Thursday, May 5, 2016

To My Mom on Mother's Day


Over the span of the last (almost) 40 years your Mother’s Days have centered around me as your daughter and not yourself.  You went from a young mom to a mom of a teenager (whose big words came with an even bigger attitude).  Then to a mom of a college student trying to figure out what the heck the rest of her life should hold.  To a mom of not only me, but of my husband.  You watched as I myself struggled to become a mother due to infertility.  And now you are not only “mama” but you are “nana” of almost 5 years.  You have earned that great rewarding name.  As a mother now myself, I see that Mother’s Day isn’t a day for me to be self serving but a day to celebrate the family that enables me to even be called “mommy.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Journey to Motherhood

(by Jenny, originally published in May 2016 Issue of "Behind the Fountain" Evans, Georgia)
Many of us as women grew up wanting nothing more than to become a mommy one day.  For some, that comes easily.  And for others like myself and Trina, it comes via a winding road full of turns that we could never anticipate. Mother’s Days are meant to be full of joy, but for some they are painful reminders of what we do not yet hold in our arms.  But God.  He simply comes through in the most magnificent of ways, showing us that His plans for us were far greater all along.  Trina and her beautiful family are absolutely a huge testament to that.  She is my son’s preschool teacher this year, but has become so much more than that.  She is a dear friend and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to sit down and listen to her journey to motherhood to share with you all.  I know you will be encouraged.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mountain Moving: Channeling My Inner (and Non-Existent) Type-B Personality {{ With a Giveaway }}

It's late at night and yet again, I'm the only one up. My husband and daughter are peacefully asleep, dreaming dreams of unicorns and rainbows and basketball championship games. I'll let you guess who's dreaming what. I'm awake... wishing I had an off button for my mind. It's the trifecta of the Type A, Perfectionist, Planner personality that keeps me up. There's a mountain that lies before us and before I can attempt to go to sleep, I have to think through every possible scenario and plan every detail. Earlier in the evening, my husband lovingly reminded me "don't get ahead of ourselves... there are a lot of things that still have to be decided before we know what we need to do." I smiled and laughed. I know this and I lovingly reminded him that this is how my brain has to work. It's how I prepare for whatever may lie ahead. If I've thought through every angle and every possibility, then I can be prepared for whatever feeling comes with the final decision. Excitement, sadness, relief, hope... I'll be prepared. He smiled, knowing me better than I know myself. He knows I have to stew over this one. Then I'll be ready to take the next step, whatever it is.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Is This a Joke?

(by Jenny, originally published in April 2016 Issue of "Behind the Fountain" Evans, Georgia)

“For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” – Habakkuk 1:5

The finality of those words from our doctors came crashing down on us – “it is unlikely that you will ever be able to conceive a child even with fertility treatments.”  Is this a joke?  We have done everything right so surely their assessment was wrong.  I mean, people give birth every day.  There are tons of children needing homes for crying out loud.  It was like a horrible April Fool’s Joke.  Except it was our reality.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Unlocking the Myth: God Won't Give You More Than You Can Handle

It all started like a perfectly normal day, and then catastrophe struck. My daughter needed some medicine. So as I rustled around in the cabinet, I didn't see the brand new bottle of dark red fingernail polish sitting near the edge in the corner of the freshly painted white cabinet. As I moved the box of band-aids out of the way, I knocked it off the shelf and, in slow motion, it fell to the new tile floor, shattering into the tiniest shards of glass you've ever seen. My foot was sliced with little razor blade cuts and deep burgundy was thrown all over me, the floor and the face of the fresh white paint. It looked like a crime scene...

Relax... it's just fingernail polish (mostly)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

I Found Jesus at the Dentist

(by Jenny)

Now before you get too excited and start to think I had my salvation experience at the dentist – I did not.  That happened eons ago (to my child) when I was probably around his age and now I’m landsliding into forty.  You do the math.  I cannot because I don’t know “new math.”  And I’m still using my old Texas Instruments calculator from engineering school and unsure that it can be trusted anymore.  I’m totally digressing.  Circle the wagons, Jen, circle the wagons. I didn’t literally find Jesus at the dentist yesterday.  I didn’t even see the old oil paintings of him like many of our grandparents have in their homes depicting what we believe him to look like.  Although it is a Christian office and they do play Christian music.  I think that’s just some tom foolery they have to put you at ease before they break out the demonic drill Roto Rootering to your brain. 

As I lay back in the chair yesterday and the hygienist was cleaning my teeth, I had some sort of revelation about how going to the dentist is a lot like reading the Bible and having a relationship with Jesus.  Before I go further – no, I did not have laughing gas, shots, or any other hallucinogens.  I know you are thinking I’m about to stretch this thing further than Elastigirl from the Incredibles.  But bear with me here.  If nothing else, maybe if you loathe dentist offices as much as the greater population of America then it will give you something positive to think about the next time you go.  Or you can think about how completely off the wall my brain can be and pray for my family that has to put up with me on a daily basis – bless their hearts.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

In Good Times and Bad... and When You're Under Attack!

(by Courtney)

Yesterday proved to be a traumatic day. It started off simple enough before taking a drastic turn. I ripped the sheets off the bed to wash them and started to pile the clean laundry up on the bed so I could fold it and put it away. I know I'm not the only one that has discovered this trick... make the clothes and lack of sheets an actual obstacle and the likelihood they get properly put away before you go to sleep increases dramatically. If you haven't figured out this little play-tricks-on-your-own-brain trick of housekeeping yet, well... you're welcome.

Anyway... back to the story. As I started to put the pile of CLEAN clothes on the bed, a giant ninja roach jumped off the top of the pile, on to my arm and then hit the floor before the worst imaginable thing possible happened. IT SCURRIED, VERY MUCH ALIVE, UNDER THE BED! Yes... the bed where just hours later, I planned to go to sleep. I screamed, had a small heart attack, saw the bright lights of heaven's gate before I came to and regained my breathing. In and out... in and out... in and out...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Time Changes, Pollen, and the Abundant Life

(by Jenny)

I feel almost speechless after the weekend I had.  First of all, I have a case of the Mondays.  (Again, if you haven’t heard of Office Space or seen that movie, you may very well be dead to me.  I won’t poll my tiny almost non existent audience though.)  I literally scared myself when I looked in the mirror this morning.  It was a combination of college years hangovers (that I largely regret), Mufasa, and the Bride of Frankenstein.  A weekend of worship and fellowship with some of my closest friends, late night talks, food comas, time changes, and the ever dreaded “everything is now yellow and my eyes are almost swollen shut” south (aka, pollen or the devil’s dust) has all run me over like a freight train.  And it went in reverse and hit me again.  My son even asked to stay home from preschool today.  Uhm, NO! You will get your happy pants on and go so I can siphon coffee until your pint sized tyrant self returns in four hours.  And all the mommies said “AMEN, HALLELUJER PRAISE THE LORT!” (I obviously have a thing for movie quotes). 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Devil Went Down to Georgia (on Sunday)

(by Jenny)

I used to think Mondays were the hardest days of the week.  Until we had a child.  Then I realized the wool had been pulled over my eyes all those years.  Such a fa├žade.  Monday is no longer as dreaded because let’s face it, some days it feels like freedom as a mom.  The little minions are back in school and you feel like skipping back home in your yoga pants.  Not that you don’t love them.  You do.  But man can they suck the life right out of you.  Bless their hearts. (Caveat – if you are a work-outside-the-home-mom like I once was, Mondays do indeed still come with the dread that equals having toenails pulled right out.  Because then you have to face the real children at work).

I’ve recently realized that Sunday is the hardest day around our house.  Why?  Because clearly the devil went down to Georgia (and every other state in this great nation).  He packs up his convertible (obviously because he thinks he’s cool like that), puts on his Sunday best and loads his trunk with fun things like tantrums, whining (for the love, ALL THE WHINING), “I don’t want to go’s”, and “why do I have to wear that’s”…and he sets off with the wind in his hair laughing all the way to our homes.  He shows up like long lost cousin Eddie – uninvited and unwanted – but much more dapper.  He sneaks up on you and before you know it, he’s emptying his sewer in your front yard.  Everything ignites and you feel like dear old Aunt Bethany singing the Star Spangled Banner, clearly losing your mind (with your family). If you don't know these references or this movie, you are dead to me. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Life Lessons from Some Old Dinosaurs

(by Jenny)

This past weekend we finally took our son to see The Good Dinosaur at the discount theater.  I know it’s on DVD already but some things (like dinosaurs and animals) just deserve the full experience to him.  I have to say the movie surpassed my expectations, and Disney once again siphoned tears out of me that I didn’t even shed at my own wedding (mainly because I want to inappropriately laugh when I’m a bag of nerves). Even more, I was amazed at the life lessons that I, as a nearly middle aged (oh my gosh is that hurts typing it) woman learned from Poppa, Arlo’s (the main character’s) dad.  He even had a bit of the James Earl Jones voice which we all know has to be a close resemblance to God’s voice.  Bear with me here.  I’m actually going somewhere with this and not just doing a movie review.
Young Arlo was desperately trying to make his mark like the rest of his family by doing something big.  Poppa told them they all had to earn their marks.  And they did – other than Arlo who seemed to be paralyzed by his fears.  He wanted so badly to make his mark in the world yet couldn’t shift his focus enough to do so.  I think that’s how so many of us are, or at least I am.  I desperately want to make my mark – make a difference – but am stuck in the pool of quicksand called fear.  Sometimes a little fear – caution – is good.  But being paralyzed by it means that we can’t take our focus off of ourselves long enough to move forward.  Instead of truly seeking God, we go at it in our own strength and we get stuck.  And if we are truly honest with ourselves, a part of us will always seek to make our mark for our own benefit and recognition.  We are human and we are selfish by nature.  But as Poppa (or God for us) says, “You gotta earn your mark by doing something big for someone bigger than yourself.”  In other words, we have to be sold out to God and it has to be all for His glory.  This thing called life, and our purpose, is so much bigger than us.  Everything we do should point back to Him.