Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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My big little boy

March 27, 2008

There are times in this life when we think the clock has all but stopped. When we’re little, we can’t wait for our birthday or Christmas. In high school, we can’t see past graduation. For many of us, we eagerly await the arrival of Prince Charming. Sometimes it’s a promotion, or the envelope with our tax return to come in the mail (ha!). We wait for vacation. We wait for a spouse to return home from war. We wait for a child to arrive home safely from their first drive around town alone. We wait for the school day to end.

But I doubt if there is much we wait for that compares to the days before a baby arrives. We wash the little clothes, prepare the crib, watch for every possible symptom of labor. The days drag on, and on, and oooooon.

Then they are born.

And that’s when someone pushes the fast-forward button.

I know every mother sits and tries her hardest to figure out the answer to this question, but can someone please tell me how we got from this sleepy little boy:

To this one:

…in the course of, like, one day?

It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Two years old. That sounds so… big. There’s no way I can call him a baby anymore. He’s a little boy now.

I was looking through the pictures this morning of when Troy was born and marveling at how tiny he was. His little features, the blonde hair I was so surprised to see, the little fingers and toes. I reminisced about the days of learning to nurse him, and lazy mornings just playing in our jammies when he was just learning to giggle.

But then I realize with a start that as fast as these past two years have gone, I’m sure it’ll just snowball from here on out, time going faster and faster until these little boys are both grown.

It won’t be long until Troy is not just a little big boy, but a true big boy. When he’ll no longer say, “Luh loo, Mommy,” but, “Hey, love ya, Mom.” He’ll soon forget about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and The Doodlebops and move on to movies with real people. Instead of spending ten minutes figuring out how to put a chunky puzzle piece in place, he’ll be needing help with multiplication tables and spelling tests. He’ll be done taking his little brown and white plastic doggie for walks and he’ll be spending hours playing Frontier Man in the backyard. He’ll read books on his own and draw his own pictures.

And then, I’ll turn to stir a pot on the stove, turn back around, and find a grown man standing in front of me. I pray he’ll be a man who loves Jesus and trusts Him for his salvation. A man who has harnessed his strong spirit into strength of character. Who will, in turn, raise up another generation of little ones and lead them to Jesus.

I know when this little guy is tall enough for me to rest my head on his shoulder, I’ll be thinking back to his sweet little smile and when he said, “Yes man!” instead of, “Yes ma’am!” I’m praying I don’t look back and regret spending too much unnecessary time at that stove or running errands or, most definitely, on the computer. That I have plenty of memories of books read, crafts and messes made, times of training, and lots of those great big smiles.

Going into my oldest’s third year of life, I’m realizing that what every parent has always said is only too true–time does indeed fly by. So I’m going to make the most of this next year with my little guys, cherishing every little second. Because there’s nothing I would rather do.

Happy Birthday, my little man. You have no idea how much you are loved!

Okay, peeps, I need your help

March 25, 2008

It’s nap time around here and so I’m snagging the bit ‘o time I have to actually do some bloggie stuff during the day.

I mean, it’s actually light outside and I’m writing a post! I know! Cuh-ray-zee!

Now please don’t go back and look at the posting times of the past few entries. You won’t like what you see. Especially if you’re a believer in the good ‘ol, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wisephilosophy.

Benjamin Franklin said that. I think.

See? I learnt me somethin in history.

I remember the quote, at least. Doesn’t mean I have to follow it.

And yes, my mother does know of my bad sleep habits. Yes, she’s reprimanded me. But she can’t quite put me on restriction anymore. So instead she watches my children and tells me to take a nap in the middle of the day–because she knows that having to take a nap was one of the worst things I could be told to do when I was little. Worse than being on restriction from reading, which was a big deal in and of itself. I think she knows that I don’t see naps as punishment anymore.

Oh, I tease.

My mom just wants to bless me by letting me take naps when I’m at her house. Because she knows that I do wait up for John to call and that I also have an aversion to climbing into a big empty bed. She also knows what it’s like to get caught up in computery things late in the evening while waiting up.

And no, my parents didn’t really make me go to bed for punishment.

But anyway, the reason I’m writing this post to begin with is that I need a little help here.

Remember when I said that I didn’t know how long I’d like this blog design? Well, time’s up. I’m sick of it already. Really sick of it.

But since I’m still pretty slow at this, I can’t just whip out a new design in thirty minutes like the best of ‘em. So I’m stuck with this for a while until I get a few other orders done.

So, to help with the tweaking I’m doing to make this look more bearable to OCD little me, I need to know a couple things.

First of all, and, you know, somewhat IMPORTANTLY, can you actually see the header? I’ve heard from someone with dial-up that it wouldn’t show up the first day I changed the look. I’m hoping nobody else is having that problem.

Can you see my profile picture–or the little dots graphic in between each sidebar section? I’m making the font size slightly smaller, because I didn’t particularly care for the giant print Bible look.

And finally, if you think something looks awry, don’t hesitate to tell me. Because making a mistake on my own blog is one thing, but I’d sure hate to make a glaring mistake on someone else’s blog, especially, when, you know, they are actually paying to have their blog made purty.

Thanks, peeps. I couldn’t do it withoutcha.

I was going to call this, "I Went To the Gym Today."

March 24, 2008

But I think it would be more appropriate to use the title, “I DIED at the gym today.”

Because that’s the reality.

My friend Rebeca and I started dabbling in the World of the Fit and Healthy right after John left. Well, okay, the world of the FIT, not necessarily the healthy. Not that many of the people over there aren’t both fit and healthy, but us? Weeeell, ya know. We keep telling each other if we’d just stop the regular eating of ice cream sundaes, we might actually see results to all the hard work we’re doing.

We are doing better, though. I mean, I turned down popcorn and a big bag of Easter M&M’s tonight. She turned down treating herself to an In-N-Out cheeseburger and the opportunity to enjoy fries all by herself while her kids were at my house this evening.

Because if we are going to kill ourselves, we really don’t want to throw all that killing to the wind with All The Junk, right?

Too bad we weren’t thinking of that concept this weekend while we were stuffing ourselves with ham and potatoes and all sorts of, ahem, healthy food.

But anyway, when we first started meeting at the gym, we took a look at the list of classes and found a couple we thought we’d try. We planned days we’d do cardio on the treadmills or elliptical machines, and then chose two classes. We were motivated. We were ready. We were goin‘ for it.

Our Wednesday class was called “Step and Sculpt-AOA“. Sounded good–we’d figure out what the AOA meant when we got there. It took us at least two weeks for both of us to actually make it there on the right day at the right time–due mostly to my trips to my parents’ house–so the first time she went ahead and tried it on her own.

The next day she called and said it was a great class. She was surprised at how many people there were who appeared to be in their 70’s there, but she said they were in better shape than either of us, so she figured we’d get a lot out of it. It was challenging. All the people were really nice and friendly and quite helpful to her. But she thought it kinda funny that she and the instructor were the youngest ones there.


When I was back over there the next day, I checked the schedule to see what time our Friday class would be. Next to the bin with the nifty green class schedules was another bin. It had schedules too. They said, “AOA–Active Older Adults Classes.”

Soooo… we decided it might have been advantageous to find out what that AOA meant before we started the class.

But we were still on for our Friday class. This was the one we were most excited about anyway. Rebeca had heard from another regular, everyday mom that she got great results from this class and after only a few months she felt completely toned.

The name of the class? Muscle Max.

Muscle MAX?? Muscle Max??? That should have been fair warning. I mean, what mom in her right mind decides to go to a class called Muscle Max? It sounds like death waiting to happen.

Well, y’all, I have news for you.


We’ve now been several times, and we at least know the basic routines. Except for just a couple of the warm-up moves that require some coordination, like when we tap one toe out to the side while swinging the opposite arm in a circular motion and ending in a pose reminiscent of a little kid saying, “LOOK AT MY MUSCLES!!” Or the one where we turn and step to the side with one leg while punching the air with the other arm. We both have this tendency to get a little “off” when the instructor starts those moves and, ya know, it’s a little embarrassing to be the only people throwing our arms and legs in all directions at the same time in a desperate attempt to get back on track.

It makes it fifty-five times worse when the only spots left in the class when we get there are the two waaaay up front and directly in front of the instructor, not unlike today. We are both convinced that her laughing this afternoon was directed at us. Because we were certainly laughing at ourselves. We were funny, peeps.

But the funniest–the–part of all of it was after that wonderful and glorious Muscle Max class had long been over.

It was in my dining room, when she came to pick up her kids after a few hours at my house, in the middle of all those children, with our arms and legs flying every which way all over again in a desperate attempt to figure out those toe-tapping and muscle-showing moves.

We don’t want to look ridiculous, peeps. There’s only so much humiliation a girl can handle.

So with our kids watching us like we were lunatics, we tapped a toe in one direction, and curled an arm–oops! wrong arm!–in the other direction. Then we turned with one leg–no, wait! the other way!–and punched the air–uh, one arm or two? And then we tapped a toe, turned a leg, curled an arm and thought seriously of directing that arm punch at the instructor next time we’re there.

Okay, not really. We like her. Even if she does look, you know, like she works out for a living. Don’t know why that would be. Anyway, Rebeca says her goal is just to look like a regular, everyday, toned mom. Not like one of those crazy fitness instructors.

But am I terrible if I say that IS my goal?

I think probably so.

But if I once again can’t walk down the stairs or lift Troy or carry Merritt around for very long tomorrow, I’m blaming that crazy fitness instructor.

Guess who sends us Easter greetings??

March 22, 2008

Over in the Sandy Spot, it’s already Resurrection Sunday. And since I have, you know, connections, mm-hmm, with that Spot, I have a picture from their sunrise service.

I’m thinking the guys with the scary guns must be part of their Easter service drama team–they’re playing the Roman soldiers.

Joking, joking.

They’re just some Army guys who’ve got my Hero’s back. So I like ‘em. A whole lot more than I like the Roman soldiers when I read the last few chapters of the Gospels. These are the good guys. (Although I really don’t have the brain power at the moment to decide whether the Roman soldiers were “bad” or if they were just following God’s plan for the crucifixion… way too deep for me tonight!)

John just called home, between the sunrise service and the regular service, and to tell me goodnight. (It is unbelievably wonderful–he works right next to a phone, and can call at least once a day, sometimes twice. We are spoiled compared to many, but, hey, we’ll take it!)

He also told me to check my computer for an email with pictures from their service. I got to see the faces of some of the friends he’s making and the people in the music ministry there. (Because yes, they have a music ministry at the chapels in the Sandy Spot. And you’d better believe that, first of all, if there is a church, John will be there the first service he’s able to attend. And second of all (secondly? which is it? is either one correct??), if there is a music ministry, he’ll be as involved as they’ll let him be. So he is–both at every service and Bible study he can be, and involved in the music.) He told me who all the people were in the pictures and how he knows them and what they do. I feel a little more in the loop now.

And ya know what’s niftay? When I asked him if he minded me putting this picture out here for the blogosphere, he said that was fine, and to tell the bloggie peeps hello from him in the Sandy Spot.

Okay, well, he didn’t say to tell the bloggie peeps hello. What he actually said was, “And you can tell your blog people I said hi.”

So, hi. From John.

But I must tell you… you know what is really freaking me out right now? The thought of how close (relatively, of course) John is to the actual place where Jesus lived, died and rose. I mean, when he talks about places near him, I’m like, “Hey!! I know that place! I read about it! Lots of times! In my Bible! Is it the exact same one???” To which he always replies, oh-so-patiently, “Yes, it is. There is only one of that particular river in the world, remember?”

Oh yeah. That would make sense.

But he is so. close. A hop, skip and a jump. At least, a whole lot smaller a hop, quicker a skip and shorter a jump than what I’d have to do to get there.

And somehow, between that relative closeness, the crystal clear blue sky, the wide open stretches, the Roman soldiers–er, uh, Army guys, sorry–and the simplicity of a small group of Christians gathered together in the desert to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, I imagine that in a hushed moment, it might give a sense of reality I can’t quite find here in the midst of big discount stores filled with spring break tourists sporting fake tans, parents pushing each other around to grab the last big candy egg, kids crying for more goodies and even dozens of churches with great big programs.

I almost wish I was there.

Wishing you a simple and quiet Resurrection Sunday, filled to the brim with special time with family and a true remembrance of our Jesus, who gave all and then conquered death so that we–we who even still often forget Him in the midst of celebrating His gift–might have life. He is so good. Let’s get lost in the wonder of looking at Him tomorrow.

The Wondrous Cross

March 21, 2008

I had some things swirling in my mind to write this weekend, but the more I tried to form them into words, the more I realized that nothing I could say would even begin to compare with simply pointing our minds toward the Cross…

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

–Isaac Watts