Update

When we decided to move, I had JUST started How to Make a Biscuit. It was a small idea in my head for five long years (yes, I knew I would be blogging mama when I was pregnant!) and it came to life along with many other dreams for our family. 

Looking back on my posts, it makes me sad that they are all Saturday Night Cry Fests! Jeeze, Louise! This is not what I had in mind! Unfortunately, with so many changes, come so many feelings! Sorry about that!

To make up for a sadness, here are a few announcements regarding How to Make a Biscuit!

First a foremost, I am so thrilled to announce…. that we have a big announcement/reveal coming up for How to Make a Biscuit! It’s in the works as we speak and involves my awesome, creative husband! I can’t wait to share it with you all!

In addition to the big reveal, we are revamping the way we do things around here. To start, I am going to be sharing our homeschool journey with the blogosphere through a video blog! This is something that I hope will give a little encouragement to all of the first time homeschool moms! You can’t be worse than me!

Next up…

EVERYONE GETS A CAR!

And you get a car.

And you get a car.

Just kidding. I don’t even have a car to give away, but I am going to start doing small giveaways! I’m really excited about this! It’s a great way to give back to my followers! I so appreciate my few!

For all of you…. okay there are only two of you….. okay one of you is my mom…… who are wanting to read my thoughts about anything specific, I’d be happy to write about it! Please feel free to anonymously suggest a topic at ask.fm/howtomakeabiscuit. I want to know what you want to read! 

Lastly, I hope to follow a blog schedule! Maybe my homeschool schedule will kick me into shape! This schedule will feature days specifically devoted to certain topics as well as guest bloggers! To begin, I’ll be doing a “family update” on the first Saturday of each month! So excited about this! 

One more thing… To help you keep up with all of the latest and greatest on How to Make a Biscuit, I’ve created social media madness everywhere and I promise to post frequently! You can follow HTMAB on Twitter (@makeabiscuit), Instagram (@howtomakeabiscuit), and Facebook on our community page by searching How to Make a Biscuit! You can also join the conversation with #howtomakeabiscuit! 

I love you all and my mama! Thanks for supporting my writing habit! Image

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Mother of the Year

So recently, I’ve noticed this trend in blogger Mama’s where they’re “real.” Some of them hate being parents. Some of them just admit every day that they are awful mom’s. I’m not sure the purpose of that, but I honestly like/liked it for a while. I’m all for honesty and I think it’s awesome that people are being real about themselves. One blog that I read is devoted to not yelling. On my feed this week I read a post that says, “I didn’t rock motherhood today.” And we all know (or at least everyone who’s anyone who worships G at Momastary like me) that G has her days where she feels defeated. 

While contemplating my own failures as a mom over half a slice of totally not whole foods Pizza and a sauce laden face in front of me, I had a ginormous realization. 

Carter had pizza sauce all over his face and possibly ears and it had been an awful day. I woke up with little sleep thanks to a semi sickly 9 month old. Seriously, Chandler is only needy when he’s sick, but when he’s needy, he’s NEED-AY! I was in an horrific mood. I didn’t want to be around my kids. Honestly, I didn’t want to be around anyone. I knew that everyone was just waiting on me to bite their head off. I already went on a rant to Matthew about how to load the dishwasher correctly and I’m pretty sure it was only 9:00 am.

I finally decided to take Carter with me anywhere to get out of the house. We decided to go shopping for new shoes for Carter. He was disappointed because we couldn’t buy the $50 bright blue converse that he wanted. I gave him a long speech about being grateful for having shoes.. blah blah blah…. and then opted to eat at Olive Garden. Carter was slightly shocked because I’d been a Real Food Junkie/Nazi for about two weeks as this point. I let him get pizza and I at pasta filled with refined flour and processed cheese. It was grossly delicious. 

While we were there, Carter managed to spill his drink, break all of his crayons, cry because I wouldn’t let him get coke, and tell our server that he didn’t like her because she was a girl. I responded to all of these things with anger. Nothing was lifting my spirits because honestly, I just wanted to be in a bad mood. I was tired and suffering and so was everyone else. 

Carter didn’t care that I was angry. He was so excited about his pizza! An older woman stopped by our table and spoke with Carter…. and Carter’s 1 lb of marinara face sauce. The instant that she stopped, I felt judged. I immediately listed all the reasons that I was a horrible mother, including the fact that Carter’s shoes were too small and I am too cheap to pay $50 for the ones he really wants. Then, she said something really important. I don’t remember what she talked to Carter about, but at some point she looked at me and said, “That’s a happy boy.” I looked over at Carter’s ginormous pizza sauce grin and smiled. Then she continued, “Good Job, Mom!” 

Instant realization: Carter is happy. Chandler is happy. I make happy children and children happy. That is enough. 

Who is this Mother of the Year that we use as a standard, because I think she should get booted! Seriously, I beat myself up every day because Carter eats cold fruit for breakfast because I’m too exhausted at 7:00 am to cook him anything warm. No mother is perfect. Moms who actually do cook breakfast, probably don’t give their kids baths. Moms who give their kids baths twice a day, probably let them stay up all night. Or eat sugar all the time. Or watch PG-13 movies. Mother of the Year shouldn’t be the standard, Happy Kid of the Year should. Who is the Mother of the Year? WHO? I want to know. I bet her kid’s aren’t happy, but guess what, mine are. 

Despite the fact that Carter stayed up until 11:30 last night because I let him take a nap at 4:00. Despite the fact that Carter’s shoes are from Marshall’s for $29 because I’m a cheap-o. Despite the fact that Chandler is super skinny and tall and the doctor sometimes judges me about that. Despite all of the obstacles we face as a family, I am the best mom ever to Carter and Chandler. I bet they wouldn’t trade me for Mother of the Year. They like pizza too much. 

Here’s sickly Chandler’s grumpy face.

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And here are Carter and my grumpy faces.

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And here’s Carter riding on the snail that I’m pretty sure said “Do Not Ride” or something like that on the sign. I know, I know, but look at his happy face. 

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Sorry for the bad quality, but you have to snap fast when you’re breaking the rules. Look at those adorable shoes. Best Mom Ever right here!

loves. the. same.

As I look back on my born-again life, I recall so much encouragement, excitement, confusion, and defeat. There is a time in everyone’s new found love for Christ where they feel as though they cannot be defeated in the pursuit to defeat all evil in the world and still have time to say grace before dinner.

As seasoned Christ lovers, people often forget that Jesus loves those who are new to loving him just as much as he loves us. He cannot love a little. He can only love a lot. Unconditionally. New. Old. Any. He loves.

I’ve experienced a lot in my four short years of following Jesus. I worked as a Youth Director in a brand new church… the first church that I attended after I got saved. I didn’t think I was ready. I didn’t think I was ready because someone told me that I wasn’t. God told me to seek ministry and the pastor of that church saw a fire in me and knew that I could help in some small way to direct young people to Jesus. I had a passion for it. I devoted so much time to it… Then it was time for me to move on and that was good. God sent me there for a short short season and I learned so much. I’m so thankful for that time, but it saddens me to remember that nobody believed in me because they loved Jesus more or Jesus loved them more… I can’t remember. I just remember that I wasn’t good enough, or saved enough, or “seasoned” enough. 

This wasn’t the last time that this happened to me. Though they meant no harm, this advice from friends and family to “spend some time with God” or “wait until you’re sure” caused me to feel inadequate and question my faith. I lived in a world where it was perfectly fine to “call people out” and I did it often. It wasn’t out of love. It was out of pride. I honestly thought this was biblical. I thought this was what God wanted because the bible said that, but because of the way I had been treated, I didn’t have the ability to “call someone out” in love. I hurt a lot of people like this. And a lot of people hurt me. And other people hurt other people. That’s not love. 

When I look back four years ago and then I look at my life, I am so thankful that God opened my eyes to love. At some point, thankfully, I realized that there’s nothing that I can do to make God love me more. Or less. I can read my bible 23094230948 times. Loves the same. Invite 78 people to church. Loves the same. Follow Christ for a 100 years. Loves the same. Follow Christ for 100 minutes. Loves. The. Same. 

I once asked someone “How do I know if I’m where God wants me?”

Their response was simple, “Look at your life.”

My life cannot be explained by anything other than my Father’s never changing love. Seriously. Four short years. Look at what God has done in my life. I am so thankful and so blessed that I have countless stories of how he has healed my heart, healed my body, and healed my mind. I have testimony after testimony of what he has done. And those testimonies begin four years ago when I surrendered my whole life to him… not after I sought him faithfully for 90 years. 

So to those of you who have loved Jesus for a million years, encourage others to serve in ministry. Remember that God doesn’t love you more. Notice that spiritual maturity has nothing to do with age and doesn’t always affect the ability to serve. Encourage one another. Build each other up.

For those who are new christians. Hello, welcome to the club. I am still new. I hope I always stay new. I hope I never run out of things to learn and I hope you don’t either. Don’t let anyone on earth tell you something different from what you hear God telling you. If God has something to say to you, more times than not, he will say it to you if you ask. Beware of those who are giving you advice and check to see where it lines up with God’s advice. Follow what God wants you to do, because I know God called me to ministry… It was only for a season, but that season was so important in my life. 

I’m thankful for the defeat, because it caused me to finally stop seeking approval from others and start accepting approval from Him. 

To the hurting, the hungry, and the homeless.

The day before Carter’s Birthday was also Pack Up Our Entire House Day. I was tired. I was frustrated. And I realized that somewhere among the sweet women packing up my home, all my piping tips and bags went into a box simply labeled “kitchen.” Instead of unpacking the 1934923 boxes with that label, I opted to just run to Wal-Mart and grab some of the gross tube icing. I needed it in black. 

I don’t know if I’ve ever explained my hatred for Wal-Mart, but I had a high school teacher who described Wal-Mart perfectly. He simply said, “It takes me to a dark place.” and I’ve used that phrase since my sophomore year. Why do I hate Wal-Mart? I’ll tell you. 

While everyone else is wearing their pajamas and nobody cares, I care. On that off chance that I choose to wear even yoga pants to Wal-Mart, I would see at least three people that I know. And I’d talk to all of them. Trust me. This has happened. Also, people act a fool in Wal-Mart. Seriously. Why are children riding bikes up and down the frozen food section? It drives me bananas. 

In addition to my regular dislike for Wal-Mart, I REALLY disliked Foley, Alabama’s Wal-Mart during this time because they were “renovating” their store. I say renovating in quotation marks because I think they really just wanted to mess with my head. Why are the chips next to the shoes? Who took all of the two liter cokes? 

And WHO MOVED THE ICING!?!

While standing extremely frustrated in what should have been the bread aisle, but was now (due to “renovations”) the baking aisle, I was trying to determine if it was worth it to make the cupcakes into a treasure map. Like, could I just make it work without? 

For those of you who came to the birthday party, you know I didn’t make the treasure map.

The reason is because while standing there cursing under my breath, I smelled a strong urine scent. Now, what I’m about to say will cause you to judge me, but if you’re a stay at home mom, you might relate. I pulled up my shirt and smelled it. I know, I know, Why would i go to Wal-Mart smelling like pee? It happens, okay. Kids pee. They pee and throw up and do all kinds of things that cause disgusting odors that you overlook when you’re a mom. Anyway, it wasn’t my shirt. I try to follow the scent with my nose. I look around. Finally I recognized that down the aisle, about half way, was a man. I surveyed this man. He was definitely the root of the smell. It was obvious that he hadn’t showered in a while. His clothes were worn and and so was he. He was also sporting a walkman… I think just a radio… with some of those old school headphones. You know, not the apple ones.

And that’s when I slowly put back my icing and began to sob. 

I walked away, but really I just hid behind the apple juice on the end cap and thought… Why was he there? Why did he have the walkman? Was he homeless? Did he have a family? Who doesn’t have a family? There are homeless people in Foley? What does his shirt say? Is he wearing shoes? He’s not. He isn’t wearing shoes. Why doesn’t he have shoes? Why is he buying cooking oil? Oh, he’s coming this way. Look normal. Don’t be a stalker. 

But I was a stalker. I followed like I was trailing him in a police car. I prayed. I prayed that God would help me help him. 

Then it occurred to me… What if he wasn’t homeless? What if he was just old? Or crazy? What if he didn’t want me to help him? What if he started yelling or something when I tried to talk to him?

So then, I did something that I am definitely not proud of.

I left. 

I didn’t even approach him… I just left. 

When I got into the car with Matthew who was waiting outside. He asked what took so long and I began to tell him about the man and I cried again. I tried to rationalize that maybe God put those thoughts in my head because the guy would have been offended and that patched that feeling of guilt… for a while.

Once we moved, I was too consumed with everything else to remember the man. I completely forgot about him, actually… until we went to the Botanical Garden in Oklahoma City. 

As we were leaving I saw a woman who, to many, would probably just look like a lady hanging and enjoying the scenery…. but as we left, I noticed that she had a trash bag with her. She was wearing a heavy coat, shoes that were way too big, and thick pants. Her hair was matted and looked like it hadn’t been combed… or even washed.. maybe in weeks. 

And there it was. 

That feeling.

That guilt. 

That longing.

I just wanted to hold her. I wanted to take her to my car and drive her wherever she wanted to go. I wanted to feed her. I wanted to put her up in a hotel for the night. I wanted to know her story. I still want to know her story. 

Guess what I did?

That’s right… I walked my merry self in my target jeans and my $40 highlights to my nice car. I buckled in my Polo clad children and drove away. 

That night, I cried so much. I thought to myself, “This will be better tomorrow. I’m over tired, I miss my family, and I’m just being dramatic. This feeling will go away.”

But it didn’t.

So, I prayed and journaled and really thought about this. I realized that this feeling isn’t new. I felt this way when I first started in ministry at Engulf. I expressed this feeling to others, but most of them were so calloused and said things like “I wouldn’t give anyone money… they’ll probably just use it for booze or drugs.” or “Why don’t they just go get a job?” Someone even told me that most homeless people want to be homeless. Maybe they do. I don’t know and I really don’t care.

That’s right, I said it. I don’t care if they use that money for booze or drugs. I don’t care if they want to be homeless. I care that I wasn’t Jesus to these people because the world has taught me that they “deserve” to be homeless or that they will take advantage of my giving. I have to ask… If someone in your family was living a reckless life far away from God. They were making choices that would lead them down an obviously destructive path and told you that they enjoyed their life there, what would you do? Would you say, “Oh, I can’t help you… you want to be reckless?”

Once again the world (and satan) has pursuaded me that in my glass house, I shouldn’t worry my pretty little mind about “those people.” Wait… why am I listening to the world? Why am I listening to Satan? 

Here’s what God’s Word says. “Give food to the hungry and care for the homeless.” in Isaiah 58:10. Please note that it doesn’t follow with, “unless you think they might use it on booze, drugs, or if you think they might like being homeless.” It just says to give the hungry food and give the homeless care. 

I want to be honest with myself when I see someone in need. I want to follow that God-Given drive and help. I know people are concerned about children in Uganda… I am too, but we should also concern ourselves with people and children in our own communities that are hurting. 

Hurting people, I will help you. Hungry people, I will feed you. Homeless people, I will care for you.

Even if you want to be hurting, hungry, or homeless.

Love.

Not long ago, I heard someone say, “Would you forget the day you were born? Then why don’t you remember the day you were reborn?” At that time I really didn’t know the exact date that I was saved. I knew that I encountered God many times before I knew him…. before I was truly a Christian. This conversation really lingered for a while. It made me contemplate whether or not I was truly saved. I was a new creation, but why couldn’t I remember the exact moment that it happened?

Maybe because it wasn’t in a moment for me. It was a process.

I want to celebrate the day that Jesus pulled me out of my horrible circumstance and saved me. It’s worth celebrating! Probably even more than the day I was born, but just as a mom carries a baby for 9 months for them to grow before they are born, I went through a transition before it clicked for me. I needed so much healing, and God knew that. It took a defining moment for me to really understand God’s love.

When I was pregnant with Carter, I “decided” to change my life… to live for Christ. I declared my love for Jesus… at least with my mouth. The pregnancy was such a difficult time in my life. I was a child myself, really. At only 18, I was an unwed, unemployed, unprepared pregnant teenager. I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own. I knew that I needed more help than any family member or friend could offer. I knew that I needed Jesus to save me, but I didn’t think that he would.

Saying that now sounds so silly, but at that time my life was so broken. I was so broken. I simply could not understand how God, the creator of the entire universe (including so many people who were so much better than I), could love me. I couldn’t imagine forgiving someone who cursed my name and knew what was right, but chose to run toward wrong. I thought I was hopeless.

I knew that I didn’t have what other Christian’s had. I wanted a relationship deeply. I prayed constantly and consistently for God to forgive me for hurting so many people. I repeated the process of begging for forgiveness daily, because I didn’t believe that God wanted me. I didn’t think I was worthy of his love. I wanted more than the empty faith I had, but I didn’t understand that my lack of confidence in God’s ability to love was really my disbelief in God’s promises and ultimately prolonged the healing necessary to have a real relationship with Christ.

Looking back, I know that there was a specific moment where things changed for me. A moment when I truly believed that God could forgive me and I completely opened my wounded heart and made myself completely vulnerable, but I didn’t realize it at the time. What defined that moment?

Love.

My first true, real, unconditional love toward another human being.

Carter.

When he was born, I stared at his flat chunky face for hours. For the first time in my entire life, I loved someone more than I loved myself. I experienced true love. Unconditional love. Love that would never change with any choice he made. Love that would never decrease. Love that was just so real. So much love. I just wanted to hold him all the time. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him, but I couldn’t make the words come out fast enough to express the overwhelming love.

And that’s when I got it.

If I could love this tiny little human that I created that much in one hour, how much did God love me?

A lot.

A whole lot.

Through Carter’s birth, I was able to understand God’s love. Though I am still healing, still growing, still learning…. At that moment, the disbelief vanished and something changed in my life. Finally, I not only declared it with my lips, but I fully believed it with my whole heart. I share my spiritual birthday with Carter’s real birthday. God took a poor decision that I made and gave me the most precious gift I’ll ever receive.

God has filled me up so much in four years…. Just when I feel like my heart is full, it grows.

Happy Birthday to my first true love. And Happy Spiritual Birthday to me.

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Sweet Carter: One day I hope that you read this. I hope that you always know that you’re loved and that I always make you feel loved. Happy Birthday precious one who changed so many lives when he came into this world! Especially mine.

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I’m jealousing you right now.

Not long ago my sweet Big C noticed that Weezie (that’s my mom) was giving baby C a little more attention than he felt was necessary. He began to stomp out of the room as my mom asked, “Are you jealous?” to which he replied. “YES! I’m jealousing you RIGHT NOW!”

This week I deleted everyone but family off of Facebook. A sweet friend of mine sent me a message that read,

“I realized I compare myself to these people who only share the good part of their life. I mean obviously people aren’t going to put their bad crap on Facebook … and the ones that do I am sometimes like woooaah why did you post that. Brave really. I’m not brave and I have a lot more issues than social ones….. I ignore the people who make it seem like life is peaches And cream. If their life is that I don’t wanna think about it and chance are they probably deal with the same stuff I do.”

When I read this, it occurred to me that I’m not the only one “jealousing” everyone else’s life.

I am so jealous! Why do I care? I’ll let you in on a little secret.

I AM INSECURE! Like, majorly.

I wish that was the only secret.

But there’s something else.

I AM A LIAR.

What am I really putting on Facebook anyway? Stuff. The good stuff. The real stuff, but not all of it. Why do I do that?

What if everyone put their real stuff on Facebook? I bet that instead of “Look at this cute picture of my baby covered in baby lotion,” JoeMamma what’s her face’s status should really read this, “Look at this cute picture of my baby covered in baby lotion. I was smoking on the deck when he did it and I yelled at him for 20 minutes” and SirGoodNews Man’s status would say, “Jesus loves you. But guess what, I’m thankful he loves me because I sure cussed him out this morning when I spilled coffee in my lap on the way to work.”  instead of  “Jesus loves you.” I’ll even bet that, “I love being a mom,” might turn into something like, “I love being a mom, but I’m secretly dealing with postpartum depression.” or “I know I’m redeemed, but I deal with guilt and regret.” or “I contemplated ending my life this week.” or  “I post 900 pictures of my kids because I had an abortion and I struggle with that daily.” or “I’m having an affair.” or “Sometimes I feel like this world has nothing for me.”

Hit home yet?

It did for me. The people I’m “jealousing” aren’t even real! Neither am I!! We all live in an alternate universe called Cyber World where we are living the life that we wish we had and comparing it to others who are doing the same thing. All the while, we are forgetting how great our real life actually is!

Well, today, I vow to be real. I vow to be honest and truthful and to hopefully never make you jealous of my life! I’m sorry that I pretended to be an awesome mom and wife who has her junk together on Facebook. I don’t. Most mornings, I spill formula all over the counter because I’m half asleep. It’s not because I was up all night working or feeding a baby. Nope, I was up watching tv while everyone else was asleep because sometimes, I really don’t want to be around my family. Bad mom. Bad wife. Whatever.

Then, I don’t even clean the formula up. I just leave it there. Messy house syndrome, I guess.

Here’s what my statuses should read:

I’m totally nuts.

Just argued with my husband about what to eat for dinner because I’m tired.

Now I’m crying because we’re out of milk and I really wanted coffee.

Told my kids we were out of ice cream. Really I just didn’t want to make it.

Man, definitely didn’t wake up early for time with Jesus today! I’m probably tired because I stayed up watching Scandal last night!

Just went shopping. Bought some shoes I’ll never wear!

Thought I was going to fail today, so I just didn’t leave the house.

Man, I hate laundry.

I love my husband, but sometimes I want a vacation without my family.

Saw that one girl today. She hugged me. I secretly cussed her out. I hate hugs!

Feeling pretty guilty today. I am a horrible person.

Man, I’m sure my 4 year old understands my rude sarcasm.

Just pretended to go to the bathroom for an hour so that I could read Catching Fire!

I wish I hadn’t missed big C’s life and tried to make up for it by never letting little C leave my side.

Today I ate chocolate frosting straight from the can. Delicious.

Just enjoyed a delightful dinner with my friend and gossiped the whole time.

Audi Day to friend I haven’t seen in years: Hey girl! I would say let’s get together, but that’s a waste of time, because I never follow through with my plans!

I need Jesus.

I need Jesus.

I need Jesus.

Why can’t we just be real? Why can’t we just be us? Why can’t we accept people for what they are and stop requiring them to be who they are on Facebook?

Why?

Well, I am. I am going to be real. And guess what! I want to be like Jesus, so I’ll take you being real. Whatever you are, wherever you’ve been, wherever you’re going. I want to know. And I want to love you and all your junk.

I want to know what your status should read. You can comment anonymously. Who are you in real life?

“It’s crazy, if you think about it…”

“It’s crazy if you think about it. The God of the universe- the creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and e-minor – loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss.” -Francis Chan

 

Last weekend, my Mr. and I left the kiddos with grandmas and hopped a plane ride (or two) to visit a job opportunity in Oklahoma City. 

I was very nervous about the trip for various reasons. I left my baby for the first time, I hate flying, and I have serious social anxiety issues, but of all the fears, my number one fear was that I would hate it. Attempting to be a supportive wife, I didn’t share this with my husband. Up to this point, I loved the idea of Matthew working at the church as well as moving and starting a new little life with our growing family. The thought of all this excitement crashing down was overwhelming. I decided that prayer was the obvious way to handle the fear, so I just prayed for direction and a clear vision to be laid before us. 

God gives us the desires of our hearts right? 

Throughout the trip, I kept looking for something that I hated. Nothing. I kept waiting for the bomb to drop. Nothing. I even expected that they wouldn’t have simple things I love like good coffee, sweet tea, monograms, and bows. Had it all. It was everything I wanted and nothing that I expected. Suddenly, my fear of hating it, turned into my fear of loving it. What if this was what God wanted for our family? What if my kids grew up in Oklahoma instead of the south I’d always sworn I’d never leave? What if my husband actually did work here? 

I was terrified. I had no idea how to feel. I felt like Ron Burgundy in the glass case of emotion. I was so happy for this opportunity for Matthew to grow and learn, but I was really scared that I wasn’t ready. Then, Sunday afternoon, I had a revelation. 

I am small.

So often we hear the sermon that God knows the number of hairs on our head. He knows every thought completely before a word is on our lips. And he does. But, God is big. God is so big. I know that is a basic concept, but just like the quote…. it’s crazy, if you think about it. 

On Sunday, God opened my eyes entirely. All I could see prior to that point was me. Me. Matthew. The kids. Our family. God allowed me to see everything from a different point of view. All of a sudden, I was aware. I got it. It clicked. 

God didn’t bring us to Oklahoma to open more job opportunities for Matthew. He didn’t bring us there so that we could grow our family in tornado-ville. He didn’t bring us there so that we could go to an awesome church. He did it so that Matthew could use a God given talent to further God’s kingdom. 

By Monday interviews, I was ready to move. I was ready to run full force. As our pastor often says, I was ready to storm the gates of hell with a water pistol! I was on fire! I knew this was exactly what God wanted for our family and for his kingdom and I can’t wait to see it unfold.

That is love. That is so much love that I get giddy when I think about it. God brought us there to bring people to him… and we are way to small to mess that up. 

So, that’s our big announcement. 

We are MOVING!

Matthew was offered the job on Monday and accepted the offer on Wednesday. We will be moving in June. Though I am so sad to say goodbye to family and friends that love us and have spoiled us in the past few years, I am so excited to serve and grow in Oklahoma… but most of all, I am thrilled for my husband. An opportunity to do what you love for who you love. It’s perfect.

How does Carter feel about the move? Ecstatic! His thoughts were: Can I have a dog? Does Chandler get to come with us? What does Thunder Up mean? and Do I still get a birthday?

In that order.

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…but joy comes in the lotion.

For my birthday this year, my mom gave me a gift certificate for a mani pedi at a local nail salon. I hadn’t redeemed it and we are going on a special weekend trip, so I thought this was the perfect time. When I was pregnant I loved pedicures. I got them every two weeks…. sometimes every week. For some reason this time, I couldn’t remember how wonderful they were… and here’s the story of why.

Wednesday, I went to redeem my glorious gift certificate. On the door, they conveniently posted their hours and clearly stated they close at 7pm. When I walked in, the entire salon was empty except for Mama Nails (that is a little harsh, but every salon has the old lady that seems to boss all the other people around). So, I explain to her that I am here for a mani pedi and she looks at me. I keep talking, because I do that when I feel awkward, and it took me a few minutes to realize that she barely spoke English. I finally handed her the card and she says to me, “Only me. No hand and feet. Close. You come tomorrow? Yes?” Of course I just agreed and left. This was phase one of the sorrow.

I let this go, but I did tell my mom what happened and she was very sympathetic. So sympathetic that the following day she called me and offered to watch the boys while Matthew was at work so that I could go before our trip. I eagerly accepted her offer and began the process of rounding up the troops to leave the house. As I was preparing to leave, I looked in my purse for my keys and realized that my sweet husband took the vehicle containing my (stupid) gift certificate. This was the second phase of sorrow.

I am ready to throw in the towel at this point, but wonderful Mr. Biscuit agreed to watch the boys so that I could give this one last shot. I get there and they have 5 employees working. I tell them what I need and pick my color. I sit down and sink my feet. OUCH. Hot water. Very hot water. So hot, that when I lifted my foot out, it was red. I looked down and decided just to let it go. I worked this hard to make it to this point, let’s follow through without complaining. And so begins the final phase.

The next 30 minutes were so odd. I wasn’t even sure if this young man spoke English. He was very quiet as he painfully trimmed, scrubbed, and exfoliated my feet. The way he cut my cuticle was excruciating  It was not the relaxation I was looking for. I dug for a memory of why I enjoyed this horrid experience. Then, he brought out the lotion. As I became self conscious and tried to remember if I shaved my legs yesterday, he began to massage my legs and feet. Not just any massage. It was like he went to school for 9 years to massage legs and feet. I could have sat there for hours. It was phenomenal. All of my tension and fear and pain from the gruesome toe plucking was over and I was in heaven. Pure lotiony bliss.

Suddenly I remembered why I endured the pedicure every two weeks. The lotion. The lotion followed by warm rags and hot stones. Joy. It was so worth the hassle. I finally spoke with Mr. Nails. It turns out that he actually has a southern accent. He also has a love for sushi, a beautiful wife, and a baby on the way.

I wish I always remembered the lotion. So often in circumstances I find myself giving up because I can’t see the joy in the morning. Our family is going through such an emotional transition right now. I know that God is preparing (and has been preparing) our hearts for a huge change. I knew before anything unfolded, before any calls were made, and before anything exciting happened. And I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be sorrow. I knew it would be pain…. but I also knew there would be joy. After all the hurt and difficulty, there will be joy! Not just our joy, but joy God’s joy. It will be there in the morning. In the fall. Next year. Five years. The sorrow, the lonely, the uncertainty, the pain, the awkward pedicure… it never lasts forever.

Joy always comes.

Do you speak love?

Recently, I have been reading into “The 5 Love Languages.” Big C has gotten to where I need to know what works for him and I also don’t want to  make him feel unloved because his love language is different than mine. All of this research prompted me to actually take the test. 

I’ve always “assumed” that my love language was Words of Affirmation. When someone encourages me verbally I feel on top of the world! The huge downside to that is that someone can say something as simple as “I really don’t like your handwriting” and I’m analyzing everything I put on paper for the next month. I was pretty positive that the lowest on my love language would be Physical Touch. I don’t like to hug, I don’t like to hold hands, and if you even try to kiss me in public, you likely be kissing the palm of my hand. GROSS! My husband’s love language is Physical Touch or Acts of Service and I’m almost positive that SC’s is either Physical Touch or Quality Time. My husband could spend hours cuddling on the couch and SC would rather go on a Dilly Bar date at Dairy Queen than hear how much he means to me. 

My results came back with (as expected) Words of Affirmation 11/30. But I was kind of shocked when the next closest, at 8/30 was physical touch? What? I can only conclude that because the test asked questions about my husband, I maybe answered some of them based on him? Trust me, I don’t want your physical touch. I don’t even want you to sit close to me. Receiving Gifts was next at 6/30. Then Quality Time (4/30) and Acts of Service (1/30).

I wish that everyone’s love language was posted on their forehead. I wish that employees required people to take this test in order to work in their establishment. I wish that all parents were required to have their children tested so that we don’t crush little spirits with our harsh words or inability to snuggle. Think of what a wonderful place the world would be if we knew exactly how someone wanted to be loved. I don’t want your hugs, but your encouragement will linger in my soul for years to come.

Here’s a photo from our “Dilly Bar Date” this evening. I love knowing that he feels loved. Now that I am more aware of how to love him, I think I can tolerate a few snuggles on the couch with hot cocoa and a few hours in a week for a date. I love spending individual time with him, especially since little C was born. It’s hard to make time like that when you have two kids and a husband, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure that when big C looks back on his childhood, he doesn’t remember, “Mom loved me in her own way,” but instead, “Mom loved me exactly how I needed to be loved.” 

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