Thursday, February 26, 2015

White blank hearts

Today we woke to a snowy white sight. Snow happened last night, and covered everything.... everything...

As cold and messy as snow is to my mama-mind, every single time it happens, I fall in love with it again. Before my kids run outside and make their snow angels, snowmen and snowballs, I always feel like I must steal away for a moment in the quiet serenity of white beauty. 

And every single time, I'm reminded of how much He loves me

In my yard, we have less grass and more dirt. We have piles of toys on the playground, some old and cracked and probably need to be trashed. My husband has a pile of old pallets left over from our pallet wall project last year, and several broken things to be taken to the metal scrap yard. But when it snows, all of those broken down, damaged, dirty things-- they are covered with a beautiful white layer of glorious snow just like everything else. All of the ugly is hidden, and all that you can see is pure white... gleaming and reflecting the light of day. 

And in this, I am so thankful for His covering over all my sin ugliness, and how His covering makes me a beautiful reflection of Him. He takes our stony dark hearts and gives us white blank hearts on which He alone can write a sweet story of His redemption. 

Thanks for the reminder God...

Monday, December 23, 2013

The End of Fruitless Doubt

Today has been one for the books.

My husband is spending the day hunting with his best friend, and I've been trying to clean and get ready for the next few days of festivities.  Before heading out to the store, I decided to check the bank account balances, since we have a big bill due tomorrow, and I despise late fees.

The accounts were sadly low.... even empty. 

How did this happen??? We budgeted and saved every penny we could so we could buy the kids Christmas gifts. We've never spent a ton, but we try to get a few things for each of them that they have wanted. We don't buy much in the way of toys for our kids except for birthdays and Christmas, and even then, we aren't afraid to gift used items. I've kept super careful records about my gift spending, and there is just no way we could have overspent. We knew my husband would be out of work for two and a half/three weeks unpaid. We know his hours will be cut back when he returns to work, so we have been doing everything we possibly can to keep ourselves from going into debt or getting behind on any of our bills. Insurance premiums and deductibles have gone up, power bill has gone up, internet bill has gone up, groceries cost more, and income is down. It's time to tighten the belts. 

I've posted every article of clothing that the kids and I no longer wear online to sell, hoping to make a few dollars. I have filled out countless employment applications and shopped my resume all over the place. Apparently its hard to re-enter the workplace when you've been out of it for more than 8 years. 

Maybe the last post had a lot more to do with stress and discouragement. "What else can I do God? I can't find work, and I can't make any more money appear. We have cancelled almost everything (still have internet and pay-as-you-go phones). What more do you want? I give up!!" 
I found myself wondering what to do. God has always provided for us, but it just doesn't seem like we can catch a break right now. If He isn't helping me get a job, what does He want? Where is my ever constant Provider? 

So this morning, we ran out of milk. And we really needed overnight diapers because the little man still hasn't mastered overnight bladder control. But there was no way for me to afford it. In fact, I spent the morning sending emails to our bill collector apologizing that we would be late on the bill we owe because we are $25 short. I was planning on returning a few stocking stuffers and found more clothes to post online. I started snapping pictures.... when the doorbell rang.

That's when God showed up in the form of a man with a substantial check. Then as a substantial gift card in the mail. All in one day... 

The last few hours I've spent crying and praying, trying to catch my breath. Literally. God has shown Himself faithful once more. I can't help but feel guilty about my doubt. This is not the first time God has blown my mind in His provision. Why do I always forget that He cares? I'm not one to beg, I don't ask for help much because I always feel like there are others who are worse off than me, and who am I that I should deserve anything? 

But that's just it. I don't deserve anything. None of us do. 

Christmas becomes a time when we are thinking of gifts, food, family- and all of these things are great. Don't feel bad because you appreciate these things. But after today, I am reminded once more that the gift I received today was one from the God who provides every day. I have grace and mercy that I don't deserve because of the Son that was sent to a virgin womb. I have love unspeakable because of His sacrifice. There is not one iota of anything I have ever done or will do in the entirety of my existence that will measure up to what He has given me. I am so thankful for my relationship with God. I know I don't measure up and I never ever will, but it is humbling to know that I don't have to. He still loves me enough to make sure we are taken care of. And here's to hoping that I will stop allowing the fruitlessness of my doubt to linger. He has proven Himself faithful over and over and over.... endlessly. 

My Christmas has been amazing. And it's still two days away. Thanks God.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


If you scroll down several posts ago to the last time I was active on this blog prior to this year, you will see that I was quite the Christmas queen.

This year... not so much....

I'm not really sure why I'm not in the mood to get my house all decked out like I once did.

Confession: I don't even have our tree up yet. 

Bigger confession: We sold our Christmas tree for scrap metal last month. 

Whew... glad I got that off my chest. 

But seriously, what is the deal with me? I have a bazillion nativity sets in my attic just waiting to be placed in nearly every room in my house. I have homemade and store bought ornaments for the tree we no longer have. I have pinecones and ornaments and lights in fishbowl vases, and potpourri jars with Christmas lights. Stockings that I personalized last year, with cute little hangers. Garland to hang around my fireplace, and potted artificial trees (prelit of course) to add to the charm. I have dancing dogs wearing antlers and lights that play Jingle Bells old swingers style. I have a talking singing Yukon Cornelius doll. Throw pillows with holiday pictures and logos, snowmen decorations, etc. I have a LOT of stuff. 

And it's all still in the attic.

I think I'm finally fed up with commercial Christmas. For really realz. I think it's become too big and too crazy and too much about pretty lights and fancy decor and themed trees and whatnot. Why do we really make such a big deal out of Christmas anyway? Do we do that for Easter? I mean really, we're lucky if kids are out of school one day for Easter. As a Christian, I would hope that my focus on Christmas would to be thankful for the gift of Christ being born to save this world. But the real reason for celebration comes in His death and resurrection.... right? 

I will get a little tree in the next few days and put it up. I will put up a few things, but I have to stop pushing the commercial Christmas on my three sweet babies. If I keep teaching them that it's okay to play up the Santa- presents- reindeer junk, will they instinctively think of Jesus on Christmas when they are grown? Will they feel like they have to fulfill those wishlists? Attend every party with smiles on their faces? Overlay their homes in the glorious splendors of reds and greens? 

I need to do better. 

So that's my resolve. Do better this Christmas. We can keep traditions alive for the sake of memories and stability. We can still put on our PJs and trek up to Tanglewood Festival of Lights and do our once a year stop at IHOP afterwards. We can still open one gift- new PJs- on Christmas Eve before our traditional family gathering at my brother's house. We will still hold to our 6 gift limit for every child. These are simply fence posts, surrounding the number one most important thing for this holy holiday season....


As long as He remains in the center, joy will be triumphant.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


(image from

So I just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you to those of you who have stopped by in the last day or two since I first "rebirthed" this blog!!! Because I am no longer on my own domain as I was when I last blogged, some of the links in the header may be broken, but never fear!! I'm working out as many kinks as I can. So I appreciate everyone for bearing with me!!

Secondly- please browse!! Look around, read some old stuff. I learned a lot by going back and re-reading some not-so-long-ago posts. If you see something that doesn't work, comment here or send me a message. I want you, the reader, to get something from my posts. So please let me know if you find glitches! Thanks ever sooo much!!

A lesson in humility

Yesterday I picked my daughter up from school, as usual. We got home, had after school snacks, and everyone was just relaxing. Then Miss Priss stood up and said, "Oh Mama, I gotta show you something." Typically that means she has an important note from the teacher about a field trip or school event.

Not this time. 

Miss Priss brought out a tube of toothpaste. She said the teacher gave it to her because she has stinky breath. 

Let me preface this. Miss Priss is now in the first grade. She managed to muddle through kindergarten with a few upsetting events, but she survived. And in the end, I found myself kinda proud of her. She did it! She overcame her supremely timid personality to make it all of the way to the end of the the kindergarten year. 

So back to the toothpaste. Of course, like most any parent, my first reaction was, "That's not true. It was probably just something the whole school was getting because of a dental health awareness event. Everyone in your class got that, right?" 

"No. Just me and a few other kids. Mama, I don't want to have stinky breath. I already brush my teeth and floss and use mouthwash. I really don't want stinky breath."

Miss Priss is really not prone to lying. I could tell she was kind of bothered, so I told her the teacher had to be just kidding.

"Mama she was NOT joking. I heard her say it. And everybody didn't get it so she must have been serious." 

So now I'm suspicious. It's too late in the day to call the school, and my mind starts going there. Why did she get toothpaste? We have well water, so maybe this was just something from the county school board office for kids with well water that need extra fluoride for good dental health. I would understand that. But then I let myself keep thinking on it. 

And let's face it. When we think on something we don't have all the information on, we tend to get it ALL wrong. ALL WRONG!!!

When I start devoting time to incomplete ideas, half stories, suspicions, etc, I almost always get it wrong. I dwell on it. And then my thoughts go to my childhood.

"Your breath stinks." 

"Your teeth look yellow."

"Cheetos teeth."

Trust me, I could list a million other things I heard as a kid from various places. But that's not important. The point here is that I was taking issues from my past and placing them on my child. My breath has probably never been the freshest. I have chronic allergy and sinus issues. I have acid reflux problems. Again, I could list several other reasons for why I've had bad breath- often having nothing to do oral health. It happens. It's just something you try to handle as appropriately as possible, but you can only use so much breath spray and gum. Am I right??

Then it became about my parenting abilities. "I make sure my kids brush their teeth. My children have great- excellent even- oral health!! Miss Priss was just at the dentist two weeks ago!!" I began to take it personally. That teacher must not think I do a good job.

Never a good place to be for a mother. 

So I started getting a little more bothered by the statement my daughter heard. I let it get the best of me. I went to Facebook and vented, and there were more than enough people willing to agree and encourage me to get ugly with the teacher. As soon as I posted my rant, I knew I should have been silent. For every comment that was encouraging a negative response, I replied with a diffuser. I got messages that truly helped me to see this as it was, and not take it to mean too much. Even still, I was getting mad and thinking I knew the whole story before I ever spoke to the teacher. 

When I woke this morning, I knew exactly what needed to be done. I started my day with prayer, which is usually my habit, and I asked the Holy Spirit to guide my every word. Put a damper on my mouth if I start to say something that misrepresents You. Thankfully, He did just that. 

I walked Miss Priss to class this morning, and asked her teacher into the hall to talk for a moment. I simply told her that I got the toothpaste that was sent home, but I just wanted to know where it came from. The teacher sort of shrugged and said some fifth graders brought it to her classroom for everyone in the class, and it was most likely from the school nurse. I told her I assumed as much, but that Miss Priss had mentioned something about stinky breath? Her teacher admitted that she did say this when one particularly feisty boy asked, and she meant it as a joke. She didn't realize other kids overheard, and said that she was so sorry that Miss Priss took it personally. 

So I thought the worst for a simple first grade style misunderstanding. The teacher did say it. Miss Priss took her seriously. And I found out as I picked her up today that the rest of the class actually received toothpaste Friday. Miss Priss was sent home early Friday because she'd had an accident with another student on the playground that resulted in a bloody nose and vomiting. So she didn't get the toothpaste until Monday. 

Everything was fine. All had been fixed. So why am I still feeling so bad?

Because I let it get to me. I let the enemy of all things good use my past to come at me. I began to think that the people at school must think I'm not doing a good job as a mom. They must think my kids are dirty. They must think we're too poor to buy our own toothpaste. They must think I'm stupid. Then I went to Facebook for further validation of my feelings. Bad idea.

Where should I have gone? That one's quite obvious in hindsight. I should have gone to God. 

Facebook is not God.

If Facebook were God, it would have told me this:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." 

Instead, I chose to think on what I only knew in part. What wasn't at all honorable. What was so unjust I almost let my confederate redneck flag slip out. It wasn't pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or praiseworthy. But I let myself go there. 

God, forgive me. 

I didn't get ugly with the teacher. I didn't use her name on Facebook, so few people have any idea who she is. I didn't report her to the principal or the school board. But in my mind, I let a one-sided story go all too far. 

I know I'm not alone. I've done it before. I pray it doesn't happen again, but I am, after all, human. 

Please change my thoughts. Remind me of how You see me, of how You see my children. Help me to focus on what You know to be true, not what I think, not what I hear, not what the enemy may be saying. Remind me of the armor You provide in Your Word. Remind me of the right way to think. The right way to act. Help me to see Your truth and not get caught up in simple mistakes. Guard my heart. Guard my mind. Let me focus on only that which is true, pure, excellent, praiseworthy. Commendable. 

Today I decided to delete my original post and instead post about how I am thankful for teacher who are willing to deal with moms like me- who get it wrong all the time. 

If you are reading this, and you just so happen to be an educator or on staff at a school or school board- thank you. Thank you for being merciful towards me and my kind. We only want to see our kids grow in every way while in your care. We are trusting you to educate, encourage, protect and provide for our kids when we drop them off in the morning. We are asking the world of you, but we really want to believe the best about you. Prove us right. We will be quick to let you know when you mess up, but hopefully, we will be just as quick to apologize when we are wrong, as we would expect from you. And for those parents who are a little lost, who focus more on their own desires and often neglect their children, thank you for loving on those kids who may have stinky breath, stinky butts, dirty hair, lice, cockroaches, fleas, etc. Thank you for being what they never see at home. You are impacting that child in such a way that you may be the very reason why they do not repeat their parents' mistakes.

And now I'm off to watch my husband dispose of the slug that just crawled out from under my son's car seat that was airing outside while I cleaned his seat cover of vomit from earlier today. Yep, it's nasty. But that's life. At least it's getting cleaned of the vomit. Must mean I'm not so dirty or nasty. And I'm choosing to focus on what's good. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


Years have gone by since I last wrote a blog. In that time, so much life has taken place. While I enjoyed my time blogging before, I needed to reinsert myself into my life. I felt like I was trying to live it out for the blogosphere, meanwhile, memories were passing me by. I have learned a lot since my last blog post a few years back. I find myself in a place once again where I am able to take a few minutes to start trying to compose my thoughts in a written form--- one that just happens to be on a worldwide platform. Regardless, I give this attempt to God. If my writing is inconsistent with Your truths, show me. I pray that I don't give anyone a reason to stumble, or any reason to question who I am in You.

With that said, here goes....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010



My name is Mama Bee....

...and I am an addict.

A nativity addict, that is.

They're in my living room,



on my tree....

even in my yard....

My husband says I have a problem...

I think he may be on to somthing...
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