flown with all three kids to visit my parents before school started. As customary, I made the drive north to Alabaster to visit my best friend and let our kids play together for the day. Funny, Peyton and David, although only seeing each other maybe once a year, have formed a bond and friendship that I hope will span their lifetimes just like ours, and Peyton looks forward to these visits as much as I do.

On the day we were set to visit, Tamara had an obligation arise, so Pat came up to visit with me and help watch the kids. I can't say anything spectacular happened that day, there was no feeling of the impending loss that would occur less than a year later, or deep philosophical conversations about anything in particular. Mainly, we sat on the couch together chatting. Pat cooed over Elizabeth, we both fussed at Tamara, even though she wasn't there to defend herself, about the state of the kids' rooms and we folded laundry.

Pat had been intwined in my life since second grade as my best friend's mom, but this was the first time we had spent a significant amount time together as adults. She was a little short of breath, but that was the only indication of the battle she was enduring. Just a normal day, but now one that is forever seared in my memory.

At one point, Madalyn wanted to follow the boys around the neighborhood, but Pat wouldn't let her go. She impressed upon me that I had to watch over Elizabeth more protectively since she was a girl. I can still picture Madalyn leaning into her as Pat played with her hair.

Eventually, Tamara returned and I packed up my three kids to head home. To be honest, I couldn't help when I first arrived to be a little annoyed that I wouldn't get the hours I craved to gab with my best friend, but by the end of the day, I found I had quite enjoyed myself and as Tamara often mentions, the peace that Pat exuded.

Today, Pat would have celebrated her 66th birthday, much too young to be taken from us. I know though, she's there, praying for her family and friends, cheering them on and probably still fussing over the state of her grandchildren's rooms. I love you, Mama Tew!

Monday, October 22, 2012

According to Pi

I'm currently reading "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel and I had to share this passage. Pi is a Hindu boy and early in the novel, he comes across a Catholic priest. Pi had no understanding of Christianity, so the Father explains the story of Jesus and the following are some of Pi's thoughts. It's a little long, but I love the pure, unencumbered train of thought.

" That a god should put up with adversary, I could understand. The gods of Hinduism face their fair share of thieves, bullies, kidnappers and usurpers. . . . But humiliation? Death? I couldn't imagine Lord Krishna consenting to be stripped naked, whipped, mocked, dragged through the streets and, to top it off, crucified - and at the hands of mere humans to boot. I'd never heard of a Hindu god dying . ..divinity should not be blighted by death. It's wrong. ... Why would God wish that upon Himself? Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect?

Love. That was Father Martin's answer.

. . .

This Son, on the other hand, who goes hungry, who suffers from thirst, who gets tired, who is sad, who is anxious, who is heckled and harassed, who has to put up with followers who don't get it and opponents who don't respect him- what kind of god is that?

. . .

This Son is a god who spent most of his time telling stories, talking. This son is a god who walked, a pedestrian god- and in a hot place, at that- with a stride like any human stride ... This son is a god who died in three hours, with moans, gasps and laments. What is there to inspire in this Son?


I couldn't get him out of my head. Still can't. I spent three solid days thinking about him. The more he bothered me, the less I could forget him. And the more I learned about him, the less I wanted to leave him."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Month Eighteen

Dear Boo,

Today you turn 18 months. Oh the time, she is flying. When I look at your little toddler body, it's hard to remember my sweet, tiny newborn, so new and defenseless. You've turned into quite the stinker. Very opinionated and mischievous. Already when I tell you no, you cut those big, brown eyes my way and try it again just to see what I'll do.

Sunday, you decided you'd had enough of the crib, so you climbed out. I lowered the mattress another knotch and you climbed out again. I mean, really, isn't 18 months too young to be making such big decisions. Needless to say, the past few days have been a little rough in the sleeping department. Right now, you're asleep on your floor, but you've been lying there an hour and a half, so I'm not complaining. Be thankful you won't wake with the aches and pains of a 35 yr old body!

You are absolutely fearless, my baby girl. Transversing the playground equipment like kids twice your age, flinging yourself down slides and climbing up ladders. You scare me sometimes, but it also makes me proud. No one will get in your way. The world is yours.

You're starting to "talk" more and more and you are so earnest with your stories that I know once the right words come, your brothers will have a hard time getting a word in edgewise. You already like bossing them around and beating them up.

I love you, My wild child. I could never imagined how wonderful life would be at home taking care of you.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Father, Forgive Them

Tenth Avenue North has a relatively new song out titled "Losing." One of the main refrains is "Father, Forgive them. They don't know what they've been doing." I really like the song and that one line led me to think about where those words come from, some of Jesus' last before He died on the cross. The phrase really got stuck in my head, and I decided I wanted to look into it deeper.

Interestingly enough, Luke offers the only account of Jesus' words and my Bible's footnote states that some early manuscripts do not contain the sentence at all. Then I looked into the situation, according to Luke, Jesus was on the cross at the time and from what I read, I assume he's talking to the very people who put him there. As an aside, Luke is also the only account of Jesus forgiving the criminal hanging to his side.

I've heard this phrase all my life, we even sang a song with it in chorus, but I don't think I've ever really thought about the implications. Yes, I was taught that Jesus forgave them, but it was almost too glossed over. Really think about it for a minute, Jesus asked for their forgiveness, even though he stated they didn't know what they were doing. There was no call for repentance. There was no baptism. There wasn't a prayer asking Jesus into their hearts. Just forgiveness.

I'm not even sure where I can lead with this, for now it's just blowing my mind that forgiveness was given without any hoops being jumped through.

At this point in my life as I read through the Bible as an adult and with fresh eyes, I see a Gospel of Grace and Love, not rules and burdens. If Jesus offered forgiveness to the very people who were killing him, how much moreso will he bless those acting in love towards their neighbors?

Obviously, I'm not saying this give us free reign to go and do as we please, just something to think about when we run across people who claim you have to do x, y and z to get into Heaven. We have to remember there is no doing on our part, it's a gift and when we truly appreciate the gift, then we can respond to others with the same love.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Here and Now

It's been so long since I've sat down to write. Blog post or anything else for that matter, that I'm not sure I remember how. Where to begin . . .

To put it bluntly, this year has sucked. Big time. As good as last year was for me, this year has been ten times worse, emotionally. Every time I think I'm coming to the surface for air, something else grabs my foot and pulls me under the waves again. I've been sewing a lot and I started back exercising over a month ago in an effort to improve my mood, between those two activities and taking care of the family and somewhat cleaning the house, little time is left for anything else. (I have to interject here that Elizabeth just farted really loudly. That made me lol, she continues to be a source of joy even through the despair.)

I have been doing some reading, most recently Love Wins by Rob Bell and now The Gospel According to Jesus by, um, well, it's in my reading room and I'm too lazy to go look. I'd like to sit and write all my thoughts on this newfound quest of knowledge, but for now I'm just going to ease back into this blogging thing. Let's just say I'm finding people that can intelligently articulate thoughts I've had for years and have the Biblical and historical knowledge to back it up. It's very freeing. It's Good News, in fact. I recommend having open conversations on these matters without judgement whenever possible. It's highly stimulating.

I think I'm going to try and write here more often, record my thoughts as I read through these books and Testaments. For now, I need to put the children to bed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'm a little peeved with someone. I would say I'm not on speaking terms with Him, but in reality over the past few months, I've argued and pleaded and railed to Him more than ever. And in case you haven't figured it out, and want to step away from my blog now lest you be struck by lightning, it's God I'm talking about.

I've been behaving like an obstinate, three year old little girl who repeatedly asks why, why, why all day long.

Why did my grandmother suffer from a disease for most of her adult life that slowly atrophied her muscles to the point that she passed away when her lungs couldn't work anymore?

Why did my best friend's mom beat cancer only to have it return with a vengeance one year shy of her free and clear?

Why did a thirty-four year old woman lose her child mere days before she was due to come into this world and then find out a month later that she is also afflicted with stage four cancer?

And there are so many more examples of heartache and despair that I've heard from friends and family to recount here.

I've gotten pretty raw with God, why are we even here? Why are we programmed to feel human emotions when we are supposed to be striving for spiritual ones? Why are certain people burdened with desires that aren't healthy? Oh, the list goes on and on.

Obviously, I can rationally tell myself it all comes back to sin. The fall in the garden of Eden, but even that leads to an onslaught of whys? Why are we being punished for two peoples' mistake? Why create a world where there's so much misery?

And yes, I can tell myself the answers and I know there is a plan much bigger than me. I know, I know. But when I've walked around the past few months with a constant lump in my throat and on the verge of tears, I'm not really thinking with my head and rational thought escapes me. That little girl comes out and she is fighting mad. Wailing and tearing her clothes, fling herself on the ground, kicking her feet mad.

*Edited to add: I cannot make this stuff up, seriously, 10 minutes after I posted this, two nice ladies came knocking on my door and shared this scripture with me:

Psalms 37: 10-11 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of PEACE.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Month Twelve

My sweet, sweet baby,

Today you turn ONE YEAR OLD! If this year had gone any faster, you'd be ten. I try and stop almost every day and soak you in, but still the days and weeks fly by.

You're finally walking more, but it seems to be only when you want to and crawling is still faster, so you'll resort to that when necessary. You're definitely a baby on the move and barely sit still except to eat and drink a bottle. We've switched you to soy milk and you did that like a champ, but you're not crazy about the sippy cup. In your mind, only water goes in that cup and you refuse to drink your milk from it yet. It's ok, no one generally goes to college still drinking a bottle, and I doubt you will either.

You're so curious and smart already, figuring things out for yourself. You'll sit and watch Mickey and play for twenty to thirty minutes already. You're pretty much eating whatever we are eating and love bananas.

Things still go in your mouth, but not quite as bad as it was and you've even started giving me and daddy little things you pick up from the ground. We took you to the beach a few weeks ago, and you did great, playing and digging without eating the sand.

You love to make silly faces and noises and it's the quickest way to make you laugh. Your big brothers especially like tempting you with crazy sounds and no one can make you laugh like them. You definitely have your own personality and an idea of how life should be, and if you don't get your way, you're not afraid to show it. Thankfully, you're easily distracted and the screaming doesn't last too long.

Sadly, right before you turned 11 months old, Mammaw, whom you were named after, passed away. I hate you didn't get a chance to know each other better, but I know she's watching over us from Heaven and she loves you very much.

You continue to bring joy and sunshine to my life and I'm so proud to be your Mama!

I love you with all my heart, baby girl.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Month Ten

Whoa Baby,

It hit me the other day that you are almost ONE YEAR OLD already. I admit, I was a little sad. Even though I try and stop everyday and soak in the moment, I find I already can't remember how tiny you were, and the days I spent holding you in my arms for hours at a time are fuzzy memories. You are so, so busy now that I can't even imagine you sitting still for a minute, much less an hour.

This month, you started clapping, waving bye-bye, and shaking your head no. The one surprise to me was you didn't start walking, even though you stand on your own all the time and push random objects around. I promise I'm not rushing you, but learning to walk would be nice. You're loath to sit in your stroller for long and walking would alleviate a little of this aggravation when it's not safe to crawl. It's ok though, take your time.

Another sweet thing you do is lie your head on pillows, pretending to go night-night. And you've started showing us more deliberate signs of affection, like lying your head on our shoulders or trying to give kisses.

Everything still goes in your mouth and I'm constantly fishing random things from between your cheeks and teeth. It doesn't matter how often I vacuum, you still find that one little piece of dirt.

You're so smart, baby girl, already. Curious and vocal, the light of our lives. Even when I get a little overwhelmed, I still thank God everyday for choosing me to be your mama.

I love you, Little Bit.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Crazy Thread Lady

I've always wanted to learn to sew. I thought it would be super cool to whip up costumes for the kids, an airy shirt for me, or a lovely baby blanket. I also know me though. I'm bad about running head first into a project or new activity and not thinking it through. I love to give people my money and not get any return ( see Southern Living at Home debacle). I've gotten better over the years at reeling myself in, but I've still been leery about taking the could-be-expensive steps to becoming a seamstress.

But then came Elizabeth and Pinterest. Oh, at the precious baby clothes I could create at a fraction of the cost. And once again, I was hooked on learning to sew. The problem was, I didn't have a machine, nor a job. Add to that the fact that I had never actually touched a machine, I was pretty much in the dark on where to even begin.

My Mammaw had a Singer that was tucked away in a cabinet that had since taken residence at my mom's house, so when the kids and I went to visit in November, I had mom lift it up and show me some basics. I thought if I played around with it for a while, I could determine if I really wanted to learn a new skill or if it would fall away like so many other "interests".

Well, long after mom left to take care of other things, I tinkered and cleaned and *gasp* read the manual to get a better feel for everything her machine could do. And I was hooked. When my mom offered to bring the Singer and Mammaw's sewing chest to my house over the holidays, even though I took a while to answer, I said yes in my heart right away. Mammaw wasn't a master seamstress, in fact, I don't really remember her ever sewing at all. My mom would sometimes hem our clothes, or fix a tear, but sewing wasn't a focal point of my childhood. However, the cabinet with her hideaway machine and the incredibly cool chest with a rainbow of thread and other neat doodads was. Without getting overly emotional, let's just say, I'm so very happy to have it in my home and wanting to use it.

I've now become the woman who scours the Internet for new fabrics and free patterns, who awaits Elizabeth's naps with anticipation so I can create something new. My floors have gotten a little dirtier and I'm covered in loose threads, but I'm having fun and hopefully learning something that I can pass down to my little ones. Maybe one day, they will bring the memories to their houses.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Month Nine

Oh Little Bit,

You're just determined to keep growing, huh? You have officially been out longer than you were in and my life will never be the same.


Everywhere we go, people can't get over how happy you are. That's what I hear all the time, "She's so happy." Except for the few times I don't dress you in all pink and then it's, "He's so happy." Either way, you are one happy baby. As long as no one else is holding you, that is. :)


Month nine has been crazy, crazy. Your brothers were on winter break, you got two more teeth at the same time (making that five), you started pulling up/cruising, and you had a cold. Sleep was not your friend, nor mine, and then you weren't so happy.


Thankfully, I think we have moved mostly past that for now and the past few nights, you have been sleeping well again. Of course, now you are trying to stand all on your own, so I'm sure things will get hairy again in a couple of weeks. In fact, during our photo shoot, you tried to stand upright from the ground. No taking it easy for you, like slowly letting go of the couch, nope, you just want to stand up on your own.


My time is up. Your brother just woke you. I love you, sweet baby. Now and Always.