Tuesday, October 31, 2006
SUGAR & SPICE! It's that time again!
The boring days in this house are over! Not that it really was ever boring to begin with! But, the season has officially begun and now I must TRULY get sleep at night because my napping days are over.

Tonight we are going to friend's house for pizza and trick or treating. It should be interesting. They have four kids, we have two, it will be crazy! All day long my son has been saying, "When is it going to be dark? When are we going to Jackson's house? When Mommy, when? I want to go to Jackson's house now!!"

Tomorrow we are going to the library (story time) with friends and the kids get to wear their costumes one more time. Then as soon as we get home, I will begin my baking!

I am so excited that it is here, but I am a bit nervous too. Thursday is the official day my Holiday Baking business (Sugar&Spice) begins for this year. Everything for the Thanksgiving menu has to be made tomorrow for my sampling/ordering day on Thursday at my Mom's salon. Last Thanksgiving I had a $900 order but I have taken a few items off the menu this year (Coconut Cream Pie and Chocolate Cream Pie). Those pies have too many steps and they eat up too much of my profit since I have to buy pie boxes! So no pies this year! They were not my biggest sellers either so I am not too worried. Thursday morning I will decorate my serving cart (it will look very Thanksgivingish), wheel my cart to all of the suites at the salon, allow Stylists and their clients to sample, take orders, and hopefully walk away with a TON of orders! Then I will deliver everything to the salon the week of Thanksgiving and have money to shop the day after Thanksgiving!!!!!! I love that!!! Yes, I am one of those that would love to be in line at 5am for the early bird sales the day after thanksgiving!

Then the week following Thanksgiving, I will be BACK with my Christmas Menu, my sample cart (decorated for Christmas) and my big, fat almost nine month pregnant belly! So, please say a prayer for me. Pray that this sciatic nerve does not do me in. I felt like I was going to collapse in Target today. WOW! It hurts! Also pray that I am able to figure out childcare at a reasonable price while I bake and deliver my items! Last year my order for Christmas was close to $1,500 so I am expecting it to be crazy! This is why I am putting up all my Christmas Decorations up in TWO WEEKS! I can't wait!!!!!

Okay so all of this talk about myself to tell you, I really, really need your prayers. This baking business is something I love. People love food and I feel like God has given me great opportunities to minister to people through my food. Last year I got to pray for people by name as I baked their Rum Cake or made their cheese ball. I really want my food to be such a blessing! During this time last year, I got sick, my kids got sick and the enemy came at me. I need prayers of protection. I need my home to be a healthy sanctuary!! Also, I am due to have this sometime around January 23rd and since I am already uncomfortable, I am really going to have to rely on other people to help me make this work since I am nearing then end of pregnancy. I really, honestly, almost collapsed in Target today because of this dang sciatic nerve. So I need all of you praying women to pray for me, my family and this business. I am so excited about it starting again, but I also know that I am moving a little slower than I was last year.

Thanks for listening to me talk all about me today and what I have going on. Me, me, me, I, I, I! Right? Sorry! But thanks for being there for me. So many of you bless me beyond measure!

(There will be a few days in November and in December where I will be in the kitchen all day long and sometimes nights too. I want to ask a few of you in November to write something for my blog and I want to do the same in December. It's something I am praying about and I think it will be fun! First I am going to try to get my non-blogging friends to participate and then I will come to some of you. I love showing my friends off, especially those of you that blog. I love celebrating you and your families. I am so blessed to have all of you!)

  posted at 4:05 PM

Monday, October 30, 2006
The excitement is still there!
Last week I checked the mail and found an invitation to a baby shower. I know a lot of people pregnant right now so this was another baby shower invitation to decorate my fridge with. However, this invitation was my favorite one of all. This was an invitation to MY baby shower, which is now less than three weeks away. All this time I have been going about my day to day parenting with my other two kids and knew that soon there would be another baby added to this family but, the THREE kids thing had not officially HIT me! UNTIL, the invitation arrived in the mail. When I saw my baby boy's name on the invite, I got excited! Seeing the name Ezekiel was really exciting, it seemed to kind of sink in more. I don't know if this is my last baby or not. My husband says, "You better believe it is!" But, I don't like to think that way. I have not let myself once go down the road of, "This will be the last time I feel a baby kicking inside" Or "This will be the last time I get to have this awesome belly sticking out!" I just can't let myself think that way. It's too sad! This pregnancy has really been so much fun and I am trying to not to rush any of it. I'm tired, my feet hurt, a lot of things hurt and the braxton hicks are sometimes annoying but, I love all of it! My pregnancy with Josiah was one I rushed (all first timers can't wait-it's normal), then with Ava Beth I was pretty emotional and there was lots of change in our lives and now this pregnancy with Ezekiel has been great, fun, and peaceful! No matter how many kids you have, I don't think pregnancy ever looses it's excitement. They are all so special and this time in my life is one I love. I wish I could slow down time because before we know it, Ezekiel Walter will be here!

With every kick, I fall in love. With every set of hiccups, I smile. This precious baby growing inside of me has brought so much peace to my life. While I am anxious to meet him, I love this relationship we have now. For right now he is learning what my heartbeat sounds like and when he enters into this world, he will carry a piece of my heart for the rest of his life.

I am so blessed. I feel so blessed and honored that God would choose me to be the mommy to three precious lives.

So here he is! I'm almost 27 weeks, I cannot believe it.

  posted at 5:24 PM

Friday, October 27, 2006
1st time being a brunette!
As I have told you many times before, my Mom is my hair stylist. She is also the hair stylist to many who read this blog. So, it is only right for me to brag about my new color. It's happening all over the world, lowlight season! I decided to forget lowlights and just go with an all over color! Since my hair was blonde before, I have some really cool color variations that makes it look pretty awesome. Well, at least I think it's pretty awesome.

Josiah does not like it, he told me so. Ava Beth laughs and runs her fingers through my hair. Umm, Jeremy, well he has not seen it yet but he will in about one hour! My friends like it so hopefully you will too. If you DON'T like it, just keep it to yourself! :) And the eyebrows have more color on them than my actual head of hair. My eyebrows were way too light for this fall look!

Put the bleach away ladies, it's gettin' cold outside! Say goodbye to beach weather and hello to November! Yeah baby! And you know, if you know me, my hair won't stay like this for long. But for now, I love it! Thank you MOM! What would I do without you? It's so cool having a Mom that does hair!

I fixed it for Jeremy, but let's be honest! The picture below is how it will be fixed everyday! I am about to be a mom of three, who has time to blow dry, flat iron and use product? :)

  posted at 6:10 PM

Gotta get this off my chest!
There is something that has really been bothering me lately. Actually it's bothered me for the past several years. So today, I'm gonna get it all out! Ready?

I love what Dr. Phil has done for this country. He has made us all aware of what we need to do in order to be emotionally healthy and stable. He has made us realize that we often need counseling, rehab and more. Then there is Oprah! She has been able to get us to talk about our childhood, figure out where the wound originally started and she has even been able to get a few people to come out of the closet. I like Oprah and I record her show on my TiVo/DVR daily so I can watch it when there is something I find interesting. I don't agree with some things Dr. Phil says, I really don't agree with some things Oprah says but I respect them and I believe they have done a lot of things for the emotional health of many Americans. While I do believe that emotional health is very important, I do not believe that counseling is the ONLY way for someone to find emotional healing in their life.

Counseling works, no doubt! I have been in counseling on and off in my life since I was a teenager. Counseling has enabled me to see a lot in my life and change it. Counseling has given me tools to become a better person, no doubt! There are women I talk to that I KNOW need counseling. And I really hate the term Christian counseling so I will say that many of us need counseling from a counselor that is a Christ follower. (I'm almost done with Rob Bell's book and I like how he says it is dangerous to use Christian as an adjective. It's a NOUN!) My point is, I am really sick of the word counseling being thrown out there like it is the cure all. It is not! It is often a must, yes. It is definitely something that many people need and I believe that it is a tool that God can use to bring about healing. BUT, it will not heal someone. It will not cure someone. It will not make everything better because there is only one thing that can bring healing. Jesus!

Last night I could not sleep so I decided to watch one of my recorded episodes of Oprah. This episode was all about women that had been through Gastric Bypass then after the surgery became addicted to drugs or alcohol. Their addiction to food was transferred to something else. The statistics were outrageous. I used to have a Debate teacher in High school that said "statistics lie and liars tell statistics!" So I have held on to that belief. But since I know someone that this has actually happened to, I believe it is a serious problem. I did have a friend who had Gastric Bypass and while everyone was telling her how amazing she looked, she was addicted to pain pills and alcohol. Six months after the surgery, she was in rehab. As I watched the Oprah episodes and listened to the stories it was obvious that these women had an addiction to food because of many different things. Mainly it was abuse as a child. They kept thinking that if they lost the weight, they would be happy. But soon realized that the pain was still there and all the comfort they found in food had to be found in something else. These women were food addicts, now drug and alcohol addicts. Listening to the women tell their stories, I could not help but cry. I wanted to wrap my arms around them and tell them how their life can be changed forever. I wanted to tell them about someone that loves them so much that he died for them. I wanted to tell them how beautiful they were. I wanted to tell them that JESUS is the great counselor and he can heal their pain. Well, I could not do that so I had to listen to Dr. Robin (the Dr. Phil replacement on Oprah) analyze these women and explain to them how much they needed help. Of course there is no way someone on national television, especially on Oprah, is going to say anything about the Word of God or Jesus or Christ. Maybe every once in a while you will hear GOD but it's in a very generic way.

I can think of a lot of my family members that need counseling. A lot! And boy would it do them good! I recently went to a counseling appointment and it was very beneficial. I walked out of there with a new thought, a new take, a new idea. It helped! The last thing my family wants to hear is me trying to get them in counseling. In fact, it can sound very high and mighty so I continue to focus on myself an not worry about all of their issues. But one thing I can do for them is PRAY and claim the Word of God over them and not let THEIR issues become mine!! I do not like how our society feels the freedom to tell everyone they need counseling. Christians are the worst! Instead of trying to get them into counseling, why don't we sit down and ask them if we can pray for them? Better yet, why don't we just get on our knees and pray without them even knowing it. And here's the deal Christians, people need to be SAVED! (Here's some slang for you) If they aint' saved, they aint' gonna get any better! The only thing that is going to make someone better, the only thing that is going to HEAL someone's life is Jesus! Why is that so hard to get?

Then we have our seasoned Christians, people that know God's Word but don't tap into any of it. We go to counseling appointments, we watch Oprah, Dr. Phil and probably listen to Dr. Laura on the radio but we don't meditate on the Word of God. The Word of God is MEDICINE! He tells us what to do in His word. Many of us don't read it, don't study it, don't tap into it's power. Well, I think that is what TRULY brings about HEALING. Counseling is good, yes. But the Word of God gives us LIFE!

(Slang again) We all got problems folks! We all need fixin' and none of us have it all together! So how about gettin' out the Word of God and claiming it over our lives and our friend's lives and our family's lives? THEN, let's go to counseling!

And just so you know, this rant is not about me! This isn't about anyone I know. It's just about the world we live in and something that has been bothering me for a long time.

Try claiming these over your life today! It will be the best fix you have ever had!

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please."
Galatians 5:16-17

"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." Galatians 5:24-25

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."
Romans 8:2

"For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you."
Romans 8:5-9

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
Colossians 3:1-3

"Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever."
1 John 2:15-17

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."
1 John 5:4-5

"You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."
1 John 4:4

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Phillipians 4:6-7

"Finally, bretheren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, wheatever is of good repute , if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."
Phillipians 4:8-9

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Phillipians 4:13

"Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
James 4:7

  posted at 9:23 AM

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Back in the saddle again!
One of my all time favorite chick flix has to be Sleepless in Seattle. The biggest reason has to be the music. I love music, I am obsessed with music. My husband is astounded by my ability to remember movies because of particular songs. Well that's why I remember Sleepless in Seattle, the music! While Tom Hanks is preparing to begin his dating journey for the first time after loosing his wife, a classic Gene Autry song accompanies the scene.

I'm back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again.

Ridin' the range once more
Totin' my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again.

Rockin` to and fro
Back in the saddle again
I go my way
Back in the saddle again.

Well folks, it's been a few weeks of not feeling like myself. I've been trudging for days, trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with me. Sometimes I thought it was pregnancy and the gorgeous hormones that tag along with it. Then I thought maybe there was something I needed to make right in my spiritual walk or something in one of my relationships. I prayed, I cried, I felt lonely, I felt fearful. Actually, I felt a whole lot a junk during this funk. But sometime yesterday,the cloud began to lift, the sun began to come out so I called out for my horse and got back on! And now I sigh a big, huge sigh of relief. Whoopi-ty-aye-oh!!!

A little over a year ago I had an experience with God that was defining. If I was handed a piece of paper with my timeline charted out, I would know that last September really was a defining moment in my life. My faith began to change, my character began to change, everything about me began to change. It's kind of strange to think about because I know that I am so different now than I used to be. I find myself considering things I would never have considered before. I find that I am feeling a little more settled and content, not always trying to look ahead for the events in life. Usually I have extreme highs and lows but not so much anymore. Honestly, I'm proud at who I am becoming. It seems I am settling in this skin God gave me but it took me realizing how much Christ loves me FIRST. Since I was saved at five years old, I have never questioned God. I really haven't doubted Him or even allowed myself to. My family, friends and Pastors know that I have always remained on the road, never left, just kept going. But there was so much I wasn't tapping into. I could not get a grasp of my purpose. I needed to question. I needed to even doubt a little but I was afraid to. Until, one night last September in 2005, I began to "get" it. I began to ask questions and I began to understand so much about my past and who I was becoming.

I was sitting in my home with a group of people. We had been visiting a very large church in a city neighboring ours and attended Sunday School. The Sunday School department began a new program, something we were familiar with, home groups. Since our Sunday School Class was large, the Director decided to hand pick each group. Once the groups were chosen, we were asked to sign up to be a host home so we did. The very first meeting was at our house. I cleaned, made snacks, coffee and tea and waited for everyone to arrive. I had no idea what to expect. We had purposely put ourselves in a Sunday School Class with people much older than us, some old enough to be our parents. It's what we needed at that time but I felt a little intimidated so I remained quite during the study. I had no idea what was on the agenda, I just figured some sort of bible study. The leader handed me a DVD and asked if I would put it in. He said that the DVD we were about to watch was our lesson and after watching, we would discuss. This video, this eleven minute film changed my life. I have posted it before on my blog. Some of you may have watched it, but it wouldn't hurt to watch again.

Before you finish reading my post, watch this. It's a short, 11 minute film entitled RAIN. Don't watch the clip, watch the film.

When the video ended, people began to share. I knew some of the stories already in the room but I did not know the actual pain. In the room at my house was a woman who had just found out her husband was cheating on her. He had an affair, sexual, everything. Then there was another woman that carried a lot of pain from her Dad who had abused her. There was a Man that had just graduated from Seminary but unable to find a job because he had been divorced many years ago after his wife cheated on him. Churches did not want to hire him because of his past divorce. Another man was a Father of an adult that was not willing to accept Christ and the same man had a wife that was grieving daily over her dad that just died. Then there was me. I was in the midst of so much. We had just moved, just left a church we adored and the leaving was not a happy one. I felt unliked, unloved, hated, and so much more. I did not realize my pain was so deep until that pain caused so many unresolved things in my life to resurface from my past. That evening my living room truly was Holy Ground in so many ways. Men felt comfortable sharing in front of women, some even showing tears and women felt safe in just all out crying. This was a group of conservative Southern Baptists, these people usually hold it together! But the emotion, the pain, it ran deep that night so we decided to go with the flow and allow the Holy Spirit to work.

The Rob Bell DVD was truly a life changing event for me. For the first time in my life I was able to THANK God for the storm. I was grateful for it. I was so excited to know that I have been carried by Him so many times and our walks in the storm have been amazing. The times when I am drenched, soaking wet and unsure of so many things, He's carrying me. Wow.

Last night I decided to watch that DVD again. Instantly I was reminded of how God is working in my life and how much He loves me. Walking through the rain is not always fun, but it is so beneficial. The sun does come up, and the memory of the walk in the storm will changes you forever. It has me.

It's nice to be singing today!

Rockin` to and fro
Back in the saddle again
I go my way
Back in the saddle again.

Father, thank you. Thank you for wrapping me up in your arms and helping me find my way out. I am learning that it's not so bad to be wandering for a while. It's in those moments that I feel your hand the most. Thank you for your son Jesus. Thank you for changing my life and making me a strong, courageous woman. I love you. I really love you. That WALK, I wouldn't trade it for anything. My pain, the years of taking care of an alcoholic father, the years of never feeling loved, I would not trade it for anything. Thank you Lord, thank you for that WALK. Wow. Thank you Lord.

  posted at 9:36 AM

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Don't you just LOVE blogger?
Well I can't complain too much, it's free! Free is not something you find very often so the fact that this blogger site is FREE makes it pretty amazing!

One of these days I will learn to write my posts in a Word document first. Instead I choose to pour my heart out in the blogger compose mode only to loose it for some weird blogger reason. Today blogger went down for maintenance while I was in the middle of doing spell check on a fascinating, incredible, interesting, thought provoking post I had just written! I tried to recover it but no such luck! So maybe that was the Lord's way of allowing me to write about it, get it out of my system, yet keep it from the rest of the world's eyes to see. Probably not such a bad thing after all!

Although I am disappointed. It was something on my heart, something that wouldn't be so bad to get your (my readers) thoughts on. Oh well, maybe I will be inspired again! Maybe my kids will cooperate tomorrow and take another three hour nap and I will be able to rewrite all that I wrote today. Doubtful but maybe.

For now I am off to make my fried potatoes with purple onion and homemade Salisbury steak with mushrooms and cornbread! It's rainy, it's gloomy, I am six and half months pregnant and I need some southern food! My mouth has been watering all day long for those fried potatoes!

  posted at 5:27 PM

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
My best friend in Tennessee
Since moving a little over a year ago, I have been a little lonely. Our last home was directly across the street from my best friend. We built across the street from one another on purpose. While I totally love my new house, new neighborhood and new community, I have yet to connect. Meeting new people used to be fun, exciting and fulfilling to me. Now it is more of a pain! I know what you are thinking. Not a very good attitude to have! I'm good at being a Mom and a wife but I lack some serious skills in maintaining my friendships. It's work and right now I am at a place where I don't feel like I have energy to give to anyone else except those that I already have a foundation with. My family, a couple of girlfriends and that's it. So, I don't really try anymore. I find that I am changing a lot. I am much more content with having a few to spend time with and that's it. In a few short months I will be the mother of three children and I am quite sure that will take up pretty much all of my spare time. :)And I am okay with that. It's just sometimes I think maybe I am not okay with just knowing a few people around here.

Honestly, I am very lonely. I am not sure what is realistic anymore, all I have to go off of is what I had when I lived in my old house. The thing I had that I don't have now is a phone ringing off the hook, an inbox full of invites and a buddy to drive to the mall with or exchange recipes with. Now I have to take both kids to the OB appointments with me, hair appointments and much more. It was nice having someone to switch off with for important errands. I miss that and so much more.

The Lord knows my heart and He knows how lonely I have been. So a few months ago, he sent me a friend. I would love to tell you that she lives in my cul-de-sac, in my city or even across town but she doesn't. In fact, we have never met face to face. She came to my blog one day and commented and instantly I knew I liked this girl. I talk to her almost every single day and sometimes two and three times a day. I don't have to try hard to convince her of anything, I don't have to be anyone else but myself and I can pretty much say ANYTHING and trust that she knows my heart! It was an instant connection spiritually, emotionally, etc. But it was not a geographic connection! She lives in Tennessee, I live in Texas! We like the same things, we like to shop at the same places, we both love to cook, we both deal with similar things and we both are at very similar points in our walk with Christ and seem to be dealing with some of the same exact stuff.I have no doubt, no doubt at all that if Paula lived here, we would be the best of friends. We have decided that her little boy and my little girl would make a great couple someday and if we became family, we would see each other all the time! My husband has already told me we can go to Tennessee in the Spring and Paula has promised me she will come to Texas too! So, there is hope in sight!

I am constantly wishing Paula was here to cook with, shop with, pray with and hang out with all the time but she's not. The Lord has a plan, I have to trust that! This season I am in was always in His plan. I know that! And I am so thankful I have someone to talk to on the phone daily about silly stuff, important stuff and whatever else. Paula challenges me and makes me a better woman! This is a good kind of friend to have! If it wasn't for this silly little blogging thing, I never would have met my friend Paula!

I love you Paulie!

(Be sure and check out her blog. She is very inspiring and such a beautiful woman!)

  posted at 4:36 PM

Friday, October 20, 2006
Site meter
I have always had a site meter on my blog. You don't see it, it's the invisible kind. Over at my old blog site, I forgot to check it. Since beautiful Susie created my new site, I have had new people arrive. So thank you Susie! New ladies that I had no idea were out there have come to check out my new blogging home. Changing my blog has brought more readers and I did not expect that to happen but I love it!

I love going to the site meter and seeing that someone in Russia, Spain, Brazil, Canada, Thailand, Australia and France come to my site. If they come once, then they may have ended up on my page by accident but when I see that they are a returning visitor, I get excited! I have way more people that read than comment and that is totally okay with me. To see that someone has made a point to check out my site and see what I have written really makes me feel blessed and it also reminds me of the responsibility I have to maintain integrity on this site. Who knows! Maybe my favorite President, George W. is reading or better, his wife! Maybe Oprah is reading and will someday show up at my door with a limousine and plane ticket to her FAVORITE THINGS episode! (Which is only a few weeks away!!) You never know, do you? You just never know!

The other day one of my really good friends mentioned her pastor on her blog by his name. Well apparently someone googled this pastor's name, felt hate towards him and decided to BASH the pastor on my friend's site. My friend was hurt pretty bad and her comment moderator was not turned on. It is now! She decided to check it out on her site meter and actually figured out who said such bad things ANONYMOUSLY about her pastor. You see the person commented from their work laptop while traveling and it all showed up on the site meter. Everyone has an IP address! It's kind of like your fingerprint. Did you know that? Well the IP address showed this person's company and instantly my friend knew who it was. She deleted the comment of course and did nothing else. There was no confrontation to be made but my friend KNEW who it was. While the person tried to be anonymous, they failed. The IP address gave their hateful secret away. My friend was trying to brag on her pastor and a mean spirited former church member had so much hate in their heart, they googled the pastor, then slandered on my friend's blog. So an IP address isn't always great. An anonymous comment is a JOKE. You are never anonymous! Really I think it's a coward thing to do! It happened to me once too. Some tacky anonymous comments were coming in on my blog so I decided to check it out. I saw the city and state and time the comment was left and I knew. It's kind of shocking and that kind of discovery isn't great to discover but 99.9% of the time, the site meter is wonderful!

One of my close friends from Junior High and High School works in Austin at the capital. She is a librarian! Very smart just like another former librarian we all know, Laura Bush. Anyway, when she comes to my blog, I know! Otherwise I would think someone from my state capital in Austin was WATCHING me! Also I have those reading that work at hospitals, attend or work at Universities (Big universities), School Districts and many other places of business. I love it! I love these people that find what I have to say interesting or who knows maybe they come back every day to just be annoyed. I hope not!

Currently I have someone that is reading my blog every day during the week that has a fascinating IP address. Seriously, it's fascinating and very exciting when I see that they have come to my site. The city, the state, the location of where they do their line of business daily, is fascinating and I would love for them to send an email to let me know who they are. Their IP address would either scare you or delight you. Well, I must say that I am delighted.

We really have no idea who is reading our blogs. It's such a privilege that we have and we should take it very seriously. I really make an effort to be careful when I disclose things about my family. I want to honor them even when they have hurt me. I want to share my pain, even if it's not pretty. Articles I have read in the newspaper criticize people like me for writing about their life on a blog. But I stand firm in this, I don't care. However, I do think it is very dangerous for us to rip people apart on our blogs. I see blogs where people are ripping our President apart. I realize that is politics but it's harsh. I don't agree with every thing that is going on in our country right now. I don't understand a lot of it. I do vote a certain way and I don't EVER see that changing and I choose to honor who God has chosen to have power over this country. LOTS of political bashing going on these days on both sides.

Then I see blogs that talk about reality TV stars. Some may be criticizing American Idol contestants or Survivor contestants. A site meter will really open your eyes when it comes to talking about specific people on your blog. I think about this with my family too. Am I careful enough? Not everyone in my family has my blog site address or even knows I have a blog and I would like to keep it that way. But I still have to be careful. Anyone can google their name and be taken to the exact site where their name was mentioned, praised or slandered. It happens with authors, pastors, celebrities, political figures. And just about every single blog I have seen where bashing goes on,usually ends up being a Christ follower. We are not perfect, no. But maybe would should be a little more careful.

It's easy to do. It's easy to criticize and discuss the things in life we don't particularly like or things we down right abhor. I may not always please those that come to my site. They may not agree with my spiritual outlook, my political stands or who I want to win American Idol next May but I do want them to feel something when they come here. When someone comes to my home, I always pray that they will feel a warm, accepting, Godly spirit. The same goes for my blog. There are blogs I visit where I can instantly discern that the person writing is humble and gracious. I'm pretty sure that if I visited their home, I would feel the same exact way.

For all of you coming to my blog, remaining unknown, that's okay. I am so blessed and honored that you come each day. I pray that my words mean something to you and that God can use me to speak into your life. And if you ever decide to reveal who you are, I will be honored.

  posted at 9:12 AM

Thursday, October 19, 2006
This is all I've got today!
The only thing I have today is humor so go with it!

Yes, I know. Posting a picture of MYSELF is kind of vain, weird and freaky BUT this is ONLY for my (mom) hair stylist. She gave me bangs. Bangs I NEVER wear. Bangs I work hard to fix only to pull up in hopes of looking like the picture below! Mom, bangs on my pregnant face sure brings out the chubby. The nose is beginning to spread! ugh! This is why I pull them back! :)

YES, THIS is the hair I love! Heidi Klum's! Aka-SUPER MODEL!

See! All I can do is copy! And this picture of me in pink and brown is QUITE amazing! PEOPLE, this is a sweater and I live in DALLAS! Currently it is 50 degrees! Praise the Lord! This has totally brought me a tad bit closer to exiting my current FUNK! But now I head to the OB for a checkup where I will try to pee in a cup WITH my two children watching. Then I will make my way to the scale where I will take my shoes off of course, to find out if I have gained ten pounds AGAIN!!!!!!!! Because I know these shoes I am wearing today weigh at least ten pounds! Kate told me to pack the kitchen if I need to and even the kitchen sink in order to keep my children under control in the OB's office! Oh yes, everyone will think they are so cute but I will be bribing the heck out of them just to get out of there in one piece! Please be on time Dr. Neal! Please don't be delivering a baby upstairs! I need you today! I need you to tell me my weight is great. I need you to tell me I am doing great and that I even look great! PLEASE!

Thank you Itunes! You have made my last few insane days a little more enjoyable. I've got my cd for the ride to the doctor ready to go. Song #1? I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash followed by Elvis Presley's A Little LEss Conversation (the remix), then some Miranda Lambert (a Texas gal), some George Strait, Paul Simon, Sara Evans, Chasing Cars, Creedence Clearwater Revival-aka CCR, The Wreckers and sooooooo much more!! This cd ROCKS! You would ALL be so jealous, especially YOU Janna! (Janna you need this CD for the twins. They would love it! You would feel lots of dancing in your belly by those two little girls! Austin, here I come! I will hand deliver it!)

Okay, so thanks for listening to my insanity! Thank you Kate for rolling out the red carpet! I am walking on it, don't you worry!

  posted at 9:36 AM

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Where's MY red carpet?
Honesty is by far my best feature I would say. You always know where I stand, you always know what's going on. I don't hide, I don't hide my feelings, what you see is what you get. If you know me, then you know that about me. So here it is! Honesty! I AM IN A FUNK! Every once in a while, I go into a hole and stay for a while. Right now, I'm in a hole but so desperately want to come out.

I don't have a blog in me, a phone conversation in me, an email in me. My wonderful communication skills have completely SHUT down. My love for getting up and going somewhere, gone! My desire to hang out with people, REALLY GONE! I know it's not permanent, I know I will be back to normal again SOON. But I sure feel empty right now. A lot may have to do with being pregnant and having two other little ones and a house to clean, dinners to cook and laundry to keep up with. We all get to this point. All mothers reach a point where they feel like they need a fill up, a re-charge, a new attitude!

Really I am just needing a red carpet! I wish someone would roll out the red carpet for me to walk on just for ONE day, one day. That's all I need! My husband has been with the same company for thirteen years. He gets awards, recognition and an attaboy every now and then. I realize we have Mother's Day in May but I need one now! How about you? I want to walk down the red carpet for my nominations and let me tell you there would be so many nominations!

Amanda, the Mother of Josiah, Ava Beth and Ezekiel (Zeke will be here in January) and wife of Jeremy. Nominated for...best weekly dinner menu planner, best mommy vocalist, best storyteller (she does voices), best laundry folder, best organizer, best shopper on a budget, best chocolate milk maker, best cookie maker, best toy pick 'er upper, best potty trainer, best bed tucker, best bed time prayers, best teacher, best butt wiper, best EVERYTHING!

As soon as I walk the red carpet, I'll let you know how great it was! I've got my dress picked out, hair and makeup should not be too hard, and my pregnant feet will still fit fine in my favorite stilettos. I'll be sure to get plenty of pictures too so all of you won't miss out on my big day! I would invite you but this is just for me! I need it to be ALL ABOUT ME, just for ONE day or ONE night. Yes, all about me!

  posted at 6:57 PM

Soooooooooo tired!
A three and a half year old, a one an a half year old and a baby coming in January is starting to take it's toll on my body. I am so tired. Last week and this past weekend were beyond busy so I am still trying to recuperate. My energy kicks in late afternoon so maybe I will write something then.

This weekend we have two birthday's to celebrate, one being my Dad's. I am trying to store some energy for the weekend ahead. Also, my sister-in-law is almost 37 weeks pregnant and her Doctor told her today that he's not sure how much longer she will make it. She's way dilated, way effaced and the baby is way down! She has her babies NATURAL. Some consider natural to be delivering vaginally. I don't! She delivers without an epidural and in my book, that's natural! So as soon as I get the call, EVERYTHING will be canceled, put on hold or skipped! I gotta be there to see my baby niece! Keep Desiree in your prayers. It's been seven years since she has had a baby so pray that everything goes perfect. While I think she is one amazing woman for skipping the epidural, you won't find me opting out! My epidural has already been ordered! :)

For now, I am off to figure out a way to get some energy. Oh I need it so bad right now!

I'll be back this afternoon. Hopefully. If I can stay AWAKE! Maybe you should pray for me too!

  posted at 11:17 AM

Sunday, October 15, 2006
Desiree's shower
I have been preparing for sweet Desiree's (my brother's fiancee) shower for a while and it all came together on Saturday at my house. Now we just wait for the baby girl to arrive! I am so excited about my niece coming! I especially am excited about seeing how much this little girl rocks my brother's world! It's hard to believe that my little brother (26 years old) will be a daddy almost any day now. He will finally be a part of the club! Baby Adisyn (aka- "Adi") is going to make my brother fall in love all over again!

Aunt Mandi, Desiree & MiMi

My fellow hostess (I spent most of her money! Isn't that what moms are good for?)

This was the "Adi-tini"! Choose the juice or tea of your choice, drop in a strawberry, stir and drink!

I wish I would have taken a picture of the gift table after everyone arrived. She got so much stuff!

Josh and Desiree moved here about two months ago from Seattle. So many of my friends, my Mom's friends and family members came without even knowing Desiree. Even my best blogging friend in Tennessee, Paula, shipped a gift! I wanted to make this day so special for her and even though everyone was a stranger, they all realized why I love my future sister-in-law so much. She has become my little sister and the Lord has blessed me so much by bringing her into my life. And this past weekend they moved to a rent house that is about four miles away from my house! I have a shopping buddy and so much more. More like a sister!

  posted at 6:19 PM

Friday, October 13, 2006
a blog gone bad!
Yesterday's post wasn't my favorite to write and I am quite sure it wasn't your favorite one to read. So how about something nice?

I love to sing, that is my hobby, my passion, my greatest THING! The wonderful thing about singing is I can sing anytime, anywhere and sing anything I want! My whole life I have been singing. On big stages, small stages, big churches, mega churches, small churches, weddings, funerals, parties and even sporting events. When kids started coming (the ones I have given birth to), my venue changed quite drastically. My performances are often limited to bathtubs, showers, cars and my kitchen. Oh and of course the rocking chair! I thought it was pretty cool that I could sing Pat Benatar, Shania Twain, Sixpence None The Richer, Dixie Chicks, Plumb, Martina McBride, Fleetwood Mac and of course many Christian artists too. Oh and I can't forget all the show tunes I know from my days of Show Choir! But NOW I can sing Veggie Tales, Laurie Berkner, Backyardigans, Steve Green Hide 'Em In Your Heart, Kindermusik songs and so much more.

Tomorrow I am having a baby shower at my house for my sister-in-law Desiree. She is dilated to a three so I am hoping her body doesn't decide to jump to anything higher before tomorrow's shower is over. With the shower 24 hours away and me doing everything, the kids will be accompanying me on a day FULL of errands. I have been dreading this day. My kids do not handle being rushed in and out of a dozen different stores. They just don't like it! And the truth is, me being six months pregnant and lifting kids in and out of an SUV isn't my cup of tea either! My friend Paula offered to baby-sit but her living in Tennessee kind of puts a damper on things.So I decided to do something today to keep them going, to keep MYSELF going and to usher this day in with lots of fun!


WE ARE GOING TO SING! And there will not be ANY kids music in my car today! NO! This is going to be Mommy's choice today. I need some Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Natasha Bedingfield, and anything and everything that has a beat to keep me moving! I need my energy level high, the kid's energy level high and I don't need to be interrupted by the door bell like I JUST was by a young guy in a suit and older woman in a suit telling me that the foundation of my belief is wrong so they would like to share scripture with me that may help! WOW! I can't believe that just happened! (Deep sigh. Take a breath Amanda, take a deep breath. I can't believe that just happened.) And then He asked me if I read my Bible and I said, "Yes, the HOLY one." That did not go well, not well at all.

Okay, so back to my songs, back to the music, back to the fun filled day ahead! (I can't believe I just closed the door in someone's face like that. But I had to, He was being ugly, being rude, telling me that I AM CONFUSED! WOW! I am STILL in shock. The guys that came to my door last week with cute little backpacks and white shirts and ties were so much nicer. As soon as I told THEM what I believed, they left. They were courteous. The guy this morning was HOSTILE, PUSHY, RUDE!)

Now this is a blog gone bad! Isn't it? What is going on in my neighborhood? This is an established neighborhood, why are we having our doorbell's rung all of the sudden? And why are people not coming to my door to share the TRUTH? Truth I can appreciate, agree with and even relate to? Where are THOSE people? How come THOSE people are not coming to my door inviting me to church, sharing scripture, trying to find out if I really know Jesus?? I don't want men in suits, young boys with back packs and bicycles, I want people at my door letting me know that JESUS IS COMING BACK!

And now my mind is in other places. Now I want to go knock on the doors in my cul-de-sac and make sure no one bought in to what others are saying. Has anyone tried? Has anyone attempted to share the message of Jesus Christ? You know, the SON OF GOD, the SECOND COMING!?

Well, I gotta get ready and get these kids out the door before someone else rings my doorbell! I'm sad now. Maybe it's the emotion of pregnancy, maybe it's me feeling tired and concerned about all of the errands I have to run today. But really I feel sad about the people out there trying to share THEIR news to the world. I NEED TO SHARE MINE because I know it's the only way, the ONLY way to spend an ETERNITY with Jesus!

This is the very first scripture my little three year old memorized and it is so appropriate for what JUST happened! John 14:6 says "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

  posted at 10:34 AM

Thursday, October 12, 2006
This won't be a popular post!
There used to be a time in my life not too long ago where I could not leave a grocery store without purchasing magazines. Not only did I buy them in the grocery stores but I also had subscriptions. US Weekly, People, Lucky, InStyle and many more. Whenever we went on a vacation, it was nothing for me to spend $30.00 on nothing but magazines for the plane ride or car ride to our destination. I must say there is nothing more satisfying than sitting on a beach or on the deck of a gigantic cruise liner reading about Nick and Jessica or whatever other poor couple is being scrutinized.

A few months ago, the Holy Spirit began to really convict me of my obsession with these magazines. Are these magazines really something that is beneficial to me? Oh sure I can flip the pages for the hottest fashion trends but is that all I truly come away with. Do these magazines contribute to my self esteem or do they make me wish the lines on my face were a little less noticeable or that my pores were a little smaller? Do they make me wish my hair was like Jessica Simpson's (I mean her hair extensions) or my abs were like Sarah Jessica Parker's? Do they make me want to dress a certain way, look a certain way? And why do I care so much about Jen and Vince? Do the details of their life really make a difference in mine?

Okay ladies, don't lie to yourself. Don't try to justify this. I realize that we all have different convictions and some of us are not convicted about some things while others are. I totally understand this. But in a world where women struggle with their weight, their self esteem, their marriages, their relationships and their self worth, HOW CAN THESE MAGAZINES BE A POSITIVE THING IN YOUR LIFE?

Yesterday I was at my Mom's salon getting my hair done. As I sat under the dryer I needed something to read. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that I had been dying to read. It's the hottest celebrity news, right? JEN AND VINCE! The Breakup! They should have seen that one coming since they already did a movie with that title! So I picked it up and began to read every page of the US Weekly. Guess what? I enjoyed every second of it. Some may say, "Hey, it's okay. God doesn't love you any less because you read a few trash magazines!" Correct, he doesn't love me any less.

And then there is my love relationship with TiVo/DVR. Oh how I love that thing! Staying at home with kids all day long can be difficult at times. The entertainment factor only goes so far in reaching the woman in me. But Grey's Anatomy, now that one speaks to many parts of me. I like to be different, I don't like to do something that everyone else is doing. I would rather be the first to do it and let everyone else follow. So the hype on Grey's Anatomy was annoying to me. But I kept hearing McSteamy, McDreamy, McVet and I decided to watch the season premiere. That's all it took! One episode and I was hooked! It doesn't end there either. I love this season of Fall TV. All Summer I waited for the new shows to begin and finally they did! One show, two shows, three shows? No. I love LOST, Boston Legal, Brothers and Sisters, Survivor, The Nine, Six Degrees, and probably something else that I am forgetting. Oh but I have DVR so it's okay, right? I can watch it while the kids nap or after they go to bed. After all, an hour show is only thirty minutes when you watch it on TiVo or DVR.

I hate this subject! This won't be a popular blog. Since I have been blogging I have met countless Christian women that share a common addiction. It's called TV. Yes we can try to justify all we want. We can say it doesn't interfere with family time, quiet times or whatever else. We can say we don't support adulterous affairs, one night stands, a woman sleeping with two men at the same time yet different times. We are totally against abortion and drinking at bars, and so much more. That's right! As Christian women we are strong in our beliefs! We have no problem telling an alcoholic or drug addict how bad they need help because their addiction is dangerous! Right? But what about the addiction of TV? The addiction of HOLLYWOOD? Your Pastor's wife watches it, what's wrong if you do?

Oh the enemy is so dang sneaky. He preys on women in so many ways and we are too dumb to figure it out. We wonder why we feel fat, ugly, wrinkled, and insecure all over? We wonder how we can get rid of the cellulite, and make the boobs a little bigger or a little perkier. We see the hot romance between Meredith and the doctor AND the vet and we wish we could be romanced AGAIN? No,no,no. Not you! You have a good marriage, right? You have a healthy self esteem and you are totally comfortable in your own skin, right? These shows, these magazines, they don't cause you to stumble because you are a GODLY woman! Right.

We say we are Godly women, God chasing, God fearing, Bible reading women! We say that we will pray for each other, encourage one another and try to be "real" with one another. I don't see how that is truly possible when we have our heads stuck in an airbrushed world. I was reading something in the news the other day that shocked me. There is an actual list of Celebrities that do or don't look good on Hi-Def television. Unbelievable! Where do they get this from? Well, they get it from us! Actually, we are their biggest fans!

I am all for fashion, entertainment and fun. Clothes, shoes, hair, all of it have become kind of like a hobby for me. But as I seek Christ more and more and more and more daily, I can't help but wonder what other Godly women that I admire are busy doing. How about Beth Moore, Elisabeth Elliott, Ann Ruth Graham, Joyce Meyer, Women of Faith speakers? Are they slaves to TV, magazines or the entertainment world? Is Beth Moore Addicted to Grey's Anatomy? And yes, I say ADDICTION. I know I am. I love all of those shows and I can't possibly imagine NOT watching it tonight. BUT, I am thinking about all of this stuff and wondering how it can be right for some and not for others. Don't we have non-negotiables? How can we have love on the tip of our tongues at all times when our minds are totally filled with things of this world?

It's not a fun subject but something the Lord has been dealing with me on. Hey, I am not about to NOT share it with you. If I have to go through this, I'm not going through it alone. Remember, it can be something as simple and pure as American Idol OR some other show that doesn't show SEX. That's not always the point. It's more about our time and what all we are putting into our minds. How much is our relationship with Christ suffering?

This morning as I was preparing breakfast in the kitchen, I turned the TV on in the playroom to watch the news. Something came on that shocked me. It shocked me because I realized that someone out there was "getting" it. Someone out there is trying to show all of us women to be "real" women. But as long as we are addicted to so many things in this world, we cannot be the "real" women HE created us to be. Instead our desires will be for the all that the airbrushed world has to offer.

We all know it started with Eve in the garden. She was discontent and many times we are too. It's the curse we suffer. I long to meet women that will challenge me, encourage me and make me better. May I be taught that my value comes from HIM and not from this world. Is there a balance? Not sure but it's something we should all be thinking and praying about.

Don't be mad at me, I am just the messenger. There is no victory on my side yet, but I'm trying.

(You won't see me throwing my TV out, that is not what I mean. I like TV, I don't believe that having a TV is wrong. I will still read magazines and I will still watch certain shows but I am just questioning what has become an idol in so many of our lives.)

Watch THIS and you will see who's getting it! Campaign For Real Beauty

  posted at 11:19 AM

Wednesday, October 11, 2006
a journal entry online (basically that's what this is!)
Someone said something to me yesterday that has me thinking. "You are a brave woman to have your kids this close together." I never thought of it that way. In fact, I used to hate comments like that. Instead of being brave, I just figured I was selfish. Pregnancy takes toll on the body but so far I have had great success bouncing back to normal in many ways. My reasoning for having them so close was kind of selfish. My husband and I wanted to get it done! Since I have never completely been out of the baby phase, it's never a shocker when a newborn comes along. I'm still in my mode, I'm still rockin' along! Well last night at 3am when my twenty-one month old woke up screaming at the top of her lungs for the fourth night in two weeks, I decided that I am BRAVE. The night time hours have not been pleasant lately and I only have about three months left before our baby boy, Ezekiel will be born. This should be the time I am getting sleep, not losing it! Right? Not only has my daughter been cutting teeth and suffering the pain in the middle of the night but my son, who will be four in January, is also waking up in the middle of the night. We have tried everything to get him to stay in his room all night long but no matter what, I always wake up to a little boy on the couch. At this point I am just glad he is getting on the couch instead of coming to our room. But last night, he came to our room because Ava Beth woke him up! Sleep around my house has been hard to find lately and I am starting to get grumpy.

When a married couple has their first baby, they really are clueless. They have no idea how a newborn will change every single aspect of their home. The sex life, social life, the day to day everything will change. (No I am not saying SEX is a part of day to day living!) At least NOT with a newborn around! Something I know now is that you have to communicate your expectations to your spouse BEFORE the baby gets here. Figure it out now! Jeremy and I never talked about it and most new parents don't. So much energy is being put into the up coming birth of the baby that you never stop to say, "Hey, let's talk about when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night." The husband works, the wife stays home, does this give him free nights during the week or does he see that staying at home is a job too and you need rest just as much? That's a loaded question! If this is the first, you can obviously sleep while baby sleeps but if this is the second or third or fourth, sleep will be rare unless you time it just right! Jeremy and I have already had the conversation about baby Zeke. I will get up in the night since I am going to attempt breast feeding again but if I choose to go to formula (something that I won't hesitate to do! We are all moms, just some breastfeed and some don't.), he will do it on the weekends (at least one night of the weekend). That's what we did with Ava Beth and it worked so the plan is in place for the third child!

(FYI- I will not publish any comments regarding your feelings on breastfeeding so don't even go there! This is not what this post is about. Here is a clear, set, defined boundary for you to respect.)

The biggest conflict in our home comes from lack of sleep. Some of the worst arguments between me and Jeremy have happened during those months of sleepless nights. So far I have been VERY blessed and my babies have gotten on a schedule before or right at the three month mark. In our house the three month mark is something we celebrate! There is a book I am an avid fan of that shows you exactly how to get your newborn on a schedule and for us, it works! This is why Mommy and Daddy's eyes are a little brighter and things start to get back to normal at twelve weeks!

But, Jeremy and I need prayer! His job is physically demanding and he needs sleep. Unless we sleep in different rooms, which will never happen, he will always be woken up by the baby. Last night Ava Beth's cry woke him up too because it was in the monitor. She also woke Josiah up last night. This got me thinking about Ezekiel and when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Jeremy will wake up, loose sleep and possibly have to tend to one of the other kids. Juggling two is nothing! Juggling one is EASY! But juggling three? WOW. How is this going to work? Once again, I am a rookie! Three kids, yes I am a brave woman.

Ava Beth turns two on December 22nd, Josiah turns four on January 7th and this baby will be born sometime around January 22nd unless he sends me in to labor sooner! So YES! I am a brave woman! I know there are those women out there that have them even closer together than I have and they seem fine to me. They are survivors! It will be an adjustment, it will be a challenge and we will loose sleep. The loss of sleep is inevitable but I am praying that things will not take too much of a toll on my relationship with Jeremy.

I talk to a family member this week that does not have children. She talks about her marriage a lot and how wonderful it is. I believe her. I see that it is wonderful when I am around them. They desire to have a children but so far it has happened yet. I am not sure if she would ever share this with me but I wonder how much she longs to step over on the other side and experience all that I have. But at the same time I wonder if she realizes how much her relationship with her husband will change. I am not saying that it has to be a bad thing, your marriage doesn't have to suffer a severe blow. However, the marriage will change. They have never had to beg their husband or have their husband beg them to a change the diaper at 3am in the morning! They have never had sleep constantly taken away! They have never had to experience their sex life being totally transformed! There are LOTS of things they have not discussed and fussed and fighted over. But, it will happen. A baby changes everything!

Today I am going to a counseling appointment. Before I go, I usually have gotten my thoughts together and really prayed about what I want to focus on. I like to make that hour a success and I don't want to talk in circles. But I am exhausted, completely and totally pooped. Maybe that's when God can work best. Maybe that's when I can be totally honest and open about how I am feeling. Jeremy and I had a argument last night or should I say this morning at 3am. It wasn't a good one, it was not one I care to remember. Today I am tired and I am sad about our argument. It kind of grieves me in a way. It's all due to a lack of sleep and since I know that there are many more nights to come when baby Ezekiel gets here of NO SLEEP, I am not feeling brave. I am feeling kind of scared. In a lot of ways, this third baby is just now really hitting me. I have not even started on his nursery. The other two had finished nurseries at this point and I have not even started on his. Honestly, I am too tired. My life is centered around my other two kids and taking care of my home and husband. But soon, it will be about four people instead of three needing me. Every mom feels this way, every single one.

Maybe it's the lack of sleep that is making me so emotional today but I need prayer. So, send a HUGE shout out up to our heavenly Father for this tired Mama! I need energy today. Can you believe I am taking both kids to get my hair done at my mom's salon? Well, I have to. No sitter! A Moms gotta do what a moms gotta do! I would much rather go for a massage or pedicure but that would require a babysitter too! :) I am also having a baby shower this weekend at my house for my future sister-in-law AND I am doing all the food, the cake, everything. I want to, I love doing all of it but I need an extra boost to get it done. Prayer will do it, I know it will!

Pray for my sweet husband too. I am sure he is needing some strength today at UPS! Brown can't do anything for you when brown is tired!

  posted at 10:36 AM

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Our favorite park

  posted at 10:44 AM

Pumpkin Patch 2006

  posted at 8:11 AM

Monday, October 09, 2006
A daily fight to be who I am
About five years ago, I went through an amazing Life Management program created by Dr. Phil. My husband also went through the program before I met him so it's nice to have some tools in our marriage we both can rely on. I know that I can say certain things when we have conflict that will remind him of our training and how we must use those tools we paid so much money to get! However, as time goes by, it's easy to forget. Life constantly throws curve balls our way and we have to remind ourselves of what we have fought to become. Both of us grew up in difficult situations beyond the word dysfunction. As we try to create a healthy atmosphere and environment for our home and for our children, we often have to fight. We have to fight against our past and figure out how to do this thing called "Family" the Godly way. Since we were not taught how to do this, it takes a lot of prayer and a lot of tools to show us the way. It's not easy and it never will be.

Really it doesn't matter whether or not you grew up in a healthy home or not. No one had the perfect mother or the perfect Father. No matter how hard we try, our kids will still grow up struggling with issues of their own. Some of it will be self taught and some of it will be junk that WE taught them. It's another example of why we need a Savior so bad in this life. As we figure out who we are in Christ, we learn that there are so many things in our lives that don't match up with His will for our lives. The way we handle situations, the way we handle conflict, the way we treat ourselves, the way we treat others. Everyone has their own luggage in life to carry. I have yet to meet someone that I think doesn't have problems. When we learn how to handle those problems or struggles/sin, we have to work at keeping them at bay. A drug addict or an alcoholic has to be extreme. He has to change his entire lifestyle by staying away from friends or staying away from every single thing that may trigger a relapse. Eventually the sobriety will be tested (I saw this happen with my dad) and the addict will be put in a situation where he/she is tempted to drink or do drugs again. This is when all of their rehabilitation comes in and has to fight. The alcoholic has to work the program and fight for the ground he has gained. If not, all that one has worked so hard for will be stolen in a heartbeat.

I remember sitting in the last session before graduating from Pathways and listening to my trainer instruct us for what was to come. "After graduating from Pathways, you will be tested. When you walk out those doors and you go back to your job, your marriage, your life, everything you have worked so hard for these past four months will be tested in every way imaginable. The people that are supposed to love you the most, your family, will come against you like never before when you work this training." Those words did not scare me, I was ready! I had worked hard to believe in myself and I knew that God had a purpose for my life and a purpose for my pain. Now I had tools, I knew how to set boundaries, I knew how to respond instead of react. But, I was a newlywed and the journey had only just begun.

When I got married I had something kind of deadly that I brought into the relationship. It was a picture. I must say it was a beautiful picture. A picture of me in the kitchen baking pies with all the ladies at Thanksgiving and Christmas. A picture of me shopping with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. A picture of family vacations, a picture of all of us taking family portraits together or having Sunday afternoon meals. But there was a huge problem with my picture, it wasn't real. My picture was all of my expectations and as we all know, expectations can bring about a lot of pain in life. We are often disappointed all because of expectations.

I have heard preachers and counselors and even Dr. Phil say many times that you can't go into marriage expecting it to make all of your dreams come true. You have to go into with a healthy picture of yourself first. Of course I thought I did and in many ways I was ready. But marriage does something that only marriage can do. It brings out everything! When you live with someone day in and day out, things come to the surface. That's where our luggage comes in! I remember when Jeremy and I moved all of our stuff into our first apartment. He had kind of a nautical them going on in all of the decorations he brought. It looked great and it was perfect for a bachelor but I was not about to live in an apartment decorated with boats and stuff. Much like the physical things we bring into a marriage, we also bring in much more. Some things I love about Jeremy but some I was not willing to budge on. And I am sure if he were writing anything in this entry today, he would have no problem saying that I was a little difficult to live with too. Eventually we learned one another's dance and the day in and day out of living wasn't bad. He knows I don't always put my shoes up and he no longer fusses at me when they are laying in the middle of our bedroom. But emotionally, personality wise, we are as different as night and day! And honestly, that is the biggest thing I love about our relationship. I am a people person and will talk to any stranger around. My husband is quiet, shy and would not feel comfortable going to a party without me. It's just not his thing. He has taught me how to relax, how to be quiet and to enjoy being at home. I have taught him how to have fun, laugh and act like a crazy person! He now listens to the radio in the car on full blast too, just like me! We are good together, that's a sure thing. But every once in a while, our relationship is tested. All married couples know, arguments are never over new things. There are never really NEW battles. Nope! Instead, it's the same old stuff. It's the same conflict that comes around over and over again. Until resolution has truly been found, the conflict keeps on coming. Our same old conflict? Family.

As I mentioned before, I had lots of expectations on marriage. If you have been a frequent reader of my blog, you know that I had some what of a difficult childhood. Okay, very difficult. A lot of my adult years have been spent grieving over that childhood. Marrying someone that had a Mom and a sister gave me hope. I really thought that all that I had ever wanted could be fulfilled by this new family and even through these women. Almost instantly after becoming engaged, I realized that those things I wanted so badly were not going to happen. At least they were not going to happen in my timing. What made it even more difficult was a relationship I had prior to meeting my husband. It was a dating relationship that lasted for almost three years. The guy I dated had a sister that I was very close to. Even after a breakup with her brother, we remained very close and I remained close with the entire family. In fact that relationship should not have lasted as long as it did but I was in love with the family and it met a huge need. When I married Jeremy, the Lord showed me pretty soon how much I was looking to others to make me happy. All the pain I had endured, I wanted to get rid of. So I constantly looked to others to fulfill that need and take all of the pain away. Every single time I did that, I was disappointed. The conflict was bad and things were said between me and my husband's family that I still have to pray that God will help me forget. This is an area that the enemy works double time on to keep me from experiencing peace in those relationships.

Once Jeremy and I were settled, Josiah came along about a year and a half later and I realized that the problem was not resolved. Now there was a grandchild in the mix and the conflict only got worse. Many nights when I rested my head on my pillow to sleep, I felt like I had made a mistake. I actually thought that there was no way God would purposely put me with a man that had family issues too. After all I had been through enough of that growing up, didn't he want to put me with a family that did not have problems?! Jeremy had faced divorce as a child too, so how on earth could we possibly have a marriage or raise a family when we both came from so much junk? I found myself angry at God. I felt like I had been cheated.
I had been through Pathways, shouldn't I be free of all this crap inside?! Christian counseling was a regular part of my life, why was I not getting this??

The Lord had so much He wanted to teach me. Thankfully my ears were tuned into him and He showed me that a perfect little family was not going to heal my pain. I had to find peace and contentment in MYSELF through the love of Christ. That's the program I had to work! That's the training I had to apply to my life and THAT is what I had to work very hard at remembering DAILY.

I have shared with you before that the title of my old blog, Far More Than Rubies, was totally Holy Spirit inspired. The Lord gave me that title because I have to CHOOSE to remember daily that I am worth far more than rubies. When things are not going my way, when all that I have worked so hard for is threatened, I have to remember I am worth far more than rubies. When feelings of rejection come, oh and they will! I have to remember that I was created for something beautiful! When all the ground I have gained is in jeopardy, I have to tell myself, "Amanda, you were created for something beautiful!"

This weekend, my ground was shaken. All that I had worked so hard for, all that I had put behind me and all that I began to love about myself was put under the fire. I had to choose. Do I listen to the old tapes of what I used to feel and believe about myself? Or is this when I stand firm and protect all that I have fought for? I chose to fight! I chose to protect and I chose to not be robbed of that woman I am working hard to become. I had to find the truth and I had to find it FAST! I actually found myself sitting in a spot, in the midst of conflict, telling myself the truth. "This moment does not define you. This is not who you are! Do not allow yourself to fall back. YOU ARE WORTH FAR MORE THAN RUBIES! YOU ARE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL!" I experienced victory and that is something I am proud of.

When conflict comes from an outside source, my marriage is always tested. I want Jeremy to stand up for me, be the man and stand by his wife. Often I am disappointed with his way of resolve. That's when I take it out on him. I yell and scream, slam doors and go in my closet and cry. But once again, I had to fight. I had to remind myself that my husband was not created to supply all of my needs. He can't be perfect, he can't read my mind and he can't understand everything I feel. While I wish He would handle things differently, it's better for me to keep my mouth shut and pray for Him. And that's a victory for me, HUGE! And THAT is something I am proud of!

Far More Than Rubies and Something Beautiful was threatened this weekend. I could have been robbed, I could have given someone else total control over how I feel about AMANDA. But I chose to fight and keep the ground I am standing on. For I know it will be tested again, the conflict is not resolved. So I'm going to go to a Christian counselor this week and get some help. I need resolve. Christ is my counselor, my healer, my Savior and so much more and He will help me every step of the way. But I know He can also use the voice of a Christian counselor to help Jeremy and I BOTH find our way in the midst of things like this.

Lord Jesus, I am not the woman I used to be. I have a solid foundation to stand on, please help me to stand firm. Help me to not allow my ground to be shaken so easily. I know who I am, I know how far I have come. Please continue to remind me daily that I do not have to live in the land where I once lived! You have brought me to a new place and I want to live there with joy! I pray that you can use my story, my struggles to help other women facing the same thing. If I have to be the one to learn it on order to teach others, I am willing. But, I need your help EVERY STEP OF THE WAY! I love you Lord, thank you for being my FATHER.

  posted at 2:03 PM

Friday, October 06, 2006
Something Beautiful
As a little girl, I dreamt of being beautiful. The women in my family were beautiful women. They knew how to dress, how to walk, how to fix their hair, how to outwardly look beautiful. I associated so much of my self worth on looking beautiful. My older cousin, Shawna, seemed to have it all. She was two years older than me and gorgeous! Constantly I compared myself to her. If she did dance, I wanted to be in dance. If it happened to be cheerleading, I wanted to be a cheerleader. Her life seemed so much better than mine so, my envy ran deep. It even seemed that she had favor with our grandparents and every other family member. Whenever the Holidays rolled around, the family would all gather for food, presents and fun. No matter what, she always ended up in the middle of the room. Somehow she was always the star, always the one that was told how pretty she was, always the one that was skinny, always the one that had beautiful long hair. Even my own parents gave her a lot more attention than they did me. So every single time I was around her, I felt ugly. I tried for a while to be as likeable and beautiful as her. But after a while, I gave up. Each time all the cousins were together, I was the one that got into trouble. I was the one that ended up crying. Deep down, I truly felt that no one liked "Mandi."

Today our society is very aware, thanks to people like Dr. Phil, that you don't say certain things to a child. There were things said to me that I can't even fathom saying to my own children. I was called names, yelled at, and much more. My Dad told me to shut up just about every single time I opened my mouth. I have always love to sing, love to talk and just be silly. Somehow after all the junk I grew up in, I turned out to be a pretty gregarious gal. You would think that based on the past, I would be timid and shy. But, the Lord did not allow me to be robbed of the personality I was born with. Thank you Lord! No matter how many times my Dad told me to shut up or quit singing along to the radio, I kept doing it. I kept talking, asking questions, and I kept singing along to everything on the radio. My Dad couldn't stand it. If I talked too much, he sent me to my room. If I asked too many questions, he told me how annoying I was. I learned then, that I did not have much value. Then when I would get together with all of my cousins, I would instantly feel like no one liked me. I instantly felt like I was not valued. With each birthday, it got worse.

My grandparents lived on a farm and my cousins and I would go visit them at the same time during the Summers. One particular day, we were all playing out in a pasture. I can still see us jumping off bales of hay. I don't remember the argument but we all got into it pretty bad. We went back to my grandparent's house arguing and I was crying. My grandmother did something to me that day that she probably thought was a good idea but it proved to be the worst thing ever. She made me sit in a room by myself and stare into a hand held mirror, it was gold. I can see it perfectly. When she handed me the mirror she said this. "Mandi, I want you to look in this mirror and see how ugly you are! You can't get along with anyone and no one wants to be around you because you are so ugly." It seemed like an eternity that I was forced to hold on to that mirror. I was only eight years old, but it was then that I learned I was ugly. With each birthday, it got worse.

It seems that my entire life has been spent trying to learn that I truly do have value. I wasn't taught that I have value, I have had to learn it every step of the way. My unhealthy view of beauty made me always look to others for affirmation. I constantly compared myself to others and figured that if I could be like them, I would be okay. Before I knew it, I was the star like my cousin. I was singing to thousands of people each weekend and finding so much value in the praise of other people. For a while, it fulfilled my need. But no matter how many great things I heard or how much affirmation I was given, the applause no longer fulfilled me. I had to learn my value was something so much more. It didn't matter how good I could sing, how funny I could be or how many heads I could turn. I did not like myself.

Through the years as an adult, it got better. The Lord delivered me of so much pain and showed me that I was a woman of value for many reasons. But until this past year, I never understood what I was supposed to do with all of the pain I had endured. If I experienced rejection or hurt in any way, I instantly felt like the little eight year old girl all over again. I continued to talk, give my opinions and be the life of the party but inside I was constantly doubting myself. Constantly I felt like no one liked "Mandi". Somehow, the Lord got my attention. I don't know exactly what it took, I think it was me realizing that I couldn't continue carrying my pain. Plus I realized that I did not HAVE to carry my pain. It wasn't mine to carry. It was time for me to truly tap into the benefits of being a Christ follower! When He got my attention, I began to understand that my timeline had a purpose and that the more I allowed it to come to surface, the more it could be sanctified and used.

I have spilled my guts many times on this blog. I have never done it for sympathy or praise. That is not my purpose. I have shared many things because I have to! The Lord wants me to share my timeline! He wants me to experience victory and the only way I can do that is by being myself. If I am truly myself, then it won't matter what you think about me. It won't matter how many deep and dark things I share from my past. This is who I am. This is who I was created to be. My timeline is a gift and I don't want anyone else's but my own. And that is the TRUTH! I like the woman that I am, the wife that I am and the mother I am. Days come full of struggles and I sometimes have to remind myself of that truth. But one thing that God shows me over and over and over again is that He longs to use my pain. He cannot use me trying to be someone else. He cannot use me lying to myself. He cannot use me pretending. He cannot use me being prideful or holier than thou. He cannot, He will not use me wearing a mask. I am totally ineffective unless I am totally being ME. So, that's what you are gonna get! When you come to this blog, I want you to find the truth and me hiding behind a perfect little home with a perfect little husband and perfect little kids is not the truth. We are FAR from perfect.

We were all created for something! Something wonderful, something great, something totally different than anyone else. What you were created for may not be what I was created for. But isn't that awesome? God has a plan for each one of us and it's a pretty amazing plan. So today, on October 6th, 2006, I will let you in on a secret that the Holy Spirit whispered into my ear. It's a secret meant to be shared!


And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3

  posted at 11:21 AM


Location: Austin, Texas

Mommy, Mama, Mandi, Amanda, Babe and whatever else you want to call me! How do I have time to blog with three kids under the age of four? I'm up until midnight and usually later!

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