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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bang! Bang! Curl Up and Dye!

If you had a beauty shop (ok, hair salon, salon, whatever you call it!) would you name it that?

Would you name it “Bang! Bang! Curl Up and Dye”?

I normally would not, (I mean that’s a pretty cheesy name for a salon.. though I know they are out there!!) but after the girl got a hold of my head yesterday that is EXACTLY what I thought when I woke up and looked in the mirror this morning.

Ok, forgive the wife beater tank top (and skinny arms). I have been cleaning house and I am hot! BUT would you PU-LEASE check out these bangs????????009

THEY ARE GINORMOUS! I mean they aren’t 80’s bangs (but honey I could do some mall bangs with the best of ‘em!) but they are a huge part of my head!! She cut my hair a LOT shorter than I wanted and my husband even commented that I sort of resemble Annie. Nice. I think it looks sort of… grandmaw-ish.

When you cut curly hair too short it starts looking round… like a basketball. I have plenty of roundness, thank you very much. I could use a little less… especially on my HEAD!

Well, it’s just hair. Hair grows. Not exactly the look I was going for, but what can you do?

BANG! BANG! Curl Up! Oh. My. Word. I could just die!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Praise and an Update!

 

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I am so happy to share that our little Taylor is doing just fine! Thank you so much for praying!! She is going home with some new medicine for her tummy, some rice to thicken her milk and some relieved parents!! The doctors say that she has reflux and will have to sit up for 30 minutes after she eats, take her meds and she should be good to go!! It’s that simple. So we are very thankful that she’s doing so well. God heard our prayers and He’s already at work in this little life!!

I wish I had taken my camera to the hospital because that little thing has already changed so much and she’s even more beautiful! My sister-in-law had her dressed in the cutest little outfit too!! LOVE little girl clothes!!

Anyway, thank you for your sweet comments and for your prayers! We are so blessed to know that we have friends that pray and we know that the Lord hears!! He’s so worthy of all of our praise!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Please Pray

 

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Hey Blawgy Friends!

I need to ask you to pray! Our sweet little Taylor (seen her with my sweet husband and her uncle Steve) had to go back to the hospital today because she stopped breathing and went limp last night. They had to call the ambulance and they were able to get her breathing normally again. She had to be admitted today so that they can work to figure out what happened. They think she may have an under developed tummy and that she may have had some reflux that she wasn’t strong enough to fight so she struggled to breathe for a few seconds.

Our brother and sister-in-law are just so exhausted (as anyone is with a new born) and this is just really adding a lot. We are VERY thankful that my sister-in-law’s parents were there and could help them with all of it. We are also thankful that she’s in a good place where they can really work with her …so God is good and we are blessed. We are just praying that they can figure things out so that she’s able to go home soon!

Thanks in advance for praying! God is good!! We know He’s in control!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Bravery of a Queen

This is the beginning of the fifth week of study in Beth Moore’s Esther study for me. While I have been familiar with Esther’s story since I was a young kid I don’t think I have ever truly walked through the pages of this book in such depth. The name of God is no where to be found on any of it’s pages, but His hand is amazingly present at all times.

We are entering the 5th chapter of Esther and in the story Esther is about to approach her king on behalf of the Jewish people. A noble in the kings court has issued a decree that all Jews are to be killed. Esther is a Jew and she has a choice to make. She can go to the king on behalf of her people and risk immediate death (any man or woman approaching the king without being summoned is put to death- Esther 4:11) or she can remain silent and die along with her people. She is scared, and her husband, the king, has not summoned her for thirty days so she is not sure where she stands with him. She declares a fast for three days and then the time comes.. and this is what I imagine…

“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes…” Esther 5:1a

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Behind the ornate door of the queen’s chambers maids work feverishly to prepare their queen. She is “lovely in form and features” (Esther 2:7) and dressing her like a queen is not hard. Her long dark hair is washed and groomed to perfection. Her best robes are chosen. Purple, for royalty, with beads on the bodice to show her great wealth. Her dressing maids button the many satin buttons that will close her gown in the back down to her small waist.  Her long flowing gown is ornate and beautiful and fit only for a queen. Jewels are placed around her neck, a reminder of her wedding day and a gift from the wealthiest man in the kingdom-her opposite in many ways, her husband, the King of Persia. Delicate shoes are chosen to protect her feet from the cold stone floors as she makes her brave ascent to the king’s inner court… a very nervous, scared and focused queen who earned her place based on beauty alone. Would her beauty be enough to save her and her people now with this hard hearted man? “God, please change his heart,” she whispers as she makes her final preparations.

A final prayer and she begins her long walk from the queen’s chambers to the king’s court yard. It has been a while since she has been outside, for her safety she is kept indoors,  and the sun hurts her eyes. She climbs the stairs as maids follow along carrying her long dark train. It’s velvety fabric cause it to be very heavy, and yet, deep in thought, the queen hardly notices the weight. 

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What will I say? How will he respond when he sees me standing there? Will he receive me? Will my very presence send him into a fit of rage? The thoughts won’t stop. They are overwhelming and yet they do not stop her footsteps. She must take a stand on behalf of her people, her cousin who raised her, and herself. They walk in silence and deep in thought as each maid realizes the seriousness of her decisions. They pray earnestly as they walk.

As she enters the final corridor she hears the sounds of wailing. Several people are crying as if they are in mourning. Where is it coming from? She looks around and at the king’s gate and there they are… her people… the Jewish people standing with sack cloth around their bodies and ashes on their faces rocking back and forth in agony. They will die if God does not intervene.  They have heard their fate issued through a decree that was sealed with the king’s signet ring, and they know that without a miracle they will all die at the hand of one evil man. Their heart wrenching cries hurt her ears as she passes by, and the pain on their faces hurt her heart.

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Her pace quickens. They have prayed for her. They have fasted, for three days with no food or drink, for her as she has prepared for this day. There is no turning back. The words of her cousin, Mordecai, ring in her head, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” For such a time as this… for such a time as this.

As she approaches the massive doors to the king’s court yard the guards realize that the king has not summoned the queen and yet here she is. With respect they bow and open the doors for her and her servants to enter. It is apparent that she is here with purpose and yet her beauty captures their attention all the more. They glance at each other in wonder. Is she mad? Has she lost all senses to appear before the king unannounced?

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She stops just inside the door and takes one last deep breath. She closes her eyes and steps inside. The maids quickly spread her train and scurry back behind the wall careful not to be seen. As the heavy doors close his attention turns to see who has entered his private court, and he can hardly believe his eyes. She is beautiful.

“When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.” Esther 5:2

Who knew the Bible could be such an amazing adventure?

Is it old? Well, yes.

Is it relevant? Oh, to me it is life!

Is it inspiring and full of life? You tell me…

“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Heart Faces-Wonder

 

This week the I Heart Faces contest is about wonder. I think it’s a little hard for me this week based on the photos that I have taken, but this one seemed to show a sense of wonder in the snow since we hardly ever get any here in the south! Love her rosy cheeks and the expression on her face as she looked up at the snow blowing from the trees.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

SHE’S HERE!

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Check out this sweet baby girl! Her name is Taylor Elizabeth and she is my brand new niece!! The top two pictures were taken before and during her first bath (it made her MAD!) and the bottom one was taken after her bath and after her AUNT SISSY got a hold of her sweet baby hair with an adorable hair bow!! She is absolutely precious and we could not be more thrilled to have her in our family. She is our first and only niece and our first and only cousin for Caroline!! She is healthy and beautiful and has stolen the hearts of our entire family in just a few hours!!

Welcome to the family Miss Taylor! We love you!! We are thankful that you were delivered safely into our family and we are eager to tell you about Jesus and His love for you! I look forward to sharing many years of birthdays with you! You are loved from the beginning not only by your family but also by your Heavenly Father.

Love,

Aunt Sissy

No Girl Deserves This Much Fun!

I have a confession to make. I LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY! You know why?Mainly because it’s one day before my birthday. I know I am a freak. Most people dread getting older, but when Christmas hits I start thinking… “Only a month and a half ‘til VALENTINES!!” It’s a sickness.

So guess what we did? Well, we celebrated of course!!

It actually started on Thursday when we had a ladies lunch and my friend Faith showed up with this PRECIOUS monogrammed cake for us to all share!  It was so sweet of her and the other girls to celebrate with me a few days early.

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THEN on Friday we went to dinner with our friends. Faith and Chad, Daniel and Jennifer and Brandon and Emily (who does not blog but SHOULD because she is so funny and has a couple of precious twin boys that you all need to see on a regular basis! hint, hint Em!!) all met at Harper’s to have dinner. They sat us at this small round table where most of us had to sit on the edge of our seats just to reach our food! It was really funny! We even had to adjust our oval plates long ways to make sure everyone fit! Good thing we like each other!! When we left Daniel said, “Let’s go so a party of 4 can be seated!” Man was he right!

My sweet friend gave me some awesome gifts and spending time with them helped make my birthday weekend very special!

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On Saturday my husband had arranged for my in-laws to keep our girl so that we could shop and spend the afternoon and night together. First we headed for a late lunch here…

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We meant to get the waiter to take our picture, but they were so busy and we forgot!  The food was really good and we actually had time to talk with no interruptions! LOVED time with just my little hubby…

SOO we headed to the MALL! Bless my sweet man’s heart he followed me around like I was some princess and helped me look through the department stores for clothes that

#1… I would remotely like.. some things are just TOO low cut, too, revealing and too hooch. I’m just sayin’.

#2… were in my size once I decided that I liked them, and

#3.. we could remotely afford! 

We looked through Macy’s and Belk’s first because we had coupons from the paper. Unfortunately the things that I liked were Ralph Lauren and the coupon STILL didn’t help! Well, it helped, but not enough!

Then we headed to Coldwater Creek, (which can sometimes look like a hip grandmother, but at least they aren’t into showing the “girls” if you know what I mean?)  and here’s what I found!

I love this yellow shirt! It is so soft and it lays really pretty with the pleats in the front. The sleeves are pretty pretty too. I also LOVE these dressy jeans!! I love the wide legs and how they fit! SO comfy!!

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I also got some black dress pants (that I thought were navy until I got them home, but I love them so I am keeping them!) and I got a couple of new laced trimmed tanks to wear under things that I already have.

That was a fun day… just me and him taking our time, shopping and talking. I loved every minute of it, and I KNOW he did too! SHHH! Don’t tell him I told!

Sunday was my actual birthday and to my mom that is a BIG deal! She wants to see us ON THE DAY and she goes to whatever lengths to make that happen! A while back she asked off from work to ensure that we would be together ON THE DAY! We live 2 hours apart so sometimes it doesn’t work out, but if she can at all do it.. she does!! It has always made every one of our family members feel special and important so we all try to work it out for each other too.

Here we are at a really pretty place called Harry& Jeans. I had shrimp and grits… DELISH!002

That’s my dad, me, Caroline, my mom, my brother and my sweetie. I am 14 months older than my brother and I am use to him being my little brother, but lately he has been sporting that beard and looking a lot more distinguished. I don’t get to see him that much, but when I do I always have to do a double take at the beard. My little brother with a beard… that’s just weird!

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They came bearing gifts too so I got some new brown dress pants and a top to match and a super cool rain jacket/trench coat looking (suppose to be the “in thing” right now) jacket. Mom LOVES to shop for us so we never complain at birthday time! Thanks mom and dad!!

We were soooooo tired but we had one more stop to make! We had not been with my husband’s family yet!!! So that night we headed out to meet them for dinner. Our sister-in-law banned all cameras because she was headed for the hospital today to deliver our new niece!! We told her that we would comply last night but could make no promises once we got to the hospital today!! I am excited to get to share my birthday with the newest member of our family!! Taylor Elizabeth is born today!!! What a gift!! Pictures WILL be posted soon!!

Needless to say it has been a fun, whirlwind of a weekend! It is really a blessing to have such wonderful friends and family. God has truly blessed me!! And I am always looking forward to next year… ALTHOUGH… next year is a big one so I may just decide to stop here!! ;)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

But the Greatest of These is Love

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My Valentine is sitting in the kitchen right now bargaining with our little Valentine over some of her candy. He’s so funny. He is the same man that went to Hallmark yesterday and bought his little valentine a Webkinz that is a porcupine. After she opened it he spent a good hour on the Webkinz website trying to get “Valentine” registered. He’s also the same man that arranged for his parents to keep our girl so that he can spend the afternoon and night with me shopping for my birthday, eating dinner and going to a movie. She’s even going to spend the night! (And let me tell you… he would FAR rather watch some sporting event than shop OR go to a movie so you know it’s love!)

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He’s also the same man that is my exact opposite. He isn’t into fashion, but he tries. He’s quiet and he enjoys to read the paper. He thinks before he speaks. Sometimes for a long time and that drives me nuts! JUST SAY IT!! He likes routine and he’s very logical. He likes math. He always takes someone else’s side if I am mad with them. For example:

Me-“That lady at the store was SO rude! I could not believe her!”

Him-“Now honey… wonder what happened to her this morning? Maybe she had a terrible fight with her husband or something. You just never know.”

Does that not just make you want to slap him?

It’s true we are so different and yet through the last 12 years we have grown beyond what I ever expected. Sometimes we still seem so different that I wonder how in the world we EVER got together. Sometimes we seem so similar that I know that ONLY God could have done something like that! 

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He makes me laugh with his unexpected and dry humor. He makes me proud with his ability to see the heart of people. He makes me mad when he takes his time getting something done or when he’s late. He makes me happy when he walks in the door every night with a hug for me and our girl no matter what kind of day he’s had. And he makes me glad when I think that he’s the one that God has given me as my husband… the one that protects, loves and encourages me as I seek to honor the Lord with my life.

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Steve, I am so thankful for you! Thank you for loving me and Caroline the way that you do. I could not ask for a sweeter spouse or a better match for me! While our views and attitudes may be different and while we may see things through totally different eyes the way that we compliment each other somehow works! God’s wisdom is greater than our human reasoning and I am so glad! I would marry you 100 times over! I love you honey! Happy Valentine’s Day!! 

“Now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Thursday, February 12, 2009

SO Where Do We Go From Here?

YAY! I have some good news to share with you, and just so you know…  all and your prayers and well wishes PAYED OFF! We got news through our Occupational Therapist that our daughter’s MRI came back NORMAL!!!!!!!!! Thank THE LORD ABOVE!! We are very happy to know that the gray matter and the frontal lobe (that they seemed most concerned about) all looked really good!

We continue to wait on blood test results and will have an appointment with her neurologist in March. They are looking at chromosomal issues and running other tests so we are still eager to meet with him so that we can know more.

Her OT said that we could just be dealing with developmental delays and sensory/auditory processing disorder. Many things can happen at birth and during early development to contribute to those things, but I am still not sure what! When babies are sick at birth and have to have lots of meds it can cause problems for them down the road and we DEFINITELY dealt with both so perhaps that is why we are where we are today. At least we know that there is no permanent damage that could cause her to not be able to overcome some of the challenges. HALELLUJAH!

One of the things that she deals with is an inability to track with her eyes for very long (which may hurt her in the classroom when reading or looking at the board) so they have suggested that we get her eyes checked by an eye doctor. They also have something called “astronaut training” where the kids sit on a board that spins in a circle. The spinning effects the vestibular system which is closely related to vision-like if you get vertigo and are dizzy it seems like the room is spinning and you want to close your eyes. Then you use a CD that has sounds on it that sound like outer space. The sounds have a rhythm to them and you use a little flash light to the sound of the rhythm for the child to follow with their eyes, and it helps strengthen the eyes. Cool huh? It’s like little eye aerobics! So we are looking at what we need to do to get that sort of therapy going at home.

We are also continuing therapy and support at school. The therapy is SOO great and she is growing so much so we know that it’s helping. She is stronger and she is balancing much better than in the past. She is also able to solve puzzles quicker, tolerate smells and noise better (though still not real great), and she seems more emotionally normal. That sounds weird, huh? Well, the other day she lost a toy and had a melt down about it. She had NEVER done that before. It’s almost like the emotional part of her never really connected. She would laugh when someone got hurt instead of showing concern. That, too, seems to be better. So her emotions seem to be more in line with a typical kid lately. Yay!

In the ball pit at therapy…026028In a swing at therapy…

She is also spelling harder words and reading better so we know that the support at school is helping too! We just know that she’s still not where she needs to be… math is pretty hard and she still has some behaviors that are pretty different so we are still asking questions and we are still seeking solutions.

The thing is we can not stop! If we stopped now just because there was a good MRI but didn’t seek out more answers I believe we would be doing her a disservice.

I don’t know if you are a mom of a child with learning differences or behavior disorders or severe disabilities. Maybe your child doesn’t deal with any issue at all, but being a mom is just plain hard. All I know is that for their sakes.. no matter how hard it is.. no matter how few answers you may find.. you can not give up!! NO matter how disobedient or defiant they may be you can not stop praying, seeking the Lord and striving to help them make it. They have no other help but us and the Lord.

That day that she lost the toy and started to cry… I wanted to cry too! Not because she lost the toy, but because I finally saw some glimmer of growth in her emotions. I was almost happy that she was crying like that! It’s in those times that you realize that the little steps are worth ALL the effort.

Lord, THANK YOU! I just can’t praise You enough for Your hand of mercy in our lives. THANK YOU for sparing our girl the hardships of brain damage and brain disorders. I pray Father that You would continue to guide our steps. Help us to see what we need to see so that we might be able to help her. Lord, You created her. You know her every cell!! Please work in her body, but mainly, Lord, I beg You to work in her heart! Draw her to You and help her to see You as the Redeemer and Lover of her soul! I lift parents to You that are struggling.  Be their peace Lord. Help them to seek Your face for the sake of their children. Show them how to trust You with their parenting. Show me too, Lord. I love you!  

Friday, February 6, 2009

More Than a Mood

014 See that face? That day my little girl was in a MOOD! She did NOT want to have her picture made. She did NOT want to listen and she did NOT want to smile. Wow. She was NOT fun to live with either!!

Today while reading my Bible study (Beth Moore’s Esther study ROCKS the house girlfriends!) the Lord really spoke to me about my mood vs. my intent! A while back I really felt the Lord telling me to live my life in an INTENTIONAL way not allowing the waves that crash around me to throw me off course. He spoke clearly about how I could not allow circumstances to get my eyes off of Him!

Guess what? I think I got away from that intentional living. For a while I think He helped me keep my focus, but the loving Father that He is will not allow Him to force me to do anything. It has to be a focus that I work at and one that I have to pray about daily.

Life can be overwhelming! Unexpected changes, disappointments and unanswered prayer just surround us sometimes and it can really be hard to keep our focus on the One who is in control. If we are not intentional about following Christ we WILL follow our hearts… and as women… our hearts can get emotional, hurt, angry and confused.  And THAT puts us in a MOOD!

When we realized that Caroline was not developing and growing at normal rates it was truly overwhelming. It was like her little 4 year old life just flashed before our eyes and we were making decisions that would effect her for a long time! Without knowing what God could truly do in her and through her we started trying to guess.  I would worry and cry, feeling sorry for her and for myself! We started second guessing everything! We even second guessed ourselves about starting a college fund for her since she may not be able to go!! We started looking at schools with special needs classes and tried to figure out what type of therapy she would need right away, yet all the while I doubted if therapy would even help! 

Some of those decisions were wise, but some were not!! We truly got our eyes off of her Creator and onto the situation at hand. Our hearts were hurting and some decisions were made out of hurt instead of INTENTIONAL trust that the Lord could and would work in this situation. Thank goodness, one day my husband came home from work and said,”We are not making another decision until we seek the Lord and until we know, without a doubt, that He is directing our steps.” He became intentional and WOW! God has shown us that He is able to do far more than we could ever imagine!

Colossians 3:2 says, “SET your mind on things above.”

That is an intentional statement. To set your mind on something you have to decide beforehand that you are going to stay focused on that that thing. No matter what comes your way… you will stay focused.

Moods and emotions change every day. Sometimes I am NOT in the mood to do therapy with Caroline. Sometimes she’s not in the mood to practice math or spelling longer than most kids but the thing that we have to be set on is that every therapy session and every study time helps her develop!

Sometimes I am not in the MOOD to call someone who I know is hurting or struggling. (That sounds so ugly but I am being honest.) “Their struggles can be overbearing and I don’t have answers!” is what I hear in my head. But God calls us to carry one another’s burdens and that needs to be my focus!!

Sometimes I am not in the MOOD to make new friends! I am just fine with the ones I have… thank you very much! But God calls me to love my neighbor as myself and THAT needs to be my focus!

I am so thankful that God does not give up on me. I sometimes think that I am growing so much and other times… well, I have SOOO far to go! To quote Beth Moore, '”We can’t just depend on a good mood to get us through. After all, no one can have great hair, the right outfit and a raise every day. We need a mindset.” And I pray that the Lord will help me to get my mind set on Him!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Heart Faces Contest





Yay! It's another week in the I Heart Faces contest and the theme is "The Eyes Have It." AND... here's my entry!


I took this as we were leaving our house for kindergarden graduation. She was so excited, and yet a little sad, as she moved onto a new class, and I think you can see that in her eyes!


Good Luck to everyone! It's lots of fun to see everyone's pictures! There's some talent out there!

Praising My Jesus All the Day Long!

This coming Sunday I have the amazing opportunity to sing with a group of girls at our church. We are singing the song that you can both hear and view in just a second. It makes me eternally grateful for the fact that I am a chosen child of the King who loves me every day of my life with full abandon!

He has abandoned no one and, in fact, never wants us to be away from Him! He’s crazy about every one of us as He created us in His image to fulfill His purposes.

There are NO orphans so if you are feeling alone or like you are just without hope… remember that Jesus, the One and only perfect sacrifice came so that we would know LIFE! He came so that we might know LOVE and He came that we might know our Heavenly FATHER. No orphans. Not even  you!

The Lord is using this song and this video to challenge me in some heartfelt ways. I pray that as you watch it He might do the same in you. If nothing else to make us all aware of just how blessed we are to live in the United States, but also to make us aware of the need to reach out and love others.

 

“There are no strangers.

There are no outcasts.

There are no orphans of God.”