Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Pastor Cleetus

I just love YouTube because when I hear about something I missed, I can see it on the web! Reality TV is the most popular form of television programs today. I must admit, I love it. On occasion I have caught an episode of Miami Ink. Sometimes when the kids are sleeping and nothing else is on TV, I would much rather watch Miami Ink than Little House on The Prairie or some depressing, Lady killer movie on the Lifetime channel. You never know what you may see on reality TV but I sure like what I see on this episode of Miami Ink. I've done my homework, I have not found any major foundational beliefs that are in question with Pastor Cleetus. Jay Baker, yes. But Pastor Cleetus who actually has a church in the metroplex, seems to be on target. He may not be what many Christians would consider to be HOLY but I like him and I sure like his spirit. So what if he has tattoos and piercings! I bet he tells people about Jesus way more than ANY of us!

After reading Donald Miller's book, Blue Like Jazz, I can't help but wonder what God is doing inside of me. There is a stirring that is so different than anything else I have ever felt before. People like Pastor Cleetus are the people that are truly making a difference and being heard above everyone else. That's the kind of voice I want to have!

Deliverance Bible Church
(his church)

And when I googled Pastor Cleetus, I found this and an interview.

  posted at 10:25 AM

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Can I delete my last post?
A few months ago, Oprah ticked me off! In the past I have enjoyed her show and I have even learned a great deal of information on many subjects. But since she is a woman that does not have children, I felt that the following comment was ridiculous for her to make. "When I am out and I see kids acting up or throwing a tantrum, I know it's not the kid's fault. It is a result of the parents and what they allow their children to do at home." Oprah has actually upset me several times over the past few months and it started during her Oprah and Gayle road tour that aired back in September. Sooner or later I am sure I will get over it but I just feel that her spirit has changed. Her opinions are sometimes a little harsh and it seems that her status has gotten a little out of control. But that's just MY opinion! She has done a lot of great things for people and for other countries but her voice has become too loud in representing all of us stay at home moms.

Okay, so back to her comment regarding children. We all have our parenting styles, don't we? Some spank, some don't. Some do time outs, some don't. I don't usually share with everyone how we discipline because it's no one's business and I really don't care to hear everyone's opinion on my mothering. But here are a few things I will share. I am not a counter. You will never hear me counting to three or any other number in order to give my children warnings. In my opinion and James Dobson and Growing Kid's God's Way, counting does not work. Delayed obedience is disobedience, period. For the most part, my children are well behaved. They are not allowed to say "what?" when being called or asked a question. They are not allowed to say yeah. We don't say shut up, stupid, or gosh. But I have no problem with the word FART while other mother's would absolutely have a fit over that word. They are expected to say yes mam and no mam, yes sir and no sir and our close friends are referred to as aunt or uncle along with their name or Miss or Mr. The basics are pretty cut and dry, black and white and they know that. We have created boundaries, we have set rules and we spend quality time with each of them. All of that to say, their environment is stable and healthy. BUT, they have their own personalities and they are sinners. They were all three born with a sin nature so I can not expect them to always be on my good side or always obey every single word I say. I do think that we are doing a good job and I think it shows when others are around our children. BUT, they have their big moments of melt down. They have their fits. They get into trouble and at times make me extremely upset. I feel like I work so hard to do so many right things and then days like this make me wonder if I am doing ANYTHING right.

After I heard Oprah make that comment, I got mad because I used to say things like that. I used to think that kids acted bad because they were not given boundaries at home. I was the one to say, "My kids will NEVER...". At times, a child's behavior has everything to do with lack of boundaries at home. BUT, there are other times that a child wants to step out and test the boundaries. And today, my children did just that. I could hear Oprah saying what she said a few months ago. "When I am out and I see kids acting up or throwing a tantrum, I know it's not the kid's fault. It is a result of the parents and what they allow their children to do at home." Remembering her comment made me angry and I even began to cry.

Just before leaving today for Ezekiel's two week checkup, I posted a blog about life with three kids and how it has been pretty calm and easy. Wouldn't you know as soon as I post something like that, all hell breaks loose. And yes, it was HELL! Ava Beth is aggressive, no doubt and the past two weeks she has been adjusting to a new baby in the house. I refuse to speak negative about her and place the middle child label on her so soon because I believe there is power in our speech. The Bible even says so! Our family members say things about Ava Beth being sassy and how she is a little toot and lately it is beginning to bother me. She is a normal little girl trying to adjust to her newest family member and where that puts her. Even though I fully understand that, she really has been hard lately. She has been hitting and pushing Josiah a lot and even screaming and telling me no. At home, I am able to deal with it remarkably well. But when we are out, she pushes the limit and she pushes hard. Today at the doctor's office, she pushed so hard that she was off the charts. Josiah is four years old and more sensitive. Instead of hitting her back, he cries and tattles on her. This is almost as annoying to me than her hitting. So during Zeke's well check (which was great-he's doing awesome), I wanted to scream. Since I was unable to do that, I began to cry. As we are leaving, Josiah is CRYING/SCREAMING and I am quite sure someone in the waiting room was thinking, "When I am out and I see kids acting up or throwing a tantrum, I know it's not the kid's fault. It is a result of the parents and what they allow their children to do at home."

I realize by now that with every bad day, comes a good day so I look forward to that!

As I read over this post, I see that I have spent most of the time trying to convince you that I am a good parent and that my kids are well behaved, etc. I thought about going back and deleting that portion. But then I would not be practicing total transparency, which is what I always want to do on this blog. I tell you all of this to share with all the other mothers out there that I have my days where I feel like one heck of a mom and then a day like this comes and I have to tell myself all the good things I have done and all the good things I am doing. If Oprah were in our pediatrician's office today, she would have made quite an assumption about my parenting. And through this big crappy day, I have realized that I care way too much about wanting my kids to act perfect. They will not be perfect ever and I need to allow them to have their moments and I need to pray that God can give me strength and tools for the days to come when all hell breaks loose again.

Some of you know that I have been praying DAILY about homeschooling. Obviously today would not be the kind of day to make that sort of decision. But I do wonder how on earth I would be able to handle it when days like this come. Josiah is only four, I have a little more time to decide so until then, I'm on my knees. Especially after today!

Life with three was hard today. Very hard! I am off to wash all of the mascara off my face now. The tears made me all a mess! And I am feeling like I really need to pray about one major thing in this life of parenting. I care way too much about what other people think of ME when my kids are acting up. This will be a journey for me, I can already tell. This will be something the Lord uses to teach me a lot, I can feel it. (Heavy sigh)

  posted at 4:50 PM

Life with three

The brothers (sister was sleeping)

When I was pregnant with Ava Beth, I worried a lot. I worried that she would be colic like her big brother. I worried that I would never leave the house with two children. I worried about everything. For me personally, going from one child to two was the hardest thing ever. So I decided early on in my pregnancy with Ezekiel (my third child) that I would not worry the whole nine months. I decided that I would enjoy every single moment and I would not stress about having three children so close in age. While I was pregnant, people would ask me if I was ready for three at home all day needing me 24/7? I would reply by saying that I was not going to think about it until it was a reality. And I didn't. My pregnancy with Ezekiel was great! Most of the time I had energy, my health was good, my weight was good and my mental health was good. Then came his birth and it was easy too. The whole nine months were a blessing.

After we got our little guy home, I realized instantly how good he was. He is calm, quiet and never cries unless he is getting his diaper changed or being bathed. Everyone that sees him tells me that he is such a good baby. He loves the car seat, the swing, the bouncy seat, and he will even lay in his crib or cradle awake and be content (something my other two did not do for quite a while). Finally we are getting good use out of this swing! I have never experienced this kind of baby before so daily I am in shock and daily I thank God for giving me such a good baby. And this two week old boy has the biggest appetite I have ever seen!

All of that bragging to say this! Things are going great! I have been doing so good and I am already back to cooking suppers, etc. I guess I thought it would be so much harder than it is. This has been easier than having just one. Seriously. Sometimes I find myself getting the "going good blues" because things are going so good that I wonder what on earth is about to happen to wake me from this dream! This is a major issue I have sometimes so I have had to pray really hard that the Lord would help me to enjoy this time instead of fearing it.

Today Ezekiel has a two week check up and the other two kids are going with me. I don't have childcare for them so they have to tag along. Usually this would do me in! Just the thought of having them all three at the pediatrician office freaked me out last week just thinking about it but not today. For those of you that REALLY know me, you know this a huge thing for me. I am not a go with the flow person. Each one of my children have given me a gift of some sort. Josiah taught me as a Mom that I could do just about anything. When he was colic, life still had to go on. Screaming baby and all! Ava Beth taught me and is still teaching me how to be patient. She does her own thing and does not like to comply or conform (where did she get that from?) so parenting her is totally different than parenting Josiah. And then there is my sweet little Ezekiel! He is relaxed. He acts like he is here to just sit back in a hammock on the beach and enjoy life. He brings so much peace to our home and especially to me. He is teaching me to relax and I seem to be getting the hang of what it truly means to chill out!

Life with three was meant for me. Yes, I want one more! Yes! But, Daddy will not allow mommy to talk that way right now. So, I just pray instead!

Thanks for allowing me to brag on my babies. They are all three a dream come true! Every single day I realize I am living my dreams and God has answered my prayers times ten!

  posted at 11:42 AM

Sunday, January 28, 2007
Nominated for an award?

I will never forget a certain day sitting in P.E. Dance my sophomore year of high School. It was time to listen to announcements over the school intercom. I hardly ever paid attention to the teachers, let alone the announcements. On this particular day the announcement was to let the student body know who was nominated for Class favorites, etc. Normally I would have cared less but in my P.E. Dance class were many friends who hoped to be nominated. This was a class designed for girls interested in being a cheerleader or a member of the drill team. That's why we took the class and also to keep from being in regular P.E.. So sitting beside me was a bleach blonde, bright eyed, happy, happy, happy, cheerleader hopeful. You know the kind that smiles at everyone because they know try outs are soon and they need the popular vote, the geek and freak vote and whoever else in the school has a heartbeat vote?!! Well, she was sitting beside me. We got along and ate lunch together with a big group of girls just like her every single day. I remember she knew I was a Christ follower and she asked me to pray for her all the time and I did. She was a cheerleader in junior high so since she could already do her back hand springs, she was close to winning the prize. But she needed those votes! So she smiled and smiled and smiled and treated everyone GREAT! Sincere? Maybe. But she was only sixteen so I would not expect any different.

Okay so back to the nominations. First the sophomore guys were named and there were no surprises. My "cheerleader hopeful" friend sitting beside me had a boyfriend (of course) and he was named as a nominee. No surprise there! Then it was time for the sophomore girls nominees to be named. My friend was anxious. I think she even said, "That would be so cool if I got nominated too since "Fred" did too!" (Fred is a fictitious name of course) Obviously my friend wanted this nomination bad, real bad. And then it happened! The shock of my life! MY NAME WAS ANNOUNCED AS A NOMINEE FOR CLASS FAVORITE! Actually, my name was the FIRST name said over that big speaker!Probably because my name starts with the letter "A"! Of course my friend was nominated too, thank goodness. Instantly, we were given ballots. I wasn't even given the chance to smile bigger, talk to people I did not usually talk to or charm the halls of L.D. Bell High School. The voting was taking place right then and there! Quickly my friend looked at me and said, "I will vote for you and you vote for me. Then we would not be voting for ourselves." Oh the precious minds of sixteen year old girls! You can't get any smarter than that! So we voted for each other! The results would not be announced for another few days. I did not expect to win. In fact, I KNEW I would not win. If I did, something was wrong or rigged!

That night I remembering trying to go to sleep but couldn't because I kept wondering how on earth I got nominated. Surely someone made a mistake! I wasn't the cheerleader type, I just had cheerleader friends! Cheerleaders get nominated, NOT their friends! I was in Choir for crying out loud, I was known as a singer, NOT a looker! Singers don't get popularity awards! Needless to say, I did not win. But I was nominated and for a very insecure sixteen year girl, it felt good. Something was going right for me that year. It was my first year of High School and things seemed to be going my way. I ran for class council and got it! I ran for secretary of the Spanish club and got it! I even had a senior football player ask me out and he became my boyfriend. My low self esteem got a little better but I never felt worthy enough to be nominated for that silly award.

And that little story brings me to this! A blogging friend emailed me last night to tell me that I had been nominated for a blog award. I assumed she nominated me but she said she didn't. So some really sweet and gracious person decided to nominate me for a blog award. I managed to fall under the "Thought Provoking" category. I laughed when I saw that. Lately my posts have been about pregnancy or my children. Now that I have a newborn and I am a mommy of three, my mind is a little consumed and I can't seem to find anything thought provoking to write about. Knowing that I am nominated for provoking thoughts sure lights a fire under my butt! Maybe those thoughts will come back when I start getting sleep again. Will that ever happen?!

There are many blogs out there that have a sidebar full of awards, deserving awards and they display them proudly. So I talked it over with my husband and felt that it would be okay to share this blogging honor with you by letting you know I have been nominated. I contemplated on displaying the little banner (that's another story as to why) and decided to go ahead. The truth is, I feel blessed and honored that anyone would think of me. I am honored, so honored.

Of course I have grown in the last sixteen years and as the age of thirty-one gets closer and closer, I realize I don't have to be a class favorite. I am probably way too opinionated for that but it's nice to be recognized. It's a nice bonus for a gal changing poopy diapers all day, wondering when and if she will get to brush her teeth before the day's end, to be recognized for something. If this is as close to the red carpet I get, I will take it! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm looking for the perfect dress!

  posted at 9:48 PM

Thursday, January 25, 2007
We did it!
I can't seem to get that little Dora the Explorer out of my head today! Josiah is obsessed with Diego and Ava Beth is obsessed with the "backpack", so it's no wonder I hear the voice of Dora in my head on a daily basis! And today I must say that Dora helped me along the way.

Ezekiel is eight days old and I decided that today I needed to remind him, now that he is outside of my womb, how much I am usually on the go! Might as well get him used to being in and out of the car now! Plus the older kids were going crazy with cabin fever and so was I! Well last night I told my husband, "Tomorrow I am taking all three kids to Target!" He encouraged me and said that he thought it was a great idea for me and the kids to get out. So we went!

All morning I prayed and planned and took my time. I knew if I started getting stressed out and worked up about time, the trip out would not be good. Before arriving, I knew what I needed and the route I would take while shopping. First, I needed Honey Graham Sticks (yes we open boxes of snacks before paying) to keep Ava Beth occupied. Josiah had three dollars he earned and he could not wait to hit the dollar section so he knew he had to behave. I told him the dollar section was our last stop. This promised a good little four year old boy while I shopped. He knew there was a pot of gold awaiting him and he behaved! Ava Beth stuffed her face with Honey Graham sticks (our favorite snack) and Ezekiel slept the WHOLE time. Why on earth I did not get a Starbuck's coffee while I was there, I do not know! I have yet to have one! I just want a PLAIN coffee! Ahhhhh.

The trip was going great until I saw that all of the bathing suits were out. I know I live in Texas and we often swim in April but come on! We are still in January! Then I made the mistake of passing by the shoes and noticed all the adorable spring sandals and wedges were out. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an adorable pair that were bright yellow. It was then I heard Handle Messiah's Hallelujah Chorus! But there was no way I was about to spoil my trip to Target by my kids going nuts while I looked at shoes. Those yellow shoes will be there when I go back ALONE and so will Starbuck's!

Off to the baby section to get a few things I needed and then back over to the food area to try to find some quick and healthy snacks for me to munch on since it's hard to have an actual meal right now during the day.

As we walked out the door, it was then I heard Dora singing, "We Did It"!

We did it, we did it, we did it, yeah!

I have to admit, I feel pretty great! People looked at me like I was brave and some even asked how old Ezekiel was. When I said eight days, they suddenly looked at me like I was superwoman. And you know what? Today I think I am!

WE DID IT!!!!!!!

  posted at 3:56 PM

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Ezekiel, Zeke, Bubby!

My gorgeous little Ezekiel Walter!

My post from earlier today would not let me add photos so here are a few pictures. (These are for you Nancy!)

  posted at 4:19 PM

I know I should be sleeping but...
Yes, I know what you are thinking ladies. I should be sleeping right now while I have the chance! But since I can't jump in the car and run to Target with all the kids (just not ready for that) and since I can't run up to Starbucks and grab a REGULAR coffee with a tiny bit of cream in it, I decided to blog!

Yesterday was hard but good. I did not anticipate how hard it would be just trying to get myself fed. I did not have time to sit down with a bowl of cereal or the bowl of oatmeal I was craving. I mean, how would I have time to make oatmeal?! But it was still a great day. I got tired, the nap only lasted for about fifteen minutes because Ava Beth woke up way earlier than normal and my adrenaline is still kind of pumping. But last night went really good. I don't know if I have shared this before but I am a HUGE fan of the book BABY WISE. I have done it with my other two and it works GREAT for us so I am using those methods again with Ezekiel. He's only a week old so I am not forcing a schedule on him by any means but I am helping him along the way. Lactation specialists HATE this book and so do a lot of other people but it comes from Growing Kid's God's Way and I think it is fantastic!Last night little Zeke slept three and a half hour stretches!! That was exciting and I actually felt rested this morning. Well, somewhat. Now if it sounds like I am bragging, I am! Josiah was colic and had severe Acid Reflux and Ava Beth was fussy for a while too. So I am THRILLED every single day and excited that little Ezekiel is so good. I actually have one of those babies that everyone says, "Wow. He is such a good baby!" This is a first for me so get used to the bragging. It WILL continue.

Also I got some great news today. My husband has worked for UPS for thirteen years. It is an incredible company and his job provides enough for me to be able to stay at home with our kids. Having babies costs nothing! Actually it costs one copay of $20.00. Just once and then nothing else is owed. My sonograms, my epidural, everything is covered at 100%. We also do not pay premiums. Our insurance costs nothing. Yes, it is amazing. After hearing President Bush speak last night about healthcare, I realized how blessed we are through UPS. But one thing we have to pay for is Well Care. So I pay cash for the checkups and then get the shots at the health department. It is a beating and quite a hassle when you have three kids that have birthdays two weeks apart. All three of them need shots and checkups! Today I called to add Zeke to the insurance and was told that well care is now covered. Shots, everything! All that is required of me is $20.00! I was so excited that I called our pediatrician to tell him! They all know how I stress about the well visits. God is good! I have been praying ever since Josiah was born that they would add well care and they finally did! That is a huge praise!

Two girlfriends from my old church just left a little while ago. I did not expect them to bring all the food they did. I thought it was just a visit. What a blessing to not worry about food during this crazy time. Actually we have had meals ever since we got home and we don't even belong to a church right now. Again, what a blessing!

I'm still craving a Starbucks, a trip to Target and Old Navy and YES I would like a big fat margarita too with a whole bunch of chips and salsa from La Hacienda Ranch. But for now, I am still trying to settle in. I love my babies. I love them so much. I would not trade this life for anything!

With that being said, I am off to try and sleep. I DO MISS MY SLEEP.

I just read this over again and after publishing it, I realized I sound so upbeat and make this "three kid thing" sound like a breeze. Just so you know, I am having a good day. I will need to read this again when a bad one comes. But every mother should rejoice on those good days and remind ourselves of them when the difficult days come.

Stay tuned!

  posted at 1:45 PM

Monday, January 22, 2007
Prayer request for the new mommy of THREE
Over the past few days, it has hit me! I am a mother of three children under the age of FOUR! Actually, Josiah JUST turned FOUR two weeks ago and Ava Beth turned TWO one month ago today. So they are FRESH under the age of four!

I have great kids, I really do. Josiah and Ava Beth have their days but for the most part I have wonderful, well mannered, "yes mam" and "no mam" kids (MOST DAYS). I am blessed, so blessed. However, recovering after baby Ezekiel is quite different than the other two. I still think the hardest thing ever was going from none to one. For all of you first time Moms trying to adjust, I've been there. It's hard! Then from one to two gets a little challenging also but sleep is still something you are able to work out. Three has not been too hard of an adjustment as far as the baby. He is easy and soooooooo good! But I can't really sleep when he sleeps, I have two others to take care of. Luckily Ava Beth takes three hour naps and Josiah JUST dropped his nap but he will happily watch a movie or play with trains if I need some sleep. I know the afternoons here will be one where the ringer is OFF, the computer is too and I try my hardest to rest instead of worrying about taking care of everything else around here.

And now I am rambling. I am probably not even making sense but for some reason writing on this blog makes me feel like I am normal and not in this sleep deprived newborn stage. Again, I can't tell you how blessed I am by Ezekiel. He is the first calm, go with the flow baby I have had! Third time IS a charm! For sure!

BUT, tomorrow I will be alone with the kiddos. All three of them will be in my care all day long and I will not have help. I am actually ready to face it though. Once I get it over with, I know I will feel better. Also tonight is the first night I will be taking care of Ezekiel all night by myself. Jeremy will be here but he has helped so much, worked so hard to take care of us this past week that he has got to rest before work tomorrow. So what I need is some supernatural strength and supernatural peace and a whole bunch else! The baby blues have snuck in from time to time. I miss being pregnant, I miss that the big event is over. I know it sounds weird to some of you but giving birth just supersedes everything in my life and I miss that day. I miss ALL of my children's BIRTH days. I don't know how to explain that feeling but I know many of you can relate.

Some of you have asked why he came a week earlier than expected. Nothing was wrong at all. I was up all night last Monday night with back pain that kept me from closing my eyes even once. My contractions were not regular but I was miserable. I called my Doctor at 6:30am Tuesday morning and he told me to come in AND he kept me. I was actually relieved because I felt so horrible. His birth was wonderful, everything was perfect. And I would do it ALL over again. But that would take a major act of God to get my husband to agree to a fourth child.

Ladies, I have felt your prayers in a major way. My body feels so much better, so much better. I am healing so quickly. I know your prayers WORK! Please keep 'em coming.

You bless me so much.

  posted at 5:55 PM

Saturday, January 20, 2007
And here are a few details...
Before the baby came!

So tired, miss my Mom, recovering from a pretty bad episiotomy (which was tough to swallow when this is my 3RD BABY!), sneezing is VERY PAINFUL, I have had severe chills and a little bit of fever, thought we were going to have to take ME to the emergency room but the Lord healed me, Jeremy is doing A LOT, after MUCH prayer I am NOT nursing and I feel like I made the BEST decision ever and don't regret it at all (it's nice to have peace about that decision), Ezekiel is an incredible baby and I am soooo relieved about that, the kids are in love with him, Josiah keeps telling me he misses me and that's hard to hear, I am praying that I will heal quickly so I can get some spunk in my step but that is hard to do with an episiotomy, I am letting my milk dry up so I have gigantic rocks for breasts and that hurts worse than anything in the world, my labor and delivery was not expected on that day but I am so glad my baby is here, the day was wonderful and I miss it already, my epidural was the best yet and my stay in the hospital was great, my mother in law is spending the night tonight and I will get to sleep with my husband all night long and last but not least in this run-on sentence disaster, my MOM WILL BE HOME TOMORROW!!!!!

I would really appreciate your prayers right now. We are all doing good, but I am in quite a bit of pain at the moment. And did I mention that Ezekiel is perfect and GORGEOUS??!!! Well, he is one incredible baby!

Wearing their big brother and big sister t-shirts

He would do this all day if I would let him!

snug in the moses basket

P.S. To all of my friends from near and far, I am sorry if you have called and have not heard back from me. I am feeling the need to hibernate in every sense. The social butterfly is resting. :)

  posted at 10:59 PM

Thursday, January 18, 2007
We are home!

Thank you so much everyone for your phone calls and emails. I have not had time to respond or talk to anyone. I am very, very tired right now and ready for my Mom to be home from her cruise. I wanted to post a picture of my angel boy before I go rest. Please keep us all in your prayers. My kids are not at home yet so I am anticipating a lot of adjusting. More so for me than anyone else! :) EVERYONE IS HEALTHY!! Ezekiel is doing great and I am too. Just tired!

Tons and tons of more pictures to come!

  posted at 11:51 AM

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Ezekiel is on his way!
Hi everyone! This is Susie. I got an email a little while ago from Paula, who spoke to Amanda from the hospital and she wanted to let you all know that she was being induced today, a little earlier than expected.

Please keep Amanda and Ezekiel, their family, and their doctors and nurses in your thoughts and prayers. He may have already been born by now; I don't have many details, but I'll try to write another update when I hear something new.

Ezekiel is here!

Date: January 16th, 2007
Time: around 6:18 pm
Weight: 7 lbs. 4 oz
Height: 19 1/2 inches

Everyone is great, healthy, and happy!

  posted at 5:36 PM

Sunday, January 14, 2007
Everlasting God
I downloaded a song to my iPod this past Friday. Well actually more than one, several. Anyway, this morning the roads are icy and we are inside trying to stay warm so I thought I would take advantage and get this house picked up incase a baby comes this week. While doing so, I listen to my iPod (which I am totally addicted to now) and ignore everything else. So before I get back to laundry and cleaning up toys, I wanted to share a song with you by Chris Tomlin that I have been playing over and over again. It's called Everlasting God.

On this Sunday morning, I may not be in a formal worship setting but I pray that I can create that worship setting right here in my own home. I pray that God will make my home a sanctuary and that He will truly be the center of everything we do. He has saved me from so much. Thank you Lord Jesus. Thank you.

Listen here to Everlasting God.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God You reign forever
Our hope, Our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint, You won't grow weary

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God You reign forever
Our hope, Our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint, You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Our God You reign forever
Our hope, Our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint, You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

God, You are everlasting

  posted at 11:34 AM

Saturday, January 13, 2007
Ezekiel's nursery
With my other two children, their nurseries were done at LEAST two months before they got here. Josiah was born in January and his nursery was done at the end of October. Ava Beth was born in December and her nursery was done in the middle of October. Both times I felt like I was behind on getting it done!

Now I am just about to be 38 weeks pregnant with Ezekiel and we started his room today! The third child, what do you expect? Anyway, it's cold outside (30 degrees in Dallas is cold), it's getting icy and what better way to spend our day than painting his room?! Nothing like the last minute! The poor kids are loosing their play room for a while. Our front room has been turned into Ezekiel's room. Then he will have the pleasure of sharing a room with Josiah, who has really cool IKEA bunk beds! After that, the front room will go back to being a playroom or maybe a classroom (that's something I am daily praying about).

So since I am bored and since we have pictures of us painting the other kid's nurseries, I figured I would get out the camera and take a few pictures! When it's all done, I will be sure to show you the finished results! I usually get all into this decorating thing but I'm pretty uncomfortable right now.

The bottom color is Warm Gingerbread and the very top arch is Chocolate Chip! I love it!

  posted at 3:39 PM

Friday, January 12, 2007
Texans are often made fun of for our horrible driving during winter weather. Well, that's because we don't usually have WINTER WEATHER! The weathermen are basically on tv right now constantly. It's all about the weather right now and we are bracing ourselves for an ICE STORM which is not supposed to end until Sunday. It's already hit Oklahoma but they are expecting it to be worse in the metroplex because of all of our bridges and overpasses. The kids are at gparents, we have a date tonight but I think instead we will be going to stock up on milk and bread!

See, this is why Texas is the best state on earth! No really, it is. You know Texans are known for being a whole bunch of braggers so you can't be surprised by me saying that! :) Expect the unexpected! The weather changes here ALL THE TIME. It makes it fun! And wouldn't you know I don't get to go sliding down any hills because I'm nine months pregnant! Thank goodness the hospital is close! It would be my luck to go into labor and if the power goes out (like they are predicting), I pray I am in labor at the warm and cozy BAYLOR HOSPITAL! Sorry Mom, you will be driving to Galveston to go on your week long cruise.

It's crazy over here! CRAZY!!! But this is why I love being a Dallas girl!

  posted at 6:34 PM

Tagged about a book!
(I NEVER do this and probably will never do it again but this is for Paula!)

I have been tagged by my awesome friend Paula!
1) Grab the book closest to you.
2) Open to page 123, go down to the 4th sentence.
3) Post the text of the following 3 sentences on your blog.
4) Name the author and book title.
5) Tag 3 people to do the same.

I finished this book in three days. I loved it! It's Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. This guy is the most incredible story teller I have ever read. I can't wait to read his other stuff. My page 123 is part of a conversation that Donald is explaining so I had to go down a little further than the 4th sentence or it would have been really short and really confusing!

"There's a lot. I will keep it short, " I started. "Jesus said to feed the poor and heal the sick. I have never done very much about that. Jesus said to love those that persecute me. I tend to lash out, especially if I feel threatened, you know, if my ego gets threatened. Jesus did not mix his spirituality with politics. I grew up doing that. It got in the way of the central message of Christ. I know that was wrong, and I know that a lot of people will not listen to the words of Christ because of people like me , who know Him, carry our own agendas into the conversation rather than just relaying the message Christ wanted to get across. There's a lot more, you know?"

I have highlighted so much of this page. It made me think about a lot. When I was younger, I was NEVER open to the fact that a democrat could be a Christian. There are so many things I have allowed to get in the way of the way I PORTRAY Christ. In fact, I have failed in many ways. But, now I am changing, my way of thinking is changing, the way I look at others and treat others is changing. I refuse to be the image of that kind of Christian that so much of the world feels judged and condemned by. I want to change that!! That is why I love this book and the heart of Donald Miller. He's wrestling with text and he is thinking for HIMSELF! I don't know very many Christians that do that.

And now I tag my Mom, Jenn and Stacey!

  posted at 4:36 PM

Thursday, January 11, 2007
I used to go to this church and went there for almost four years as a single adult. I no longer attend this church but still have many friends that do and since I live in the Metroplex, this church is one you always hear about. God is doing some amazing things through Ed Young's ministry. I see how God has given him a lot of favor among those that some of us would never, ever come in contact with. This interview with Hulk Hogan is a great example of just that! I look forward to hearing part two. I sometimes watch Hulk's reality show on VH1 so I think this is pretty interesting.

click here to see the interview

  posted at 5:49 PM

Side effects
I was all set to take this fabulous pill to help me sleep last night. Unfortunately I began to read about the side effects and the warnings about taking it with other medicines. One of the things it clearly stated was to make sure you had not taken a Claritin along with this particular drug. Well, guess what? I had taken a claritin! So, I did not get to take my sleeping pill. Instead I woke up every single hour to pee and my back hurt worse than it ever had. My back always hurts at the end of pregnancies. When I am driving down the road I have to place my fist behind my back jus to help ease the pain in one certain spot. Even now as I try to practice good ergonomics and have good posture in this chair at my desk, my back kills! All of that to say, I am going to try the sweet little Ambien pill tonight! I will suffer through allergies any day in order to have some sweet sleep! My Doctor said that a lot of women go to the hospital at this stage of pregnancy hoping or thinking that they are in labor. He said they all get sent home with a sleeping pill! So I think that's what I need, SLEEP.

Anytime you read side effects to prescribed drugs, it's easy to get a little freaked out. Most of the time it's just dry mouth, upset stomach or nausea. But this little pill said, "Be careful when rising from bed. Take your time and go slow." Now I don't know about you, but when I read something like that, I get a little freaked! That's a drug with some power! Then I started thinking about how often I get up to use the bathroom and I began to wonder if I would just pee all over myself in the bed if I took this pill. I mean if it's that powerful, how will I make it to the bathroom?!

For the past month, I have really been struggling with something that I know the Lord has already delivered me from. Fear. I used to worry about so many things and create things in my mind and then believe it. I still struggle a lot when it comes to driving on the highway. Every trip I make to my mom's salon or to her home, is a prayerful trip. I hate driving on the highway. I live in a great area of the metroplex because my area is connected to everything. This means I can take a back road to just about any place and never enter the highway. But I can't do this with all places. I still have to pray a whole bunch when the kids go to grandparents. Even though my in-laws live two miles away, I worry. I won't even confess the things I worry about because it all comes from my imagination. Since I know the Lord has delivered me from fear, I know when it's coming and I know exactly why I am struggling. Fear is a direct result of something. It's a side effect.

When I entered the blogging world over a year ago, I had no idea the world it would open up to me. At first I read great stories, funny stories, testimonies, things that made me feel warm and fuzzy or things that truly encouraged me. But then I started seeing prayer icons on people's blogs. I started reading stories of sick babies, dying babies, sick mommies and daddies, car accidents that were deadly, rare diseases, babies born with major health problems or handicaps. There were stories of leukemia, heart problems, genetic disorders and so much more. Until blogging, I had never heard of so many tragic things going on in the lives of women just like me. One story I followed had me so tore up that I could not sleep. I cried for this person a lot and prayed for her daily. I could not let her situation escape me. In some ways, I had to limit my time reading her blog. I had to limit my time spent thinking about it. I wanted to stand in the gap for her but at times it was so hard. I found myself being fearful of that happening to me or someone I loved. It consumed me. Then there was a story of a woman loosing her husband in a car accident. Totally unexpected of course. He left one morning to go to work and never came back. Now she is a single mom of three with kids that ask when Daddy is coming home.

At times I find myself going crazy in my mind with fear and worry. I never knew that motherhood could do this to you. I never knew that I would love these kids more than anything. You know you will love them but until you are a mom, you can't possibly imagine how they will consume you 100%. I often think about how my babies were in my womb and learned my heartbeat. Our heartbeats learned how to beat together and even after they are born, they still beat together. They are such a part of me that I can't imagine my life without them. For me, that is a scary thought. I know that this world is full of uncertainties and tragic moments. I know that life is not always great and I know that sometimes the Lord does things or allows things that we will never understand on this side of heaven. Knowing that makes it hard. When I was a little girl, I would sit in my closet and cry for hours. I would ask God to make my family normal. I would ask Him to make my Dad better and that he would quit drinking. Those prayers were never answered in the way I wanted them to be. For years I suffered through so much of that pain as a child. I began to expect things to go bad. When things were good in my life, I got scared. And today, I still do that at times. This always happens as a direct result of something. It's a side effect.

I told you earlier in this post that the past month has been one of lots of worry. From reading other stories about sick babies or sick children to hearing things on the news, I have been consumed with fear. My imagination has gone totally crazy. Two weeks ago I found a pretty bad bruise on Ava Beth's back. Instead of just thinking, "Oh it's a bruise", my mind went somewhere else. Again, I won't confess it to you because it came from fear. I called my mom because Ava Beth had just spent the night with her and my mom explained how she fell out of a chair in the info booth at church. I was totally relieved but convicted by the Holy Spirit for jumping to something else so horrible. I have even been known to look stuff up on the internet and diagnose myself or my children. When the doctor told me I lost five pounds during week 37 of my pregnancy, I worried. I should have been rejoicing!

So last night after reading the side effects to the medicine the doctor gave me, I heard a word for the Holy Spirit. For the past month I have been experiencing some pretty major side effects in my mind. When I don't keep my mind focused on Him, when I don't meditate on His word day and night, I suffer. I have nothing to fight with. The Word is my sword and if I have not been in the Word, I go into battle with nothing! There are side effects to me leaving the bible on my night stand. Fear, worry, anxiety, depression, anger, all of it will take over my life. My relationship with my husband will always suffer. My relationship with my children and everyone else. I have spoken with people before that don't feel they need to read God's Word daily. They feel like if they commit to reading His word daily, they set themselves up for failure because they feel guilty when they miss their reading time. Well, I think that is a load of mess because I know what happens when I am not in it DAILY. His Word should always be in us, always on the tip of our tongues, always in our thoughts, always in our mind and heart. It's His Word that keeps the devil at bay. It's His Word that trains our minds to know when fear is trying to sneak in. Every single time I get out of His word for any length of time, my life reflects it. My mind is the first to go. A major side effect for me is FEAR.

So here I go again. I'm gonna train my mind again and remind my spirit that I have been delivered of FEAR and that it can no longer have a hold on me. And I know that this can only be done by HIS WORD.

Friends, please be praying for me. Thank you.

  posted at 2:58 PM

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Still here with not a lot of sleep!- (revised)

I am still here. If any of you are wondering where the heck I've been, I am still with child. If you are not wondering than it means you are super busy with your kids just like me. Plus being 37 weeks pregnant does make my blog writing so not important or even interesting so why bother?! My friend Kelly with four kids tells me that once the baby comes I will sleep better and feel better. I am beginning to believe her. I can't get comfortable at night or any other part of the day. When I do fall asleep at night, I have weird dreams. REALLY WEIRD dreams! And of course I would love, love, love to be in labor right now like I was with Ava Beth at 37 weeks but that's okay. Instead I will just enjoy these last days of pregnancy and if he comes before the 22nd (my scheduled induction), great! If not, that's good too. Soon I will be a mother of three children! Yikes!

One strange thing that happened at my check up today was I lost five pounds in one week. Usually I gain five pounds in one week at this point. Doctor wasn't concerned so I think I will just be happy that I don't weigh more than my husband and I can still easily wear my wedding ring! Yippee! He gave me a prescription for sleeping pills to take when I need one. So the kids are staying at Jeremy's mom's tonight and I plan on taking one so I can sleep!! Maybe, just maybe, I will sleep like a baby without feeling my baby jab me in the ribs all night. :)My Doctor leaves for Vegas tonight and won't be back until Sunday night. He said that HE wants to deliver this baby, not anyone else so I have to wait. Then Mom leaves Sunday for a week long cruise and won't be back until the 21st. So I better NOT go into labor now. I'm content with being uncomfortable for another full week. :) I think. No, I am. I think I can handle it. No, it will be fine. The week will FLY by! Right? Right. It's all good. I will soon miss this, I KNOW I will. I always do. I'm gonna enjoy this!

So if you are sick of hearing about this pregnancy and sick of seeing pictures of me, too bad. Pretty soon you will be hearing all about baby Ezekiel and seeing his picture! For now, it's still all about me! (Right Mom?) I can be the princess for a few more days. But I am looking forward to wearing every single pair of two inch heels or platforms I own! You know I am not feeling that great when you see me wearing flat shoes. (Right Tiffany?)

And before I leave you so I can lay my lazy butt (although my house is clean and laundry is done!) on the couch and play hand held tetris while the kids sleep, let me say I have some great friends and family! Last week my friend, Tiff, came over all the way from her part of the metroplex and brought me my favorite fast food, Arby's. Before that my cousin, Cara, gave me an amazing bracelet that I have always wanted with all THREE of my kids names on it. I love it! Then my fairy God mother, Kathy, came and cleaned my entire house and did laundry. My Mom took all of Ezekiel's stuff that I needed monogrammed to her lady and it's done! My friend with four children has told me to bring my kids to her house on Friday so I can have some time alone (I think she is crazy for offering and really I am just going to hang out with her and play with their new karaoke set up. I mean who needs time alone!? Singing will do me some good!) My friend Laura is coming over tomorrow and we are doing lunch and my Mother in law is taking the kids tonight and Friday night! Maybe I can get some more attention next week! When else does a gal get this much doting on and attention? Needless to say, I love it! Thank you friends! Thank you family! Now if I could only get Oprah to show up with a limo for a day at the Four Seasons and Paula Deen to show up with some fried chicken!

***Revised*** My friend Kelly Ann called and wants to bring lunch this week! My Mom just said she got me the brown velour jogging suit I had been wanting for my going home outfit! (non maternity!) I am so excited!!! So I had to come back and brag on Kelly Ann and my Mom some more. I am loving this attention! :)

Well, it's off to dream land again. My last dream had Condoleeza Rice delivering baby Ezekiel while she talked to my mom on the cell phone trying to make sure she got to the hospital in time. But my mom was driving Regis Philbin to the airport in Knight Rider's car, Kitt. I don't know what happened after that! Pregnancy dreams or am I just crazy? Probably both!

  posted at 2:33 PM

Sunday, January 07, 2007
Happy 4th Birthday Josiah
I cannot believe you are four years old today. It seems like yesterday when you were born! My sweet boy, you have brought so much joy to my life. I never knew Motherhood could be so incredible until I met you. The Lord has used you so much to mold me into something brand new. Thank you my son for teaching me how to enjoy everyday life. Even though you look exactly like your Dad, I still think you are like me in many ways. I am so glad you have fallen in love with music like I did. Every single day you serenade me with your guitar and I love the songs you make up off the top of your head. You have so much talent and I can't wait to see how God uses you! You are the smartest four year old I have ever known and you make me so very proud. Your heart is already so sensitive to the Lord and I know that He has great plans for your life. Josiah, you are an amazing little boy and I love you with all of my heart and soul.

2 Kings 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother's name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

Create Your Own

  posted at 10:27 AM

Friday, January 05, 2007
Our 2006 story
Not long ago my husband gave me a song by Alan Jackson that he said was "our" song. Of course I instantly loaded it on my iPod and listen to just about every single day. Music has always been something I can relate everything to so I instantly starting looking for a song that described my feelings for Jeremy. He really has changed my life in so many ways. I think back to my lonely days in a one bedroom apartment. There were so many nights I prayed for a husband. Then finally at twenty-five, he came!

I wanted to share with you in pictures the story of our 2006 along with the song I have given Jeremy to accompany it! I was so excited to see had the Leigh Nash song on there. She is one of my favorites! I hope you enjoy the pictures and my song to Jeremy. Happy New Year everyone! I pray that God will make all of your dreams com true like he has for me!

Create Your Own

  posted at 9:12 AM

Tuesday, January 02, 2007
36 weeks with Ezekiel
Hair up, no makeup, comfortable clothes AND shoes! I even went to Wal Mart looking like this! :) I am 36 weeks and READY to have a baby! My back hurts beyond measure, my feet are okay as long as I don't use them and my ribs hurt BAD, VERY BAD! Last night I got up to use the bathroom EVERY SINGLE hour. I have nothing great to say, I don't feel like saying anything else. Even as I type and sit in this chair, I hurt. But I know that I will so miss this in a few months. I will miss being pregnant, miss having baby boy inside of me and miss stacking decorative bed pillows on the tread mill! Instead I will soon be USING the tread mill! UGH! The fun will soon begin. Three children! If only I could sleep NOW and rest up.

If you are one of those offended by bare belly pics, close your eyes because I'm proud of this big belly!

(Thank you Kathy for cleaning my ENTIRE house and doing all of that laundry! YOU ROCK! And you blessed me more than you could ever imagine!)

  posted at 4:34 PM


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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