Saturday, February 26, 2011


I've mentioned me and Michael's story on here a few times, so forgive me if you're sick of hearing how broken and tattered our marriage used to be (on it's last breath), but we were given the opportunity to do something wonderful with what we've been through last week at church. We got plugged into a wonderful bible class about a year and a half ago, comprised of around 50-75 young families like ours (on up into parents with middle schoolers primarily). We love the teachers, we love the subject matter that's covered, and we love the people we get to see and fellowship with each week. Some of my closest friends are in this class.

For the past three months or so, the class has covered marriage, and more specifically, helping marriages heal, work out problems, and grow stronger. The two couples who run our class alternated weeks covering different topics, and it's been good to be encouraged and to get pointers on marital issues. There were also two couples who shared their personal testimonies, and we were one of them!

This was our first time to share our story publicly together (I have shared it alone once before to a ladies' class), and it wasn't easy. Not just because of the story itself (although it's painful to remember all of that, of course), but also because Satan did NOT want us to tell it, and I mean DID. NOT. The two months leading up to our doing this were the darkest, most difficult months Michael and I both have been through in years, both as a couple and as individuals. For the first time in my life, I felt the need to cling to Jesus' name and proclaim it for protection. My emotions and senses were assaulted daily, and Michael had really tough struggles as well. Sometimes we would just look at each other and say, "Really?! This is RIDICULOUS!" And we joked (but were really serious!) about how glad we would be after giving our testimony was over and things went back to normal. I even had conversations with Satan telling him he could bring it, but that God wanted us to share this, to give glory to His Holy Name for the miracles He still does, and to help others, so that's what we were going to do.

And the enemy sure did bring it. In addition to all of the heavy, hard personal stuff we experienced, last weekend, the Sunday we were scheduled to talk, Jasper got sick with a solid fever, and on Saturday night, I lost my voice completely (which could not happen since I would be talking half the time the next morning). I couldn't even sleep that night. I tossed and turned, feeling literally tormented (the oddest, scariest feeling). I prayed myself to sleep, knowing that others were praying for us as well.

The next morning my voice was still scratchy and rough, but it had strength and enough volume, and Jasper's fever was gone, thank you Lord. While getting ready, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to comfort us and give us peace, and for Him to speak through us, so it would be God's words, not ours (the night before we'd thrown our outline in the trash and decided to stick to a more basic powerpoint, because it was coming out sounding stilted and rehearsed rather than authentic).

We got to church and went to service first, and Every. Single. Song. was for us. Truly. To encourage us, to lift up our heads, to proclaim praise for the miracles God does in the lives of those who love Him. Every. Song. I cried as I mouthed the words (saving my voice for class) and knew that God's hand was on us and blessing us for what we were about to do. Is there anything more amazing in life than knowing you are exactly where God wants you to be, doing exactly the thing He wants you to do, exactly when He wants you to? It's a spiritual high to walk in the pure will of God.

We shared our testimony in class, and there were friends - wonderful, precious, familiar faces - who came to hear us share our story. That meant more to me than any of those people will ever know. God used them to give us courage. God was there. He was there. And when we were finished, we knew that God had been glorified through the telling of it, and that others had been helped and encouraged. Praise Him!

I write this to remember this time, to remember how hard and how joyful an experience it was, and how God held our hands and held our heads up and protected us the entire way. And I write it to say thank you, thank you to those of you who were there, to those of you who prayed for us, and for those of you who have loved us through all the ups and downs our relationship has taken over the last 7 1/2 years. We are blessed, and are excited about continuing to share our story to bless others.

**If you weren't there and you want to hear what we shared, feel free to comment here or email me. There was an mp3 recording done, and I can email the link to you to download.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


When Michael and I were in counseling, I still remember something our counselor said to us. He told us that girls need to know that they are beautiful and adored by their fathers, and that boys need to feel like they've got what it takes. I agree with both of these, and I've kept it in the back of my mind while raising my boys. But just the other day, the concept was further reinforced.

Jasper adds more and more three word phrases to his vocabulary every week, but one of the early ones was, "I got it," or "I get it." A few days ago he was trying to do something independently and I was trying to help him, and he began to act frustrated, saying, "I got it! I got it!" over and over again. It suddenly reminded me of Bennett at that age, and I remembered that one of Bennett's earliest phrases was, "Got it!" and a whole lot of "Got the ball! Got the ball," since that's what he spent all of his time playing with.

I realized that both my boys have a natural desire to defend their ability to do things themselves, and to let me know that they can handle or take care of whatever is needed. And with both of them, this began at less that two years old.

They really do need to feel like they've got what it takes, like they can solve the problem, find the solution, work things out, and do it all successfully.

Later in life, they'll feel the need to provide and take care of their own families, the people they love. But for now, this mama is trying to make sure my boys know that they've "got it," while I've still got them :).

Monday, February 21, 2011


Several blogs lined up for the next couple of weeks or so:

1. What Boys Need
2. Video of Jasper John
3. Sharing our Testimony
4. Update on the Mama
5. The Waiting Game
6. Random Pictures

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Michael asked me to marry him on Valentine's Day eight years ago, while we were still juniors at Harding, so this day has extra special significance to us. We'd known each other exactly 2 1/2 years to the day when he proposed. Even though it's a wonderful day to remember and mark time by, some years we have the energy and inspiration to do it up big, and some years we don't. This year Michael went above and beyond. Yesterday I woke up to flowers and a card that explained there would be emails with hints to my remaining cards throughout the day. He even themed the cards, writing each one under the umbrella of "Walking through Life." Each card highlighted some character strength he admires in yours truly, like honor, beauty, strength, talent, work, etc. And written inside each card I found were specifics about our life together of ways he believes I illustrate each of those characteristics. His admiration and appreciation couldn't have come at a better time - I've been feeling down and attacked lately, and frankly, rather unlovable, which is a lie from the enemy, and hurtful at any level you buy into it. ANYway, so the things he wrote were more encouraging to me than anything has been in a very long time, and I know the Lord knew I needed to hear it all.

In the midst of my card reading, me and the boys had a great day of peanut butter waffles with chocolate hearts for breakfast, playing outside, making and eating Valentines cupcakes, and opening presents from their especially special Valentines (Mommy and Mimi, of course). When Michael got home, we all went to Anejo's (Tex Mex) for dinner, where there were fire pits indoors (Bennett and Jasper were big fans) and the food was pretty yummy.
This year was a hit, and it was pretty much wholly orchestrated by Michael. Thanks, hon!

Today, Bennett's class had their Valentine's Party. The parents all sign-up and rotate organizing and decorating different events throughout the year, and the ones who did today's did a great job. The kids were so excited about the decorations, food and games. I included a few pictures. The first is with Bennett and his teacher, Mrs. Penkert. He ADORES her! They're cutting out jello hearts that they mixed together earlier in the morning. Several parents commented to me about how sweet and loving Bennett is with Jasper, and how well they get along, and that felt good. We definitely have our crazy, whiny moments, but they do love each other so very much, and Bennett really looks out for his little brother. Below you can see him giving Jasper his food - he shared everything he had from the party and warmed my heart up good! I love it that they're so close at such a young age. A good friend of mine told me once that she tells her kids that they're best friends, and that's how they should treat each other and love each other, and I thought that was such a wonderful thing to tell siblings, I say the same to my boys.
Hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day, full of the love of God and each other!


HILARIOUS conversation in the car with Bennett this morning on the way to school, I just HAD to share.

Bennett: Mom, can we listen to The Backstreet Boys?

Mom: No, you guys have been pretty difficult this morning, so Mommy is going to listen to what she wants to listen and relax to this morning (I pop in my CD).

Bennett (thinks for a second then says): Mom, you're never difficult with me and Jasper.

Mom (a little surprised by that statement and glad he thinks so): Thanks, Bennett. I try not to be.

Bennett: But sometimes you're difficult with Daddy, and Daddy is sometimes difficult with you.

Mom (laughing inside): Yes, that's true. Sometimes we are "difficult" with each other. But even when we're difficult with each other, we always love each other, like you and Jasper.

Bennett (thinks for a minute again, then almost under his breath says): Yeah, me and Jasper are difficult with each other a lot.

Pretty sure the word "difficult" was being substituted for "fighting" in that particular conversation. Out of the mouths of babes. HA! Love that boy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I have prayed earnestly for the day I could write a post like this, and now it's here.

Bennett turned four in early December, and a couple of weeks after that, Michael and I began to notice some pretty big changes in our little buddy. His fit throwing diminished to almost nil, and whenever a tantrum began, a reminder of the consequences could almost always derail it. He suddenly became more interested in helping around the house, making Jasper happy, and became a lot better at cleaning up after himself (less complaining, more efficiency). And all of a sudden, after making a bad choice and doing something wrong, he more often than not began to return to the scene of the crime and say something to the effect of, "Hey, Mom? Remember when I __________ (names his offense)? I'm really, really sorry I did that. I won't do it again." In general, he has mellowed a bit, and his desire to obey and to live in harmony has returned (WaHOOOOO!), as well as now choosing to independently implement all of the training and hard work Michael and I have poured into him for the past four years. PRAISE THE LORD!!

Since he turned two, Bennett has been a tough nut to crack. He's a strong-willed, highly intelligent little booger who knows what he wants, how he wants it, and when he wants it. We love and treasure every part of Bennett's personality and the way God so perfectly knit him together, but there are some aspects of each child that are harder than others. The same things that will one day serve as a child's greatest strengths as an adult, can be their greatest weaknesses when they're not approached with the wisdom of God and good guidance (and these strengths/weaknesses can also lead to a few gray hairs - ha!). We have prayed a LOT over this little boy, many times not knowing what to do next except for the Lord's guidance, so it's fantastic to experience the smoothing out of a lot of the rough edges of toddlerhood that Michael and I have been working on for so long. I must say that diligence and consistency DOES pay off, because for the past two months, we have had a tamer, sweeter, more obedient, more thankful little boy on our hands.

I've heard it from several others, but there really does seem to be something special about turning four. I don't know exactly where all of these changes come from, but it seems to me that he finally decided to mentally shrug his shoulders and say to himself, "Yeah, I guess you guys have been right all along. The way you do things really is the best. I give up; you can be the boss after all."

Wherever his surrender has come from, we are praising the Lord and giving thanks to Him daily for letting us see the sweet, positive, wonderful sides our Bennett James has to offer. It's so nice to not feel discouraged, or doubting our roles as parents, wondering if we were making any kind of difference at all for those two long, hard years. Now we're seeing a pay-off, and things are running much more smoothly in our household (although somebody else is slowly but surely showing signs of creeping up into the Terrible Twos - eek!).

Thanks, my dear sweet first-born, for that two year glimpse of what having a teenager might begin to be like (oy vey!), and thanks even more for moving on to a new, slightly more relaxed stage of life! :) Regardless of whatever stage of life you are in, your daddy and I love you completely, and we praise God for the amazing plans He has in store for you and all He is shaping you to be!

Monday, February 7, 2011


I've never understood people who go through horrific times in life and instead of turning toward God, they choose to turn away. I can't pretend I've ever been through such a devastating, heart-wrenching time myself, so I suppose some would say I have absolutely no room to speak, but grieving and mourning is such a spiritual thing.

A friend of mine has received some of the most terrible news of her life , and as I stood there at her side while she cried, having no words to say, no way to bring her the relief she sought, I thought how thankful I am that we both have the Lord. Because God is God, and that will always be enough.

My heart is so heavy - heavy beyond words - but my grief on her behalf does not begin to touch what she feels. This knowledge has made me thankful for prayer. I stayed up late into the night on prayer vigil last night - and I very well may do so again tonight - and know that my God hears my voice, and He sees her tears, and He feels our pain.

How different from the way the world thinks, to feel thankful in such a time. But when I serve a God who offers so much comfort, and I have the confidence of knowing He will hold and comfort my friend when I am unable to do so, how can I not be thankful? How can I not be glad to know that through the horribleness life throws at us, until He comes again, Christ will hold us close and absorb our pain and live every moment with us?

Lord, come quickly. Above all else, You are what we need.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Okay, the snow days here are getting a little ridiculous. Michael's school already has Friday and Monday off, and he has been off since Tuesday because of the crazy weather here, so he's essentially getting an extra Spring Break a couple months early. Here in our little house, we're running out of ideas to keep us all sane and entertained. Here's all we've done so far:

*Jumped on an icy, snow-packed trampoline
*Clomped down the sidewalk on our street several times
*Fixed broken toys and books
*Set up a play doh and puzzles table
*Watched one of the ka-jillion Land Before Time movies about a dozen times
*Read LOTS of books
*Baked cookies
*Built towers out of legos and our magnetic builders (lost count of how many)
*Made pancakes for dinner
*Made a giant jumping/wrestling pad on the living room floor
*Danced to fun, upbeat kid music by Go Fish (highly recommend)
*Cleaned both bathrooms (that was me)
*Three loads of laundry (just me again)
*Vacuumed, swept and mopped the house (Michael - WaHOOO!)
*Piled pillows, blankets and stuffed animals in Jasper's crib and let the boys wade through it all
*Took a short ride in the car to the main road by our house to see how icy it was (very)
*Taken long naps (Can't complain about this - both boys have slept 3+ hours the last two days!)
*Made plans to work out that have fallen through two days in a row
*Played hide and seek
*Worked a bit on my second book (have a bit over 50 pages so far)
*Actually washed my hair today

Holy Moly, I'm exhausted just thinking about it! I think tomorrow we're going to start working on re-caulking our bathrooms (joy), break out the coloring books, make some kick-butt omelets, and work on some Valentine cards. Trying to keep an upbeat, positive attitude for the family; snowy cold weather is fun when it's brief, but good gracious! I live in Texas for a reason, people!