Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkeys, Indians and Thankfulness

I love this time of year... time to be with friends and family.... time to eat... time to talk about our forefathers... time to tell others how we feel about them....time to do crafts... and time to reflect on our blessings... our amazing, undeserved blessings. Here are just a few pictures that captured our week of Thankfulness.

We ate with Granny on Sunday at Wellington. They prepared a wonderful "feast" for the families of the residents. She LOVED having us there! We got together with our dear friends, the Dyes, and made caramel apples, pumpkin bread and Thankfulness cards..... a definite highlight of your week!!!

This was actually last week, Caitlyn, at the Kindergarten Thanksgiving Program. There were Pilgrims, Indians, Preachers, and of course...the Turkeys (Daddy and I had a favorite). It was such a precious show!

Caroline, your class made Indian vests and braids.... you make a beautiful Indian Princess!

Here are a few things you said you were thankful for:

I could write for days on the subject, but here are the top 10 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving 2008:
1.) A healthy family
2.) Faith building seasons
3.) Memories
4.) The girls schools
5.) The love Daniel has for his work
6.) Friends that are like family
7.) My Dad's new job
8.) My new nephew on the way
9.) Music that speaks to my soul
10.) Voice of God that guides

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Horsin' around

A few weeks ago, right after we got home, Daddy called and said, " Can I come get the girls and bring them down the road...I have a surprise!" The timing worked out great because I was needing to start on dinner. He took you down to Mr. Moore's house to meet and ride on some of his horses. Because we are still new "horse people", it is always nice to meet someone who knows horses well and get some tips. Emily and Gray Nowers were there, too, and they led you around. Here you are, Caitlyn, with Emily and "Chick".

Caroline, you were very nervous to get on, but Daddy said Mr. Moore worked his magic and got you up on "Rock". Daddy had a great time, too.

Sounds like I missed out on a good lesson and lots of fun!!! I'll join you next time...dinner can wait!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Show me GRACE!!!

This past week, God encouraged me. Maybe it is because I have been more keenly sensitive towards your responses after we discipline or maybe God just wanted to give me a little push to stay the course!!! Whichever it was, I was so grateful and wanted to remember it. As I stated in an earlier post, Daddy and I have felt very convicted to really place more energy and focus into your training. In some ways, we feel that we are backtracking for times we have let things "go" too quickly and it has been very challenging.
So....on Thursday afternoon, after a long day at school and a haircut for both you and Caroline, mommy decided to stop in one more store to run a quick errand before coming home for dinner. Each afternoon, I bring you a "snack" to eat in the car when I pick you up from school. This day, I had brought you peanut M &Ms and after you get a haircut, they always let you have a sucker. had already had plenty of sugar. On our way to check out at the store, you spied the candy and asked for some. I said "no", explaining that you had already had plenty of sugar this afternoon AND that it was almost time to eat AND that we had a whole bowl full of Halloween candy at home still to eat.
You were persistent ( a character trait you have had since you were a baby) and more persistent and began to try and make deals (maybe you will be a lawyer one day). Finally, after hearing "no" at least five times, you began to stomp your feet and pout and fuss. At the time, I was praying God keep me calm and patient. (Normally, this is when I get frustrated and end up making a deal JUST for peace sake!!). After paying, Caroline and I proceed to walk out of the store and you refuse to come. So...we stood there quietly and just let you fuss and hold your ground...making a scene. Finally, once Caroline began to cry because you wouldn't come you began SLOWLY moving your way out the door.
Once outside the store, you continued to refuse to come. It was very dark at this point and there were many cars in the parking lot. I told you that I was going to walk to the car with Caroline and that you had a could either walk with us or I would pick you up and carry you to the car. In tears, you decided to come...once again at YOUR own slow pace.
Finally, in the car, you began to fuss louder and say. "I want that CANDY!!!!" I turned to you and said, "I have told you no and I am not changing my mind. If you ask again, you will lose your chance to have any candy the rest of the night." Not one minute later, you asked again. So, I told you, "That was your last more candy tonight at all." You lost it at this point. We had about a 10 minute drive home and you cried as loud as you possibly could and even said, "Mommy, please just give me a spanking!!! I want a spanking! Please don't take the candy away!!"
I felt very strongly at the point to hold MY ground and stand firm. We were close to home and you finally said, "MOMMY!!! PLEASE just show me GRACE!!!!" At this, I had to turn my head, so you wouldn't see my laughter mixed with tears. I realize you know what touches my heart... and this was it... however, I held my own...and inwardly, was thankful that you are beginning to understand the concept.
Once at home, I told you to go to the green room (which we have called the "fussing room") until you calmed down. You decided quickly, you did NOT want to be away from us and stopped the tears, but stayed right next to me as I began fixing dinner..sniffling. You finally said in a whisper, "Momma, does God always give you what you want?" At this, I bent down, hugged you, and said, "Oh, baby, no, he doesn't. He often times tells us "no". He knows what we need and when we need it. A lot of times, He knows something we ask for is not best for us and so He doesn't let us have it."
The first thing that came to my mind at this point, was my miscarriages and the extreme longing I had for a baby and how many times I asked God for the opportunity to have my own. I decided to use it as an example. "Honey, do you know what I asked God for for about 5 years and what He said no about all that time?"
"What?" you said.
"YOU. I wanted you so badly and asked God over and over for a baby. HE KNEW when Daddy and I would be ready for a baby and what we needed the most. So, He told us no for a long time. Then, when the time was right, He gave us YOU!!!"
You didn't say anything after that, and we moved on to the rest of our night. I, however, was FILLED with a grateful heart that God is at work in your heart and is putting questions like that in your mind.
Thank you, Lord, for the ways you work on my girls. Thank you for the ways in which you have taught me in my own life that you are FAITHFUL and KNOW what we NEED and when we NEED it. Thank you for disciplining me. Thank you for saying no to me. PLEASE, PLEASE continue to help Daniel and I know HOW to do this very same thing with Caitlyn and Caroline.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr. Price

We found out today that Granny's constant companion since moving her into Wellington Place passed away today. He was 92 years old. He really looked after Granny and loved her. His wife had died a few years ago at Wellington and she and Granny shared the same name. I'm sure that is why he was drawn to her at first, but her sweet spirit kept him coming to get her each and every morning. They both seemed truly happy when in each others company. With Granny's mind the way it is (she has now about a 2 minute memory), we are uncertain of how she will handle this. So far, she hasn't asked for him and we are praying that the disease of Alzheimers can be a blessing so she won't have to hurt and miss him. Our whole family had grown very fond of Mr. Ralph Price and we will miss him greatly. We thank you, Lord, for sending this angel of a man to love our precious Granny. Hold him tightly in your arms.

Training up..........

It has been a hard few weeks. We go through this in cycles and I know it will repeat itself over and over, but I have to admit, I don't look forward to these testing stages with you, girls. I have felt myself feeling continually frustrated (more at myself than anything) and discouraged. I know it is all normal and a part of you testing boundaries and growing up...learning how to express yourself and what respect is all about.....understanding self-control and kindness, selflessness and sharing, and right from wrong.

Discipline........the part of parenting I never gave enough thought to before I had my bundles of joy! Discipline........the part of parenting that takes so much energy, consistency, patience and time. Discipline......the part of parenting that I feel at such a loss at how to do....and MUST look to MY Heavenly Father who disciplines me with SUCH tender love and grace.

As I continued to feel the weight of burden about this over the week, I knew I had to carve out some time to sit with my thoughts and feelings and listen to God. I wish this was something I chose to do immediately, rather than after days or sometimes weeks of an uneasy spirit. Despite my delay in coming to HIM, he always blesses me with such hope. I wanted to spend some time sharing what His Holy Spirit shared with me, as a reminder to both you and I, to REST in HIS CONTROL.

Ultimately that is my problem......control. I feel like it is completely up to me to teach you... to help shape you and oh, when I am reminded it is NOT up to me, it is a mix of relief and guilt. The first part of Hebrews 12 talks about discipline. I have read this chapter many times before, but the verse that jumped out at me was verse 10... "Our fathers (mothers) disciplined us for a little while as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in HIS holiness."

What this said to me was that....YOU are a GIFT to us from the one true God and HE IS AT WORK in your life even more than I am. You are just given to us on loan, and for just a short time. As your momma and daddy, we are doing the best we know how with what we know. We fail so often... and that is where Satan gets to us...He longs for us to dwell on those times and feel guilty. What I cling to though, is not my feelings, it is the TRUTH...which IS... GOD knows what discipline you will need throughout your life to make you HOLY!! I trust HIM to use me and I trust HIM to use many other tools in your life. I must lay down this weight and rest in HIS KNOWLEDGE.

I need you to know one more thing. You often ask, "Do you still love me?" after mommy or daddy has disciplined you. I hope you never doubt that....we will tell you this over and over until it becomes truth to you. We discipline BECAUSE we love you...just as our Heavenly Father does in our lives. HE says so in Proverbs 3 : 12..."...the Lord disciplines those He loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as sons (daughters)." Why does HE do this? Why do mommy and daddy discipline? In order to produce "a harvest of righteouseness and peace for those who have been trained by it"!!! (Hebrews 12 :11)

I pray when you will read this one day, you will remember how much we love you and even be thankful for these training days........and I pray that your life will be filled with much righteouseness and peace!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Halloween in Dallas!

Here you are, Caroline, the morning of your Halloween party at school. You decided instead of being a ballerina, you wanted to be Sleeping Beauty. We have an overabundance of dress up dresses, so changing costumes was no big deal! What a FUN party you had with games, crafts and of course, food!! Daddy came and got you early because we had a plane to catch!!! This was your first plane ride and you talked about it for weeks. We made plans back in the Spring to go see the Kennedys in Dallas over Halloween weekend. We were all looking so forward to it! I think you girls were most excited about getting on a plane.

Here you are, watching our plane pull up to the terminal.
Waiting to take off!

Despite a day of sickies (we brought it from Nashville--ugh!), we made some wonderful memories with our sweet friends. They live next to an awesome park that we could walk to with a great playground and a huge would never know we were in the city!

Halloween night we dressed up and went to their church for a HUGE festival. Here you are, Caitlyn, with Will--our swat team protector!! They had games, jump houses, a petting zoo, a band, and of course, lots of candy.

Caitlyn, you are always drawn to animals and enjoyed the animals in the petting zoo. Caroline, you wanted NO part of it... and were just ready to fill your bucket with candy!
At the end of the night, we sat to listen to the band and had snow cones!!!

Bathtime with Will. Overall, the three of you did well together. Anytime you get three children together, there will be some squabbles. We kept saying we had lots of teaching moments!!! Miss Angela is pregnant and expecting a baby in April. We gave her lots of practice with sibling conflict.

Mr. Nick and Caitlyn made us some amazing chocolate chip cookies on Sunday afternoon--they even made us a bag to bring home!
As always when we are all together we are treated so very special. We are so thankful to have been blessed with such dear friendships that have lasted through the years.

I had to put this picture in. Caitlyn, you and I took a walk on Sunday while sister slept to see the lake one more time. When we got there, this is what we saw....10 or more sailboats enjoying the gorgeous day. We sat there a good while and just watched them and talked. It was a special moment for just the two of us.

We had a later flight and we were all so tired, but with hearts full of blessing!!!!! Thank you, Kennedys for loving us the way you do and for carving out these times for us all to be together.