Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The List Girl

My friend Alicia gave the girls a book titled the "Philadelphia Chickens" by Sandra Boynton. It is a book of silly songs that comes with a CD. We listened to that CD for about a month straight. The girls love it. All that to say, there is a song on there that states, "I'm very very busy and I've got a lot to do and I don't have a minute to explain it all to you. For on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday there are people we must see and on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday we're as busy as can be." May favorite line is, "we've got to eat our lunches that we don't have time to chew." The entire song is sung at a very fast pace.

This song explains how I'm feeling right now. June is going to be so busy for us that I honestly can't sleep at night. The past three of four days I have not been able to go to bed until midnight, and even then when I lay down I think about all the things I've got to do and still all the things I need to plan to get done this summer. Today I have finally realized why I have let all of this catch up with me, I haven't made any lists. I am a huge list person. Going on a trip: I make a packing list; planning a party: I make a list; planning to teach at VBS: I make a list; having a baby: I make a list. And each event or activity actually usually has several lists. This is my way of controlling the event in my head. I started some of my lists for our vacation, but have not finished them (and our vacation is 20 days away). I have not done any lists for my involvement in VBS (teaching a class all week and in charge of food for one night), nor have I done any lists for Tiffany's shower. And because these things are not written not in order my mind won't rest at night. And right now, I'm too busy to make my lists. I guess for my peace of mind though I had better make time. I'm laughing as I write this blog b/c I realize how pathetic it all sounds, but that is me. I'm the list girl.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sometimes a Girl Needs to be Saved

When I was younger my dad tried to teach me about cars. I even helped some as we got my first car ready to drive, a 1984 3/4 ton pickup truck. However, that has been over 10 years ago. I know a few things about cars, but for the most part I'm completely ignorant.

Because I am the only employee I run work errands on my lunch (going to the courthouse, bank, and post office). Well today I had to go to what I call the old courthouse (the one where you get your drivers license). I pulled into the parking spot and I felt the tire hit the curb. I, for some reason, don't like my tires to touch the curb. So I put my truck in reverse and then I heard a sound. I got out and looked, you could hear the air coming out of my tire. There was a hole in the sidewall of my tire. I have no clue how to change a tire, so I called my dad. My dad dropped what he was doing and came straight there to change my tire. Some of you might not know this but my dad has had several health problems and has a bad knee, a bad back, and is living with blood clots in his legs. He is down to about 150 pounds being around 5'11". I told him I would do everything if he would tell me what to do, but he would not let me help. He did it all. I just kept thanking him. He, being my dad, then told me that I really needed to get the tires replaced because the other front tire is in really bad shape as well. I told him I knew this but that we had not had the money. He told me some options I had and promised him I would get it taken care of.

When Joe took the job in Greenville he and I discussed long and hard the fact that he would not be close by if I needed him for anything. We had decided that we thought we had enough people close by that it would be okay for him to be an hour away. Today was one of those days. I just do not know what I would have done had my dad not been here to help me and save me. Now, there was no one to save me from the humiliation and embarrassment as the wind lifted my skirt completley up (yeah everyone saw my green panties) as I came out of the courthouse.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

God Provides

‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things." Matthew 6:25-32 NRSV

Today you find me worried about money. I am often worried about money for we live paycheck to paycheck, week to week as many people do. Some weeks are harder than others, and this has been an extremely tight and rough week. I have looked at everything trying to figure out how we would make it to the end of the week. We have money set aside for our first real family vacation in June but I know if I pull from it, that money may never get replaced. Oh, the stresses of being a responsible adult. In my stress, I find comfort in Matthew 6:25-32, because God has proven this to me over and over again. God has always taken care of us either by providing an opportunity or having someone that we can ask for help from. In all honestly sometimes I can get all down and out and poor pitiful me because we have a tiny house (approximately 1200 square feet) whereas some people have much bigger and nicer houses filled with nice things; because we have three vehicles all in need of repair and the youngest six years old; because I would so desparately love to have another child but I know that we could never afford daycare and college for three. And yet again, on those days that I fall into that pit these verses lift me back up. No, we may not have a big house, but we do have a house that protects and shelters us. I love our house, some of it still needs updating and at some point it probably will get to be to small for us, but it is ours and I love it. Yes we have three vehicles that need repair, but they work well enough to get us where we need to go. Another child may or may not be in our future, no matter though God has blessed us with the two most beautiful amazing children. They are our wolrd and I love them more than life itself. I know all of this and this comforts me. And like I said, God has always provided.

I remember I graduated from high school, went on my senior cruise, and when I got back my dad told me I had to get a job. It was Memorial Day weekend and so I made some calls and found an attorney's office in Wetumpka that was looking to hire. I barely put any effort into the entire process. I have now been here nine years this June. I love my job and it is a great one. When I found out that I was pregnant with our second child I cried because I had no idea how we were going to afford the daycare or other many many expenses of raising a child. Shortly thereafter Joe was offered a job in Greenville with the same company. Without that job we would not have been able to pay for Jolie. God again provided by giving us our house. We were living a in trailer that was a little run down and it was not the best to raise children in. God gave us our house, we didn't have to search for it and it was sold to us way below market value. Back in December we found out that the girls' daycare at the time was having to raise their rates, our rate was going to go up $56.00 a week. We could not afford that so I started looking at other daycares. No matter where we went we would have to pay more than what we were paying. Then we found Erica. Erica has been a Godsend and the girls love her. She charges about what we were paying before the rate increase which especially worked out because that is when we found our our house payment was going up. My girls have never gone without. When we could not do something for them someone was there to buy them new Easter dresses, new shoes, or other clothes, to help with Christmas and birthdays, to pay for trips and other activities so that they could experience life to the fullest, and to help pay for pictures so that we have those memories forever. These are just a few of the times that God has provided, but it is enough to remind me how much he loves me and my family and how he will never forsake us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grandparents and Childhood

This morning I read a fellow blogger's blog on being a grandparent. In all honestly, it made me cry. She speaks about how she does things differently as a grandparent than she did as a parent because of the things she has learned in her life. To quote her on one point she makes, "I don't care how hard you try, you'll never have as much time, be as relaxed, or have the patience of a grandparent. We've been where you are now. We don't have the demands on our lives, nor the expenses, nor the stress of being a young parent. Sadly, we are to the point of needing to feel important but are happily available to make your life a bit easier, while garnering all the snuggling time we can with someone that thinks we are the next best thing to a pacifier." And to quote her one more time she advises, "don't read so much into our words, actions, and looks. You really are doing a great job, just ask my friends. They hear all the time what awesome grandchildren we have. And to be that, they have to have great parents." Sometimes we need to hear this.

Parenting is difficult. Children do not come with an instruction manuals and there are so many books out there that you are either encouraged or chastized for reading. You then have your parents and grandparents telling you things that they did when we or our parents were growing up that makes you wonder how some of us survived. However, this, like everything, is a stage. We make it through the best way we can led by our gut and our motherly instincts. We will all make mistakes and most of us will raise our children differently. I know I did. I did a lot of things differently with my second than I did my first. The second time around I was more relaxed and not as afraid of the mistakes I would make. And I have taken a little wisdom from everyone in doing this, books, my moms, my grandmothers, my aunts, my sisters, my church family, and my friends. However, deep down I know the most important thing for my girls is that they feel loved.

I had three grandmothers growing up: Grandma Berdine, Grandma Anderson, and Maw. I have very special memories of my Grandma Berdine when I was little. I remember eating raw potatoes as she would peel them; I remember the smell of the soap that she would bath my brother and me with me; I remember how hard she scratched my head to wash my hair; I remember watching Dallas with her on her bed; and I remember how her house always felt like a happy place to be. Grandma Berdine lives in PA and the summer before I entered the third grade we moved to Alabama to live with my dad and step-mom. I have only seen my grandmother a handful of times after that.

My Grandma Anderson and I have never been incredibly close even though she lives 20-25 minutes away from me. I do have memories of the summers I spent at her house while my dad and step-mom worked, of her driving us to PA for visitation; of the cookies she bakes at Christmas time; and how you always had to wear shoes in the dining room because that is where she sewed.

Maw and I were not incredibly close either but she was always the grandma to have fun with. I remember her house was so interesting and you could find such neat stuff to play with. I remember that she had a swing on her front porch and she didn't care if you swung so high to put feetprints on the ceiling of the porch. I remember her teaching my brother to ride a bike and she allowed him to ride right over her flowers. I remember her giving us money to walk across the street to the store to buy candy. Anything went with her.

Now that I have my girls I look back on all of those relationships and reflect on what I want my girls to have. I want my girls to have happy memories of all of their grandparents. I want them to be close to all of them and always feel loved and spoiled. I want my girls to feel like they can go to anyone of their grandparents if for any reason they feel they can not come to us. I would love for their grandparents to be more involved in my girls lives than my grandparents were in my life. I have been fussed at by people who think I try too hard to make sure than my girls have good memories. I am not making them a fake childhood, I am just fostering a happy one.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Weekend and Two Things I Hate about Myself

This is a mixed blog. First I'm going to talk about our weekend and then two things I hate about myself.

First, our weekend. Wednesday night our house didn't seem to be cooling as it should. We didn't think too much about it, just thought it was over working itself from where we had put the thermostat up too high that morning. Thursday when me and the girls got home, the air conditioner was blowing out hot air. I opened up the windows and fed the girls and then put them straight in the tub like I usually do. Jolie cried all during dinner and then all through her bath. She is teething and is having sinus issues. I knew she was ready for bed, but it was just too hot in the house. I called Mrs. Emily to see if she could come get Jolie so that she could go to sleep at her house. Me and Josie were going to stay and wait for my cousin to show up to look at the air conditioner. In the meantime, it occured to me that the filter had not been changed in a while. So Josie and I ran to Marvins and got a new filter. That helped, but didn't fix the problem. Kevin got there later than night and in his words told us we were SOL for the night. So around 10:00 p.m. we went to the Burdicks to spend the night in a cool house. Kevin told us he would come replace the part that needed replaced when he got off work the next day. He got to the house around 7:00 p.m. on Friday night and it took 10 minutes to fix, however, he told us it would take a while to get the house cooled back down after the air not running for the past two days. So we spent another night at the Burdicks. We could not thank them enough for letting us stay nor Kevin for getting right out there to fix us up.

Saturday we took the girls to the Bass Pro Shop (free entertainment) and got them fishing poles. All they had for girls was Barbie and the back pack it came in was broke, so Josie got spiderman (her choice) and Jolie got Scooby Doo. They love those poles. Josie is learning to cast but they had a blast with them all weekend. After the Pro Shop we went bowling. It was raining off and on and we really wanted to get the girls out of the house This was the first time they had been bowling. They loved it. It was so cute watching them. Josie was so excited about her ball and did not want to take off the shoes. Lol bowled in socks because they don't make bowling shoes that small.

Sunday, well, see the reference below.

Changing subjects:

In all honestly there are several things I hate about myself, some within my power and some not. However, I'm just writing about two today.

First, I hate my migraines. They completely knock me out. Yesterday should have been a nice day spent with my family, but instead I spent it in a lot of pain, then sleeping, then throwing up. I know, I know, I need to go see a neurologist, but it is very hard for me to get off work as I am the only employee. I know I need to make my health a priority, but it is just hard. So I guess I really can not complain since I have done nothing to improve the situation.

Second, I hate that I am such a people pleaser. For some reason I feel like I have to go out of my way to make people like me, accept me, or want to include me in their lives. I am constantly doing stuff I would rather not do just to prove to someone that I care about them. Why do I care so much? The hilarious thing is that the people I try the hardest for act like they could care less or barely recongnize what I have done for them. Joe on the other hard goes through life being himself and not caring if he has kept everyone up to date, or tried to reach out to this person, he is just living his life. I would so love to be more like him, but for some reason I just can't. I am constantly saying I won't let this person hurt my feelings anymore, and yet I try again with something else for them just to get hurt again. Don't get me wrong I don't mind helping people out and I love being involved with everyone. I am a huge people person and I love to be around people, so it is not that I don't like people. It is that I hate myself for trying the hardest for people who don't seem to care. That time could be spent on people that are appreciative of how much I love them and how what I do for them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Life In Flair

Joe is the love of my life. I could not imagine life without him. These are dedicated to him:

My girls are my world. My life has completely changed because of them and they have helped to experience life in a totally new way.

This is dedicated to my nephews Caden, Tanner, and Elias, foster nephews Lane, Talon, and William, and my niece Annaleigh. We don't know what the newest baby is yet.

For Caden:

In honor of my family, friends, best friend, and SOS (Sisters of Service). You are what gets me through the day sometimes.

God is my creator, my sustainer, my comforter, my healer, and my Father. I can do all things through him that strengthens me:

A few other things I believe in:


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our Anniversary

Yesterday was our 7 year anniversary. It is so hard to believe that we have been married for seven years. What's more unbelieveable is that we have really been together for 14 years. The time has flown by. And in all these years God has blessed us abundantly. Our cups really do runneth over. We have two beutiful girls that are our world. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, jobs that support the family, clothes to wear, and an awsome network of family and friends. The good and the bad, I could not imagine my life any other way. Although we often fall victim to the tiredness and chaos that has become our lives, we still love each other. I can still look at him and remember back to the boy (we were in high school at the time) I fell in love with. The boy that convinced his family to take their family vacation to PC b/c that is where I was visiting my mom. The boy that copied down poems for me to read. The boy that attended every softball game I played except for when he was playing a game himself. The boy that became active in my church and later joined and is now an elder. Sometimes all these and other memories get lost in the stress of day to day living, but then he goes and does something great again reminds me that God did make him just for me. Like last night we went to Olive Garden for our anniversary. We had a great meal and had a great conversation. There are several ways to get home from Prattville and so we were discussing which way was the best. He wanted to go one way and I wanted to go another and since I was driving, I chose. Well as we are going down the road we see two women trying to change a tire. I told Joe we should offer to help. He offered and they accepted. Joe got out there in his nice jeans (we only have one pair of nice jeans each), a nice shirt, and his church shoes and started to work. They didn't have the parking brake on and when he started working on it the car started to roll and the rim dug into the concrete which of course meant more work for Joe, but he did it all and got them fixed up within 5-10 minutes. He is also so great with the girls. He has always helped with bath time and changing diapers. I have heard of so many man that refused to change diapers or give baths especially when it was daughters, but Joe has always helped. Joe is a great guy that would help anyone in need. Now by all means I'm not saying the man is perfect, he has his faults just as I do. And I'm not telling you that we have this perfect marriage, because we don't. We fight, we fight alot. We have worked very hard to make our marriage work. But at the end of the day there is no one else in the world I would rather fight with. His job has always been a huge stressor and fighting point because he is not at home as much as a lot of other husbands and dads. He often works 10-12 hours days and for as long as we have been married has worked every other weekend which means we get four whole days out of the entire month. This is hard and puts a lot more on me, but this has become our normal. Hopefully one day soon he will find a job that has normal hours and that does not require weekends, but until then we keep doing what we are doing.

I know to some people seven years is not that much and to others it is a great accomplishment, us, we just feel blessed. Every day is a new day to begin again and live in the moment: to tell each other we love them, to try to do God's work in all that we do, and to raise our girls in a good Christian home showered with love and affection.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Important Weekend

This weekend is going to be a busy one for us, but at the same time one with a lot of meaning.

Saturday morning we have the Kidney Walk for our nephew, Caden (age 2 1/2). For those of you who don't know Caden was born with problems with his kidneys. They found out while Sheila was still pregnant and the sweet boy had to have surgery just days after being born. Then last August he had one of his kidneys removed. He is doing great and to look at him you would never know what he has been through. The only proof is a tiny scar on his lower back. He is the sweetest little boy and we are so excited to be supporting him and Quint & Sheila but joining the walk. Last year was our first year and they named Caden the child ambassador for the walk. This year I think he and another boy are the child ambassadors. He is already doing great things at such a young age!

Sunday of course is Mothers Day. We always do things with our moms before Mothers Day so that Sunday can be about me, Joe, and the girls. We will get up and go to church and do who knows what the rest of the day. All I know is that we are truly blessed with wonderful mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, and other women who play a role in our lives.

Then Monday is our anniversary. We will have been married for 7 years. Joe and I met in 9th grade and are high school sweethearts. I think we knew right away that we didn't want anyone else. We have been through a lot together and have always been there for each other. I'm not going to lie though, these seven years have been tough. There have been several times that one or both of us wanted to give up, but for some reason we never have. I don't know what lies in store for us, but I know I will always love him. He is a part of me and definitely balances me out. So anyways we will be going out on date Friday night to celebrate (I surprised him and told him I was taking him out)and he mentioned that we might do something Monday as well, so we shall see.

So all of that to end the busy week we've had.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Mother's Day

In honor of mother's day I wanted to speak about the women of my life. At our church we don't just recongnize the mothers but all of the women of our church. We have a couple of women who could not have children, but are motherly figures in all of our lives. I truly believe in the saying that it takes a village to raise a child, and that has definitely been true in my life. I am the person that I am today because of my village. I am blessed because I had two mothers growing up (my birth mom and my step-mom), and for the past seven years I have had three mothers (my mother-in-law). I am also blessed because of the mother figures I had growing up in church. I had some very special people I could go to and talk to when I did not feel like I could talk to my parents. If it had not been for one of those ladies I probably would not have married Joe. I remember having special relationships with some of my teachers at school that pushed me to do better and study harder. I grew up surrounded by loving and caring aunts, grandmas, and other motherly figures. I remember my Aunt Debbie teaching me to tie my shoes. I remember my Aunt Lisa teaching me to make tuna, cheese & crackers. I remember the nights I spent with my Grandma Berdine snuggling in her bed watching Dallas or peeling potatoes. I remember my Aunt Wilma teaching me to be a lady. I remember all those times my Grandma Anderson drove up to PA with us and teaching us about saving money. I remember Maw teaching us that even older adults can have fun like kids. I remember Ms. Dottie Lambert teaching me to be an acolyte. I remember the respect I had and still have for the women of the church that did what had to be done and took the time to get to know us children (Belle McDowell, Janie Graham, Martha Estes, Helen Joiner, Judy Costello, and Sue Rogers just to name a few). I have tons of memories of all of these ladies and learned something from them all about who I wanted to be as a person. I love my moms and the grandmothers they are to my girls. I greatly appreciate all the life lessons I learned from my moms as well as the loving wonderful people they are. Because of my moms I grew up in church serving the Lord, because of my moms I learned to help those in need, and because of my moms I learned to be strong and independent. I could not imagine my life without any of the women of my life.

And now that I have become a mom, Mothers Day as also taken on a new meaning for me. God has entrusted two beautiful, everchanging, constantly growing, curious, bright girls into my care. I strife every day to be the best mom that I can be for them. I want to teach them everything they need to know to be well equipped for the world that we live in. I want them to serve and love God. I want them to know that I will always be for them, no matter what. I can't wait for all the things we will get to do together. I want to protect them, but at the same time let them experience life. And I want them to find other motherly figures, because I know that I can not do it all. I am so thankful for the village that my girls have. I am so blessed that they have their grandmas (Grammy, Emmie, Memaw, and Other Mama), their great-grandmothers (Gigi, Gigi, Nanny & Maw), their Aunts Sheila, Rebecca, Tiffany, and Crystal, their great-aunts Debbie, Lisa, Joyce, Bobbie, Martha, Pam, Holly, Mona, Elisa, and Sandra, and the women of the church Alicia, Mary Kelly, Heather, Christina, Judy, Lee Anne, Betty, Lauri, Marsha, Lyndon, and Therese just to name a few. All of these women have loved my girls. All of these women have looked after my girls in some way or another. All of these women have prayed for my girls. And I hope that my girls will grow up knowing that they can depend on any one of these ladies. Again, I am so thankful for my village.

Lastly, being an aunt has opened up a whole other world. I love Caden, Elias, and Annaleigh as if they were my own children, as I will Tanner and Baby Burdick when they arrive. I would do anything I could for these special children that God as given me the privilege of being an aunt to. I worry about them, keep up with what they are doing and is going on in their lives, and look forward to the special memories we will make and the things that I can teach them just like I do my girls. My heart truly overflows with joy and love for all of the children that God has blessed me with, be it my own, my nieces and nephews, or children of the church that I am helping "parent."

So to all the women of my life thank you for playing your part. Thank you for loving me and my girls and taking the time to teach us, to play with us, and to care for us. And for the moms who have children that I am play a role in their lives, thank you for allowing me to love your children, to teach them, to play with them, and to be there for them. I love you all.