Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

I love this time of year!  I love Christmas and everything that comes with it.  I also love the new year beginning to approach.  It is always a time to reflect on the past year and wait with anticipation as to what the upcoming months will bring.  I am not one for resolutions but I do like to clear my mind and set some goals.  I can't say that I don't look back because I do like to look back and see how much God has done for me.  I also like to see where I have been and see if there are things that I need to change or work on in my life.  I can say that 2012 has been a year full of ups and downs but it has been a special year of my life and has taught me some life lessons.

First of all, I have seen that forgiveness is not as easy to come by as some may think.  And sometimes saying your sorry does not make the situation better.  But saying your sorry is still the right thing to do in order for you to move on even if you can't control how the other person reacts or feels.  And there may still be an empty part in you that longs for that person to be in your life.  Some situations you have to give to the Lord and trust in Him.  I know to never lose hope because God can work miracles and soften hearts.

Secondly, I have realized that I love my kids at the age they are now.  Though I miss them sleeping on my chest at times, I love the fact that they can do things on their own.  I so enjoy watching them do what they do and I love watching every game.  I have the sore back from sitting on stands and bleachers to prove it.  I love seeing their individual personalities emerge and I am amazed at how much they reflect who Bryan and I are.  Even though Christian (my oldest) and I are one in the same and butt heads at times, he is my tender-hearted kid.  He is the one I know will do great things and in whom I know there are seeds planted that will grow and do wondrous things for God's kingdom.  He is a thinker and an observer and stands alone and stands out.  Bo is Bryan made all over.  After Bo does something sweet, I always go to Bryan and tell him how much I love him because I see Bryan in Bo's brown eyes and big heart.  He is my child who can charm the stars with his smile and yes that concerns me a little when it comes to girls.  He is compassionate and loves to give.  He has the cutest mannerisms and makes this house complete.  I feel so blessed that God chose me to be their mother.

I have also realized that God's followers are not limited to the church walls.  I don't get in religious debates often because they rarely ever end on a good note.  I believe God's word and I do believe in going to church so please don't misunderstand me.  But I have seen God's love in some amazing people who don't attend church.  I have seen that people truly want to know that you are a person who loves the Lord but doesn't shove it in their face with an agenda behind it.  I have some conservative views and I am entitled to those views but I also know that I am not perfect.  I know that the minute I were to consider myself high and mighty I would be knocked off that high horse in a pile of mud.  I can disagree with you and you can disagree with me but I love you because that is what a Christian does.  I am intrigued by our differences and I am thankful for our similarities.  I also warn you, that if you ask me to pray for you, I will turn into the Jesus freak that I am.  I believe in the power of prayer.  I know where I stand and where my future belongs.  Heaven sure looks sweeter every day.

Lastly, I have come to the realization that the 30's are a great time in life.  Sometimes I miss being able to stay awake all night and stumble in to work the next morning. Even though I don't miss those hangovers, I do miss the spontaneity of my younger years.  But I know I will never be in that body again even though I bust my behind running to get there.  The knees and ankles give out just about the point my six pack is about to appear.  And it doesn't have anything to do with eating sweets!  I am not always proper and with age I have lost my filter has become a little loose.  I do need a little more makeup to cover up almost 35 years of living but hey at least I have the money to buy it.  I am thankful I am married and not out in the dating scene anymore.  I never was good at that anyway. Plus I would be trouble now out there with the confidence I have gained over the years.  I am old  enough to appreciate my husband and understand the male gender a little better but I am young enough to run around with my kids and not be considered uncool.  I can still wear yoga pants and it be considered cute fashion.  I don't even know what "mom" jeans are anyway.  I can still remember Boyz 2 Men, Salt N Peppa, Guns N Roses, Bocephus and Prince.  But I like to feed my old soul with some Percy Sledge and Donna Summer when I am at the house alone.  Now I know I can still get down in my 30's.  The day I can't dance will be the day I am done.  But hey, there is dancing in Heaven.  I am just not sure it is to Sir Mix Alot's "I like big butts." I surely cannot lie.  Sorry, couldn't resist that one. 

All in all, I thank the Lord for 2012.  Thank you family, friends, coworkers, brothers and sisters in Christ for making it great. I am ready for God to knock my socks off in 2013!  I anticipate getting to meet new people and I am thankful for the fabulous people that are already in my life.  I look forward to waking up each morning with Bryan Rhodes.  He makes my heart smile and touches my soul like no one else.  I pray each of you has a blessed New Year!  May you all receive a continuous dose of God's best.  If your 2012 wasn't what you wanted it to be, I pray that 2013 is a step into a new direction.  May you prosper in good health and finances.  May you be surrounded by the ones you love and meet those who will leave footprints on your heart.  May you influence those around you with your goodness, peace and love. 
Goodbye 2012!  Hello 2013!
Blessings to all!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I like to win!

So yesterday we got our first win of the season for Bo's flag football team.  It felt so good to finally win a game! We found ourselves quoting the line from Talladega Nights, "If you're not first, you're last."  That line is humorous but nevertheless some people find this to be their motto.  Bryan has been coaching since Christian was little and we have had every type of season.  We have won championships and we have been the last place team.  I always tease Bryan that the Lord is trying to teach him patience and that the Lord knows Bryan's character can truly handle the loss.  For those of you that know him, you know how competitive he is and losing isn't an easy thing.  But losing every game makes winning that much sweeter.  You have to go through the tough times to appreciate how great the good times are.

Some people can lose and handle it with dignity while others begin to unleash the inner beast.  We all can probably relate that to the current election.  I will not get into a political debate but I will say that I saw all kinds of "ugly" come out in the best of people through this time.  It is amazing to me how quickly we can go from sweet smiles with a dose of "bless your heart" to "oh no you didn't" and telling people to  "redneckanize." I can call myself guilty!  But indeed, we are all human, and fight our flesh constantly.

I have to go back to the Beatitudes in the bible.  A few of them read:
 "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth"
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy"
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God" 
I mean, really?  Meek, merciful, and peacemakers?
I find myself needing help in all of these areas.  Maybe we all need a reminder of this.
I don't mean to sound preachy but none of us are perfect in how we handle losses or personal attacks or unfairness.  But it is through those times that we find out a lot about ourselves.  And it is in those times that other people watch how we act.  I always catch myself acting a fool and then someone says something like "Oh, your name is Hope, well that is just what I need today."  Yeah yeah and I just gave attitude to someone for not letting me have my way.  What a way to be an example, right?  People are constantly watching you and sometimes they make a judgement about you quickly that is not always accurate.  I have made a ton of mistakes in my past and continually make them today.  I am thankful I serve a God of second chances and whose mercies are new every day. 

I have gone through some trials in my life and have learned a lot from each one.  I have been a winner and a loser.  Sometimes I have been a winner on the outside but a loser in my heart.  Sometimes I have been a loser but the fight made me a winner.  I have been thankful and I have been a brat.  I can only hope that I learn from each trial and embrace the good times.  I hope that the valleys make me appreciate the mountain tops.  I can say that the view is so awesome from the top. But without those valleys I would have no desire to climb.  Lord help me to be meek so that I can inherit the earth.  Help me to be merciful so that when I need mercy you will give it to me.  Help me to be a peacemaker so that you will call me your daughter.

I love to win games and I love to be the first place team.  But I have always been more concerned with my boy's character.  I want them to play hard, be part of a team, leave it all out on the field, and strive to be the best.  I also want them to stand up for what is right, open doors for others, be generous, be respectful, and love the Lord with all of their heart.  I will take that over winning a game any day.  Those things separate the winners from the losers!  God Bless!
P.S.  I still like to win games too! :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A picture is worth more than you know!

On Friday KSBJ brought up a topic that hit close to my heart.  They talked about moms getting back in the picture.  Basically, the topic was about how a lot of times moms are not in the pictures with their kids because they are usually the ones taking them or because they are insecure about their looks. This was my story for years.  Many of you have heard my testimony about this but I am sure a lot of you haven't.
Growing up, I always had some insecurities about my looks but nevertheless I was a ham in front of a camera.  I love to smile and was always "cheesing" for a picture.  About a year after I had Christian, I was going through some mixed emotions in my life.  Life was good with Bryan and my baby boy but something was missing and I didn't know what.  I was a new mom trying to find myself again.  Bryan left for work not knowing what to say to me so I just laid there on the bed and prayed to God for patience and peace in my life.  In the middle of my tears, my right eye began to twitch uncontrollably.  I called Bryan, who was a busy store manager at the time.  Just hearing that my eye was twitching didn't really concern him at the time.  Looking back now, I am sure that sounded silly. I called my mother who told me to call the doctor since I have a history of lupus.  The doctor immediately told me to head to the ER to make sure I wasn't having a stroke.  A good friend of mine met me there and by the time I reached the hospital the whole right side of my face was distorted.
I was in good spirits not really hurting and ignorant as to what was going on.  The doctor examined me, and after getting the results of the MRI told me I had bells palsy and that my face would improve over time.  They gave me a round of steroids and told me to follow up with my primary doctor. When Bryan came in that night, I could tell by the look on his face that he was in shock.  I knew it was bad and I knew he felt helpless.
There was nothing the hospital could do and I was sent home left to deal with the ugly aftermath of it all.  When Christian who wasn't even walking yet saw me, he looked at me strangely.  It was a huge difference.  Despite the condition I was in, the Lord gave me this incredible peace to deal with it.  I was able to get myself out of the house and go to church where my church family was so supportive. During the worst stages of it, I was still able to go out in public despite the strange looks I got from some people.  But in having that peace, I never knew what a trial I would go through over time and how much it would effect my life. 
I didn't think much of it for a while until the church was having pictures made for a directory.  We went to have our pictures made and afterwards the lady shows you the proofs you can choose from.  I wasn't prepared for that moment.  It was the first time I had seen a picture of myself since having bells palsy.  Everyone had told me how much my face improved but when she pulled up those proofs tears began to fill my eyes.  The poor lady didn't know what to say.  I broke down!  I told Bryan to get the pictures of Christian by himself and choose the one for the directory.  The whole way home I sat in silence crying my eyes out telling myself that the image I saw was the ugliest image I had ever seen.  And so began a battle that would scar me for so many years.  I did not take a picture after that.
I remember looking in the mirror constantly looking for a change, hoping for a miracle.  I just knew that with all the prayers that the Lord was going to instantly heal my face.  That didn't happen.  I questioned myself as a person thinking maybe I was vain or something.  For about 4 years, I didn't take a family picture.  There were no family portraits or Christmas pictures.  I was done.
Then over time and after praying I realized that my boys were growing up and that they had no pictures with their mom.  I didn't want to smile but the Lord wanted me to smile at Him.  The Lord was and is always working on my behalf.
So when Bo was 2 and Christian was 6, I decided to brave another family portrait.  I went in apprehensively and told the photographer my story about my crooked face.  She said she could touch up anything I didn't like.  Though I was tempted, I bravely said no.  The call came in a couple of weeks later to go and view my picture.  Expecting to turn into a puddle again, I went to see them.  I was actually surprised at how much better my face looked from that first family picture.  That lady will never know what obstacles I had to overcome to even be in that picture. All I could do was praise God!  He is the author and perfecter of my faith.
Now please know that I still have to fight those insecurities.  Most people who know me now would never know that I have had bells palsy.  But doctors always spot it right away. It never fully corrected.  In fact one of my doctors said it was one the worst cases he had ever seen.  There are still facial expressions I can't do.  But over time, I have realized that it is those imperfections that have made me who I am today.  Though it is not the thinnest or the prettiest, there is a story in this face.  And even though I am not the first to jump in a picture, I am getting more comfortable with it.  Crooked or not, I don't want to lose my smile.  I want people to see Jesus in me and I don't know how they can if I don't smile.
As women we all face insecurities.  Especially in the age of social media, it is hard to keep up with all the latest trends.  We all have issues that plague us.  If we have curly hair, we want straight hair.  If we have blond hair, we want dark hair.  If we love love our legs we hate our stomachs.  I know that many of us don't like taking pictures because of some of those reasons and a dozen more that I didn't say.  But remember, God knows your name and knows the very numbers of hairs on your head.  He thinks you are beautiful.  Don't let insecurities get in the way of making memories.  Get in the pictures!  What we think doesn't look right about us, someone else is noticing just how great you look.  Always remember the Lord loves you and He created you from head to toe.  And a beautiful spirit will shine through to the outside.  We were created in His image and that is beautiful beyond measure.
Love you all!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

For the love of sports

What a beautiful day to be outside!  The Rhodes household is getting ready for football.   I enjoy watching my kids play.  Being a sports parent has its challenges but I love every minute of it.
I recall signing up my oldest for his first year in tball and being so excited to wear a team shirt and seeing all the parents beam with pride as they wore theirs.  There was never a question in our house that Bryan would coach.  He loves kids and loves being part of the game no matter what sport it is.
Some people think we are crazy and maybe they are right.  We are crazy about our kids.  And now with two kids playing our world just gets wilder.  We have changed shirts at half time to support both of my boys teams.  Both of us have watched half of one game and rushed over to see the other half of the other game.  We've high-tailed it from the airport just in time to coach one of Christian's games.  Our kids have even gone to evening church in cleats. (Don't judge)
We have had some over-the-top experiences over the years and have made some of the best memories.  Bryan has been an assistant and a head coach over the course of time and he has just sat in the stands.  Personally, I would rather him coach so I don't have to sit next to him and hear him coach from the sidelines.  I have been team mom several times.  Overall the experiences have been great.  We have had all of the emotions that every parent goes through during little league sports.  We have been on the last place team and on the championship team.  We have dealt with happy parents and unhappy parents.  Unfortanetly, we have been criticized and we have been the ones to criticize.  There have been proud moments and moments we would like to forget.  We have had the kid who made the clinching shot and the kid who dropped a critical pass.  We have been on the B team when we thought our kid deserved the A team.  And we have been on the A team knowing that others deserved to be with us as well and weren't.
But through each experience we have learned valuable lessons.  Through sports, we have been able to teach our kids the importance of commitment.  They have learned the importance of being part of a team.  They have learned that in life you don't always get the team you want or the coach you want or the position you want but you do your best whereever you may end up.  Life isn't fair.  And in my opinion, if we teach them that it is we are doing them an injustice.  Sometimes you work hard and still don't get noticed and sometimes your name carries you places that you aren't ready to handle.  But there is One who notices everything we do and one sweet day it will all be worth it.   I have always prayed that my kids would be successful by the Lord's standards and not by the world's standards.  So sometimes "success" looks different for us. 
I am a loud mom who watches the game and cheers for everyone's kids.  It warms my heart to see kids who I have known since they were little hit a homerun or catch a touchdown pass.  I cringe when I see one of them hurt and I get fightin' mad when someone messes with them.  I love to see the kid who always strikes out hit the ball for the first time.  Those moments are so worth it!  In our house we pray for every team that we are on.  Those kids and their parents have been a great part of my life and I wouldn't trade that sports family for anything. Some of the best relationships I have are through sports.  And every year we just get to keep adding more people to our family.
It really doesn't matter what it is that your kids are involved in.  It could be band, or dance, or the science club.  Be excited about it and give it all you can!  There may be ups and downs through the experience but those same experiences build character.  Build on their passions and let them know you are proud of them.  They don't have to be the best according to everyone else.  They just need to be their best and never stop trying!  May the Lord watch over each of your kids.  May He protect them and give His angels charge over them.  God bless!
Go Eagles, Ganders, Texans or whatever team you are!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A little bit of sunshine

We all have a circle of people that surround us.  And like I have said before, we are influenced by those people. We have people in our lives who make us laugh.  There are those who you know will drop anything they are doing and be there for you.  There are those who you don't see often but still make an impression on you that makes you smile.  We have those who always know the right thing to say and know just when to say it.  There are those people who speak positive things over your life and make you feel like you are the best person who ever lived.  I am thankful for those people.  And I am grateful for the friends who give it to me straight even when it is not my favorite thing to hear.  But I know their heart and I know they do it in love.

But on the other hand we all have those who know how to knock us down.  Those who always want to tear you down the further you climb.  There are the "Debbie Downers" and the "one-uppers" too.  You know who I am talking about.  I have always struggled in this area because I never understood how people could be so mean and so hurtful.  I have come to realize over the years that I just don't need to spend too much time with them but to be thankful for their influence in my life. I have made a determination to just smile and distance myself over time.  I know that those people have taught me valuable lessons in life.  They make me want to strive to be a better person.  I know I have to forgive and move on because I have hurt people in my life too.  I need the Lord's forgiveness and most of all His guidance to do better.

Now I know you have been where I have been.  Your kid may excel in one area and someone else wants to point out there flaws.  Your finances may look great to someone and they judge you but they don't know how much you have struggled to get there.  You may be on top in one area but feel you are that bottom of every other area of your life.  You may look the picture of health but people don't know that your body aches every morning but you are still determined to keep getting up.  I know friends who don't always get all the credit they deserve but they shine as bright as the sun because their hearts are so big.  I know people who society has written off and yet God still has a plan for them.  Through all of this I have learned that everyone has an opinion and it is not always a good one.  The key is to not let those opinions define you.  Know who you are in the Lord.

I do know that God's opinion of me is always positive and it is always uplifting. Yes I am convicted when I need to be and he makes my crooked paths straight when I veer off in the wrong direction. Be assured that "every good and perfect gift is from above." James 1:17  He has placed his people in my path over and over at just the right time to remind me that He is with me at all times.  Only He knows where I have walked and where I am going.  I will continue to strive to be a better person and I will teach my kids to do the same.

Though I don't surround myself with people who constantly bring me down I will strive to be more forgiving when they do.  It is kind of like the rain this morning, we know we need the rain but it puts a damper on our plans.  Knowing the rain won't last forever, makes us appreciate the sunshine even more.  I am thankful for those who bring sunshine to my life.  I hope that I bring some rays to your lives too!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dream Big!

  Earlier this week I went with Bryan to a vendor expo. It wasn't the ideal place I wanted to be but I had some interest since it would benefit our business.  I was hoping it would be the apparel side like Duck Commander or Salt Life.  But this was about rat traps, chicken starter kits, fertilizer and pesticides.  Not exactly what I had in mind for a nice getaway with my husband.
However, I found myself very interested.  I did learn a few things and I enjoyed getting to hear Bryan talk to different salesman about their products.  He amazed me about how much he knew even after only owning the store for 2 years. 

  Before we bought Texas Feed Stop, I remember praying for a solid year before we made a decision.  I prayed for peace and I prayed for Bryan to have the desires of his heart.  I was accustomed to putting myself out there but Bryan the realist had a harder time jumping in with two feet.  When the time came to make a decision we were both ready.  We knew nothing about owning a business.  We were as green as they come.  Within the first week of buying it we got hit with some obstacles.  I remember us sitting on the front steps of the store.  I was in tears and Bryan's head was in his hands.  We were beyond stressed!  But we picked ourselves up and went back inside and told the kids we were all walking around the store and praying for our family and the business.  Whether they prayed or not I don't know but they followed our direction.  That is how our family works.  We do things together.  We made it through that obstacle by the grace of God.  Now here we are starting on our 3rd year.  Yes there are still times when we ask "why did we do this" but the Lord constantly reminds us that there is more for us.  There is a higher calling.  I can say that owning our own business has made us rely on the Lord fully.  We still have hard times but God has always seen us through.  He is faithful!

  I think what impacted me the most at the expo was the planning ahead part. We had to spend money on items that won't be in the store until next year. We were preparing for our future. That can be so difficult at times. We don't know what the future holds but we have to prepare as if we do know. We had to take chances on buying new lines and hoping they will sell and appeal to our customers.  I know we have made wrong decisions before but you have to keep trying.  You can't be scared to fall and you most certainly have to be confident in knowing who helps pick you back up.   When I fall, God catches me. When I am down, He lifts me up.  And though my knees sometimes tremble, it is the solid rock on which I stand.

  I know the Lord holds my future and I am thankful that he prepares a place for me.  I am thankful he has blessed us through our business and allowed us to be a blessing.  There are even more dreams in our hearts that I know only He can help us accomplish.  But if he has done it once, I know he will do it again.
I pray that the Lord blesses each one of you!  I pray that you will have peace in your hearts.  I pray that you will be bold enough to try new things that your heart desires.  I pray that you will have His favor and that He would open doors of opportunity for you to accomplish your dreams.  Dream big and let God lead you!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Who inspires you?

I got up this morning to drink coffee with Bryan before his 10K.  We have been getting up together to have coffee for 13 years now no matter what time the other has to be up.  So after he left I decided to go ahead and get my run in for the day.  It is a beautiful morning outside and the nice cool breeze made running so much more enjoyable.
I ran the neighborhood and when I got to the hill, I couldn't help getting a burst of energy to keep going knowing that Bryan was about to run over a bridge and my little up-hill climb would pale in comparison.  Bryan inspires me!  He is going to kill me for even writing this but this is my blog and I can do it.  He can choose not to read it.
We met at work and I remember thinking that he would never look at me.  Well without going into a long story, here we are now with two kids later.  He is my best friend.  He is not perfect but that is what I love most about him.  Sure he speaks before he thinks.  Sure he gets overly competitive at times.  Sure he is one of the biggest procrastinators I know.  But his heart makes up for all of those things.  He makes me want to be a better person, a better wife and a better mother. 
Bryan and I are about as opposite as they come but we fit together just fine.  He is a realist and I am an optimist.  I am the one who puts God in every situation and he is the one who says sometimes you just have to use the brain that God gave you.  If I ran out of gas I may say "Well that was God's way of me avoiding a bad situation down the road." Bryan would say "No, you just forgot to put gas in your car."  But he has some of the most Godly wisdom I have ever heard.
He would say I am the compassionate one of the family but I have seen him stop at every wreck to help.  He is the one who lays with the kids when they are sick at night.  He won't ever take the last roll or piece of cake because he wants us to have it.  He tucks us all in at night. 
The quality of love most about him is that he is humble.  Yes, he jokes about being the biggest and strongest man but isn't every daddy supposed to make his kids believe that.  But truth be told, he is a behind-the-scenes kind of guy.  He does not like the spotlight.  Don't even hand him a microphone.  He doesn't desire position but has done well in any one he has served in.  You will rarely catch him not smiling.
He is laid back and always reassures me that everything is going to be just fine.  Without him, our family just doesn't work.  I thank God for him all the time but I probably don't tell him enough just how much he amazes me.
I am inspired by many people.  I am in awe of the men and women fighting for our freedom every day, and of the people who wake up every morning to fight their disease, and of those out there on the mission field.  But I forget about the every day people in my life who touch my heart on a regular basis.  So I ask you, "Who inspires you?"  And have you told them lately?
Blessings to you all!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I love me some mommas!

To all the moms out there...
Would you say that being a mom is one of the most difficult and yet most rewarding things in life?  Whether you actually have children or just have the great opportunity to be a motherly influence to special ones around you, motherhood can have its challenges. 
First let me say that I had a wonderful example of a mother and though she wasn't perfect she was pretty darn close.  I knew I wanted to be a mom but I can honestly say that I knew more than two was out of the question.  I don't have the patience or energy for more than two.  Plus for health reasons, the doctor cautioned me from having any more.  And when I ended up with two boys I didn't want to take the chance of having a third boy.  I love my boys but let me say if I added one more ounce of testosterone to my house, I would have to admit myself to a mental hospital.
Motherhood is the area in which I always question my strengths and usually look more at my weaknesses of being a mother.  I try to be forgiving of most moms out there because I know that none of us are perfect.  And although we don't always mean to, sometimes we are quick to put down other moms who are not like ourselves.  I can say I have been guilty of that as well.
I always find myself questioning my ways, thoughts and actions.  I remember having my precious first boy but wanting to send him back to the hospital after the first night. All the other moms talked about how awesome it was to have a baby and my child screamed all night long and left Bryan and I both in tears from frustration and lack of sleep.  This went on for at least 6 weeks! I felt guilty and like a failure.
I was the mom who said I would never allow my child to act up in public and then found myself dragging a two year old out of the mall because he threw himself on the floor during a temper tantrum.  I was the mom who said I would never put up with a child disrespecting me and then had her three year old spit in my face.  I also said I would never hit my child out of anger and, well let's say, he didn't ever spit like that again.  I am the mom who said I would never forget about my children and locked my 12 month old in a car with the heater running full blast.  I am the mom who said I would NEVER tell my children to shut up and caught myself saying it twice and asking for forgiveness.  I am the mom who said "WHAT" after my son said "mommy" for the 10th time and he just wanted to say that he loved me.  I am the mom who said my children will eat whatever I cook and then found myself cooking three separate meals to satisfy their individual food requests. 
As you can see, I have done a lot of things that I said I would never do. But here is what I can tell you about me being a mom.  I am almost always at every game, school party or important event that I can be at.  Like I have said before, I am not the best cook, but Christian thinks I am.  They think I make the best cupcakes (out of the box) in the world!  I love my kiddos with all my heart.  I pray over them every night and every morning.  I lay hands on them when they are scared or sick.  I go after the enemy with prayers of authority any time he tries to attack one of my boys. I talk to my boys about the importance of opening doors for people, giving to those in need and praying for the sick.  I talk to them about being humble and how their character and love for God is more important than anything else they do in life.
With all of that being said, I hope you all know that I admire you moms out there that are on the same journey as I am.  We will never be perfect but we were chosen for our kids.  If I had time I could tell you the things I look up to in each of you but that could go on forever.  All I know is that we have to support one another.  We have to build each other up and be there for one another when times get rough.
May God continue to guide each one of you and give you the wisdom and strength you need to keep doing the amazing job you are already doing. 
Bless all of you cookie-making, ribbon-curling, bow-making, baseball-throwing, football-catching, rifle shooting, bookreading, line-dancing, loving moms!-

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Running in the Rain

So this afternoon we decided to stay on our training program and run in the rain.  Bryan had to do 7 miles and I only had to do 2.  We have always been in to physical fitness as a family but we have had times where we have slacked off for a variety of reasons.  We made a commitment to stay in shape this time around.  It really isn't about being skinny or looking like a supermodel.  Although I wouldn't mind knowing I could get into a bikini again even though I probably would never wear it in public.  Or not having to worry about my inner thighs rubbing while I run, would be very nice.  I want to be in shape so I can run around with my kids at Schlitterbahn.  I want to be in shape so I can run the billion places I have to a day and not be utterly exhausted.  I want to be in shape so I can play basketball with my son in the driveway and not be so winded.  I want to be in shape so I can say that Lupus is not a disease that owns me.  I am an over comer.  I am more than a conqueror. 
It has been really fun getting the kids involved.  My oldest has shown a new interest in running since he has picked up some incredible speed over the Summer.  His long legs that he gets from his daddy sure make for a pretty stride.  Unfortunately, momma has to take 100 strides to match his one.  You can tell the influence we have on him.  This year for school he wanted a pair of Asics (which are known to be good running shoes) instead of his usual choice of Nike's.  Bryan and I both tried to talk him out of them thinking he would regret not getting his usual pair of kicks.  I asked him if many kids at school wear Asics and he said confidently "Not really but I don't want to be like everyone else."  I sure hope he keeps that uniqueness about him.  He got to wear those shoes to run in and loves them by the way.
As we were running in the rain I began to see some things pretty clearly.  Christian was in front running 2 miles, Bryan and I were in the middle and Bo was trailing behind trying to finish one.  I looked at Christian and it made me think of how we as parents are so proud of our kids.  We want them to go and change the world.  We want them to succeed and flourish.  We want them to go and explore the beauty of life all while staying grounded in their faith and foundation.  And knowing Bo was behind us reminded me that we still have a responsibility to mold them, encourage them, and guide the way for them. We go before them to protect them and keep them on the right path.  Isn't that what the Lord does for us?  He promises to go before us in every situation.  He makes our crooked paths straight.  And even when it rains, we can persevere.
 I hope that through physical fitness our kids see that commitments need to be kept.  The rain could have held us back but it didn't.  I hope they see that we care about them and want the best for them.  We push them because we see their potential.  But we do it in love so they know they are safe with us and that we will always be right there with them.  We will help them if they fall but we rejoice in their triumphs when they get back up.  We are not the perfect family, but it is our family. And we strive to "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why am I writing again?

Wow! I don't know why I am starting a blog.  Maybe it is because I have a lot to say.  I read a book not too long ago entitled "God's Guest List" by Debbie Macomber.  A friend of mine recommended the book and I can say that it definitely made an impression on me.  It talked about how God places people in our lives in different seasons and how we should take time to embrace them.  But there is a part in the book that talks about following our dreams and passions.  The word "passion" has been on my mind for at least 6 months now.  I am a wife and a mother of two handsome boys.  Although, that in of itself keeps me jammed-up busy, I find myself wondering what my passions are.  Yes, I am passionate about my family but I don't know what I like to do outside of them.  Unfortunately I don't have a crafty side, nor do I have a green thumb, and I certainly am not the best cook.
 My passion is people, if you consider that a passion.  I have always loved to speak and write and have had dreams to be a motivational speaker.  When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be a news anchor.  Life took a very different turn. I don't regret that turn because it brought me my husband of 13 years and counting.  But some of those dreams I thought I wanted to see come true were not in line with what the Lord has for me.  And that is a good thing!
I love to encourage and I love to pray for people.  I love to put smiles on people's faces.  I love to cry with them and laugh with them.  I like to rejoice in their accomplishments.  Now before you want to gag, I will tell you that I struggle with people too.  Sometimes I want to punch people out, but I have to be reminded that I am a child of the Most High and can't do that.  I mess up daily and am nowhere near perfect.  But I am constantly seeking to be renewed and purified.  The Lord has His hands full with me that is for sure.
I hope that as I share my thoughts over time that you will be encouraged.  I don't always say the right thing at the right times.  I will put my foot in my mouth at times and you may have to set me straight.  But I want you to know that I will strive to bring a smile to your face, touch your heart, and share hope.  Most of all, I hope I share the love of my Heavenly Father.