Saturday, September 29, 2012

RB&Co. Stone Mountain Picnic

It has been a busy weekend so far...and the weekend isn't even over.  I guess I count Fridays as part of our weekend since that's Landon's day off.  Yesterday Landon was busy, and I got to go to spend some time with my work friends for a while.  I did a little bit of actual work while I was there, but I mainly went to be my friend Malissa's registry assistant.  Malissa is expecting her first baby in February (I THINK!! - I keep asking her and then forgetting and then asking and forgetting...).  She just found out she is having a BOY!!  I am so excited for her - I'm not sure how I got the honor of helping her register, but I was thrilled about it!  Malissa is a favorite friend of mine.  I was just telling someone this evening that I love her for many reasons, and that one of them is that she just lays it out there.  Tells the truth.  Doesn't mince words.  In my opinion, she just acts like who she is, and you can take it or leave it.  She doesn't try to be someone she's not - for instance, she says she can read my blog and look at the pictures, but I just write too many words and she can't read it all.  That CRACKS me up - because I do write a lot of words!!  We have some slight differences in our denominations (Methodist/Baptist) - which really are slight - but sometimes since Landon is a pastor people feel like we're judging or feel like if there's any difference in us at all, we cannot be friends.  Again, Malissa has never, ever treated me like I was any different as a pastor's wife.  I knew I wanted to be friends with her when I first came to RB&Co. 5 years ago.  She is someone who likes to get to know you for a while and takes some time to warm up - I am not like this :)  I am a jump right in person.  Anyway, after planning several events together, it was clear we had a lot in common, personality wise, and we have been friends since.  I am thrilled about her first baby, and soon we're doing a shower for her...which is going to be so fun!!  ANYWAY, after eating lunch with Bonnie and Malissa yesterday (oh yeah, and I could do a whole other post on how much I love Bonnie...), Malissa and I got to it.  We spent like 2.5 hours in Babies R Us registering.  I was TIRED and I know she was EXHAUSTED.  Thank goodness for Nanda keeping James yesterday for us.  Once I got back, we took Carolyn to eat at Stevie B's and then headed home. 
James woke up at 6am this morning.  I mean, seriously?  Dude, KILLING ME, man.  I got up with him and stayed up for about an hour with him.  Landon got up after that and took him to breakfast and to run a few errands.  I was going to just go back to bed for an hour and then get up and do some Beth Moore work, but I ended up just sleeping.  Landon left with James about 7:40am, and that's when I went back to bed.  I slept until 9:45am!  Yikes - what an indulgence!  2 extra hours of was heavenly.  Then we all got ready and headed to Stone Mountain.  James continues to want to wear his jammies everywhere, but I convinced him to wear his real clothes...thank goodness.  We bought season passes to Stone Mountain a while back.  This was a great investment for us.  It's about 45 minutes away from our house, and it's just a great getaway for us.  Feels like we are kind of in a different world every time we go.  James loves the choo choo, and today, for the first time, we rode the Skyride to the top!  I just don't think he can handle walking up the mountain yet, so we have not tried that.  It seems like every time we have been since getting the passes, the Skyride has been closed for some reason or another. was OPEN.  James LOVED it.  Going up was a lot easier than going down.  Going down was pretty scary, but he loved it!! 
Cloudy today, but still a view!
 James and Daddy
 Our little family
 My company's picnic was this afternoon.  I can't even begin to talk about what an honor it is to work for Ronald Blue & Co.  I have worked for them 5 years now.  I worked full time until James was born (which was around the time Landon was beginning full time pastoring and we moved to our first church) and then I was able to work about 10 or 15 hours a week from home.  It was completely ideal.  We needed the money, and I was able to be home - not a terrible commute in to the office.  I was devastated when, at the end of last year, I found out that my job in HR was coming to an end.  They needed more help in the office and were cutting my position to bring someone in.  I basically begged for it not to happen - I love it there, love the people, especially love the mission, and I just didn't want it to end.  But, it did.  I was really sad, and I just prayed that God would open another door.  Can you believe that HE DID IT??  Everyday Steward, a division of RB&Co., approached me about doing some part time work for them.  I have been working for them now from home for a little over 6 months, I think, and it has been amazing.  Why don't I ever trust that God has my best in the plan???  I love what I am doing - it is detailed work just like my HR job, and I get to communicate with clients, which I also love.  Just saying I am very thankful.  I hope I will have the opportunity to work for them a long time! 
We had a great time seeing lots of people at the picnic, but mainly, I just chased James around.  Landon and I chased him and chased him.  He was great today, but he is just busy - moving - no way to talk and have in depth conversations with anyone, which I hate, because so many of the people I don't see often at all!  This picture below is James and Isabelle, Mandy and Shannon's little girl.  Mandy and I worked together for several years while I worked in HR, and I really, really, um, I mean it, really love her.  Our personalities really clicked working together - and personally, too - and she has been a great support to me.  We have had some challenges in our friendship the last 6 months or so, but I am really hopeful that God will continue to help us along so that we can continue to grow together.  They are about to welcome a new sweet baby BOY into their family - in 2 weeks!!
That's it!  We drove home - to some chaos - I mean, what can you expect for a 2 year old kid who woke up at 6am and didn't take a nap.  YIKES.  He wanted to watch Barney, then Charlie Brown, then something else....he says something else he doesn't know what else and he wants me to list a bazillion options that he usually says no to all of....Good thing we didn't try to stay for the laser show. 
It has been a great couple of days.  Now, on to see what God is going to do tomorrow.  We have been missing different parts of our Bethabra family the past 2 Sundays - COME BACK!!!!!  We miss you!!!! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

James Sings Thomas

James Sings Jesus & Zacchaeus

Oh Right...It's NOT All About Me??!!

I want to update on how our Ladies' Bible Study is going this semester.  I have a lot of things swirling in my mind about it, and I just wanted to get them out of my head.  I honestly felt like God wanted me to facilitate this Bible Study this semester with our ladies.  I am so sick of apathy and status quo.  I am so sick of people just coming in like robots with their Bibles and not leaving changed.  I'm so sick of myself when I do that - which happens many times.  I am starving and desperate for Father to just break through and humble us.  These feelings are some of the reason I wanted to facilitate the study.  At our retreat, I felt such a strong just overwhelming-ness (not a word) of love for our sweet ladies.  I just could hear God saying, "Precious, try not to be frustrated.  Just love them.  Just love them - I have given them to Landon to shepherd.  You just love them.  And watch me work."  So, I've been trying.  I've been trusting.

I didn't really anticipate the facilitation of the Bible Study being that difficult a job.  It seems like the word "facilitation" is easy.  The first week was easy when all I had to do was be like a game show host and do fun stuff.  Let me tell you what I've learned so far.  Everyone is looking at ME.  Everyone is looking at me to talk about going to the next day or to lead us in prayer to open.  That's because I volunteered for the job :)  The second week of the study, when I stumbled over some words, it was like I just waiting for another lady to pipe up and start talking, and guess what, no one did.  It felt like everyone was looking and waiting on me to continue.  Because they were.  Because I'm the facilitator.  Last night I shared something personal, and I felt pretty vulnerable about it.  I felt pretty exposed.  I felt safe with these ladies, yet, I felt afraid.  I know Father wants honesty.  So, I'm giving it.  What I really want is for these ladies to look at me and think, "Oh, what a perfect pastor's wife.  What a perfect wife.  What a perfect mother.  Oh, look how sweet and kind."  Instead, I feel afraid they could be reconsidering their choice of a pastor's wife in light of some of the things I've said and shared.  I know that it's a balance as a pastor's wife to know how much to share and how much to keep to myself.  I learned in lots of counseling that you can be very authentic without necessarily vomiting your business all over every one.  However, I also believe that God has called me to tell some of my business.  To vulnerably share - whether others accept me or not - the places I've been and where He has brought me.  So, I am.  I'm risking it.  I'm stepping out. 

Do I believe I am gifted to teach?  NOPE.  I really, truly don't.  I wish that I was.  I wish I could have gotten the singing gift or the teaching gift.  I've really been thinking about this since last week when the Bible Study was over, and I was sort of in a bad place.  Thinking about myself.  Listening to the wrong message from the wrong person (uh, meaning, listening to Satan and not God).  But then, I had sort of a consistent message all week from Father.  He keeps saying, "Stop.  Stop it Bethany.  Who is this Bible Study about?  Is it about you?  All your problems?  All your weaknesses?  All your inabilities?  Or is it about ME?  All the ways I am sufficient?  All the ways I compensate for your weaknesses when you allow Me to work through you.  You know what I require?  Obedience.  Not a gift for teaching.  A broken heart before Me.  Not a gift of eloquence in front of others.  And, remember, I accept you.  I accept you even if no one else does.  Even when you felt like your husband didn't accept you - the one person you desperately wanted acceptance from - I accepted you.  Gladly.  With open arms."  Last night, Beth Moore gave an example of joy - the joy we feel in our relationship with Christ.  She talked about her little 2 year old grandaughter running down the sidewalk to see her.  Beth says she bends down on her knee and holds her arms out just watching her run and cackle as she runs full force toward her.  After this past week, that spoke to me deep within.  Jesus' love is so deep.  It is so full of joy.  It is so full of LIFE.  When I choose to run down the sidewalk to Him, I am so enough.  When I choose to stand with my arms crossed and make it about me, I will never be enough.  I will never be qualified to facilitate this Beth Moore study.  I don't think we will ever finish a session that I don't question my ability to transition from one thing to another, or help spark discussions.  But, I will be faithful.  And, I will pray that God continues to show me that it is not about me.  It's only about Him.  Oh, how I pray He will change me.  Change my selfish, bratty heart.  Oh, how I love Him. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our Weekend Home (1.5 Weeks Ago...)

I loaded these pictures onto this post right after we were home for the weekend a week and a half ago, and then I just never finished it.  We had such a great - but quick - weekend home.  Our reason for going home was that New Harmony (Lan's home church) asked him to come and preach their homecoming service.  They asked him last year, and he just couldn't work it out.  But this year, when they asked again, Landon just really wanted to go.  So, we went.  On Friday night, we went to a Crestview football game.  I didn't anticipate it being as much fun as it was.  It was great to see some people I had not seen in a very long time.  I sure am thankful that I went to school at CHS.  I am thankful for the move my parents made to afford me such great opportunities with music and extra curricular stuff, and even classes like AP and college credit classes.  I sure did love Crestview High School!  Anyway, here are Landon, his dad, and James :)  James loved the football game!  He didn't even move around quite as much as I anticipated, although he did move around a lot.
Madison's birthday party was Saturday afternoon that weekend, so we were able to go.  She had a puppy party at the splash park in Crestview.  It was lots of fun!
I thought this picture was SO SWEET.  We sure love Aunt Olivia and sweet baby Sophia.
This was our family picture after church on Sunday morning.  Landon did a great job.  He preached a challenging and truthful message that I know I needed to hear.  Landon is getting really good, and I am serious.  I can tell he's been doing this a little while.  There are some Sundays - few and far between - that I don't things connect all that well, but there are many Sunday when I am like, WHOA DUDE.  That was GOOD.  You can just tell the Spirit is all over him.  Serious business.  And, that's what it was like that Sunday morning.  Anytime Landon allows his story to enter his sermon, I just feel like God uses him in such an amazing way.
This is all the cousins at Wayne's Catfish House in Crestview Friday night.  
Oh my.  This one is so sweet to my heart.  After traveling home a month and a half or so ago and thinking that would be the last time I saw my grandpa, I was MORE THAN BLESSED to visit with them AT THEIR HOUSE while I was home.  Clearly God was not finished with Grandpa here on earth yet.  I am so thankful.  I love, love, love my grandparents.  I pray God will leave them with us for a long time.  He has used them in great ways in my life - shown His love to me through them countless times.  Thankful and blessed.  Those are the two words I think of when I look at this picture with my grandparents and my baby.  Whew, gotta move on or I'm going to cry.
Krista was so sweet to drive from Destin over to spend the afternoon with us.  James loves her.  At first we were in two separate cars and from one location to the next, James kept asking me over and over, "Aunt Krista coming? Aunt Krista coming?"  Ha.  Here they are at mom's school.
And here's James and my mom.  I think this picture is really special because this is my mom's last year teaching school.  I know James won't remember being in her classroom, probably, so it's special to me that we have taken a couple of pictures there.  
And, James and GatorPa at Wise Equipment.  No need to say how much James loves it there - it's a double whammie...tractors and GatorPa. 
And, my final picture.  I was so excited to see Mr. Lusk at the ballgame that Friday night we were home.  I have a million memories of my time at the school playing for him and even more after I graduated and married and had the opportunity to come back and be his accompanist.  God has blessed me in so many ways with opportunities to play the piano - and I love playing that kind of music.  That is no doubt something I deeply miss here in Georgia - playing for those schools.  I pray one day God will open a door for me to do that again!  Anyway, Mr. Lusk always, always, always has a special place in my heart.  I LOVED seeing him!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Serenity Now. Oh please, RIGHT NOW.

Boy, I have had it today!  I'm not sure why, but it seems like everything is about to drive me CRAZY.  Right now, my little friend is screaming in his room - screaming my name (Mommy) over and over.  I have been trying to help him go to sleep for an hour, and I have HAD it.  I'm pretty good at not losing control with him (I just usually take it all out on Landon later...unfortunately), but I am pretty close...I had to leave him and just let him scream and come in another room for a little bit.  Maybe we both needed a break from each other. 

So, I found out what happened with the time out situation.  Ms. Jean told me when she came to get James at the car this morning for school.  She says that while Ms. Debbie was pulling the kids one by one inside to do an art project, that Ms. Jean had all the children lined up on the sidewalk - coming to or from the playground, I think.  She told the children several times to stay in a line on that sidewalk.  Well, after telling them several times, she looked up and James and his friend were headed the other way toward the playground.  Away from the line.  Away from the sidewalk.  She said, "I just cannot lose one of these children.  He had to go in time out."  Uh, CLEARLY.  Please, put him in time out.  She said, "And I always choose my battles so when he refused to sit down at time out, I let him stand up.  He was inside and that's what mattered.  He understood he was in time out."  I thought, oh my heavens, that little joker refused to sit down in the time out....are you kidding me????  I was thankful for the explanation and told her how much I appreciated her.  I sure do love those ladies who are teaching James.

Then, I pick James up from school (btw, he is still screaming in his room at this moment).    We need to go to Publix, which is great because he always loves to go to the store with me.  We get in the car cart, which is clearly not even debatable, and head in.  Well, thanks a lot Publix friends, for putting the fruit roll up snacks with SCOOBY on them right by the door headed in.  Not just the one with like 10 in them, but the ones that are $5 for like 26 packs of something I don't even know if James will eat.  Okay, now I know that I am the parent; the one who is in control.  But some days, I'm okay to fight it and some days, I just let him win it.  I have to choose what's a hill to die on and what's not.  We got the fruit roll up snacks and he started eating them.  I had to peel them off for him though - like unroll them because he couldn't/wouldn't do it.  We make it through the store on 2 fruit roll ups (I think these are called fruit by the foot now, but whatever).  We near the checkout, and I have one more fruit roll up bite in my hand.  I ask James if he wants it, and he clearly says, "NO."  So, I say, "Are you sure because I'm going to eat it."  And then he says, "Don't want it."  So, I eat it.  You would have thought I just chopped off that child's leg.  He starts screaming.  Like worse screaming than he's ever done in a store before.  I mean bad.  He was buckled in to the car cart and was like trying to slump himself down into the floor part of the cart where his feet were, just thrashing all around.  Dude, I need a mom vacation.  Serious business.  Do moms get vacation time?  I haven't heard of any yet, but I'm just thinking of reading a book sitting by the pool at Atlantis in Nassau. Oh my.  But, I digress.  So, I just calmly start unloading the groceries.  I'm right here at the checkout so I intend to get my groceries.  The Publix people are just acting like everything is totally normal.  The lady bagging my stuff says, "Would you like plastic,ma'm?" I'm thinking, "Lady, I don't care if you put my stuff on the ground and kick it to my car.  I don't care if you open up every box and eat part of it and then put it in the bag.  I don't care if you just throw it in my cart.  just get me out of here!  Hurry!  Then the cashier says, "Would you like your potatoes in a bag?"  No.  No.  No.  Just put them in my CART.  HURRY UP.  I HAVE TO GET OUTSIDE.  I was trying to get James a new fruit roll up, but he didn't want it.  He kept pointing to my mouth.  HE WANTED THE FRUIT ROLL UP THAT I PUT IN MY MOUTH - THAT LAST BITE.  Well, that's impossible, my little friend.  I can't get it out of my stomach now.  We make it outside.  He is screaming his head off.  As I said, this is the first time that's happened.  Lots of people were looking at me.  Several very sympathetic stares.  Oh my heavens.  I just kept it calm, kept walking, smiled.  I did apologize to the cashier and told her I was trying to get out of there.  When I got him strapped in the car, we had a little chat.  I believe that chat might should have included more than just a chat, but it didn't...

So, fast forward to nap time.  Still in there, whining Mommmmmmmmmy.  over and over.  and over. 

Let's see.  I would take Nassau OR I would take my coffee with peppermint mocha creamer sitting in a hot tub in the middle of the snowy mountains with steam coming up from the coffee and the tub.  Breathing in cold air, and drinking in that hot coffee.  Whew, I would love it. 

I also love my own life, even though I'm not feeling so thankful today.  In my Beth Moore study today, we had to divide our life into quarters and put all the perfect gifts from God during each quarter.  I was amazed at some of the things he showed me.  God has given me a wonderful family, and time is passing so fast, but yet sometimes each day seems SO LOOOOOONNNNGGG.  :)  Father has been so good to me.  He wants good things for me...and it's going to be okay that my child is not napping today.  That my full on 2 year old is half screaming the Thomas song and half screaming my name over and over still.  I am going to make it.  However, I would hesitate to come home if I were Landon since he's usually the one who takes the brunt of my frustration with James. 

Hurry home, Honey!  We are waiting (kiss kiss)  HA :)  Enter at your own risk today!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Steph, One of my Favorite Friends!

I follow a blog called Kelly's Korner, located here.  I have followed it several years now and love hearing all of this young mom's stories about her little ones and life, in general.  Kelly has quite a following and has begun doing something she calls Singles Friday.  Once in a while, Kelly allows singles out there to link up to her blog just to get the opportunity to meet.  WELL, it just so happens that one of my very favorite people in the WHOLE WORLD is single!  I have begged Steph to let me do a post on her for Singles Friday, and she finally agreed!! we go.
I met Steph in 9th grade (well, actually 8th grade, but we became best friends in 9th grade), and we have been close, close friends ever since (which would be about 15 years now - yikes, I am old!!).  We went to high school together and then roomed together for 2 years at the University of Florida. 
Stephanie is a pharmacist in Pensacola, Florida.  She is a little shy when you first meet her, and is extremely kind and open to a friendship with anyone she meets - I have experienced her warmth and friendliness firsthand!  With her, what you see is what you get - no pretense.  We met in 9th grade and did a Biology project together.  Steph is a go with the flow kind of person.  She is easy going and VERY funny (although you won't know that she's funny until you get to know her a little bit).  She likes sports - played softball during high school, and loves to watch Florida football AND go to the games when she has a chance.  We went to every single home game in college.   She is smart, smart, smart.  Steph loves animals.  She has a dog named Annie - a yellow lab. 
Stephanie is one of the most loyal people I know.  I always have had no doubt that she has my back.  She is hilarious to sing with in the car (we used to bust out some major Dixie Chicks and, and some others back in the day) and we used to love to drive around in high school...I still love to drive around with her now and look at pretty houses for fun :)  Steph likes a good sized car - not anything crazy small - she now drives some kind of Tahoe thing which is a perfect size for her to throw Annie in to take a trip AND to attach her waverunner to the back.  Since Steph moved to Pensacola, she has begun loving it on the water.  She always loved the beach (she could have stayed there all day when we were in high school/college, whereas I am a "2 hours max" kind of beach person), so it's not a stretch at all that she loves going out on the wave runner when she has time off. 
Steph loves the Lord.  Her love for Christ is obvious when you just speak with her for a few minutes.  It's obvious whether she actually talks about the Lord or not - just her demeanor and attitude make it obvious that she is a Christian.  I envision her going on medical mission trips or something like that in the future.  She has a heart for people.  Steph is great with kids, too.  I love it when she comes to spend time with us here in Atlanta and hangs out with our little boy, James. 
Let me show you some recent pictures.  This is Steph, in the middle, I believe with two of her co-workers.
Here's Steph, on the left, with her sister Elizabeth - they must be getting ready to ride the waverunner.
Here's Steph and me at James' b'day party last year when he turned 1.
Ooooh...something I didn't mention.  Steph loves her family very much.  She is close to her parents and sister.  Here she is below at a wedding with her grandmama.
And, here's Steph and her dad at a FL football game.
Another shot of Steph and her sister, Liz.  Steph is on the right.
She has some of the most beautiful hair I have every seen - naturally curly.  Some of my very, very best days and memories have been made with this good friend.  While Steph has dated a little, it seems that God has just not opened the door for the right man in her life.  I know Steph desires to be a wife and mom at some point in her life, and I know she will be very excited if/when God opens that door for her.   She is a deep person, and it takes a while to get through all the layers to get to know her.  This is a fun process because she is such a great person.  I think probably if I could pick the top two things I love about her it would be loyalty and humor.  She is loyal to a fault.  She has that funny dry sense of humor that smart people have (that I do NOT have) and is hilarious to be around.  She says the craziest stuff with a straight face.  She is joy to me.  I am extremely grateful for her friendship, and I know whomever the Father brings into her life as a date and possible mate will be extremely fortunate, as well.  Let me tell you, she is a prize.  A jewel! 
If you would like to contact Steph, you may do so through her email at:

Time Out & Big Boy Underwear

Alright.  First I need to give a school update on James.  That joker is cracking me up and keeping me on my toes every single day he goes to preschool.  We are just finishing Week #3 of preschool.  Week 1...we walked him in and slipped out when he didn't realize.  Week 2...Ms. Jean started getting him out of the car, and it was a little rougher, but when okay.  Week 3...Disaster with a capital D.  Oh my heavens.  I mean, it's not really a disaster, but let me just recount what our Tuesday morning was like. 
James wakes up at 7:30am.  This was sleeping in just a little for him, and I was getting concerned about whether or not we were going to have plenty of time before leaving for school.  However, he woke up.  He was doing great, and rocking right along.  I decided to make us eggs and bacon for breakfast (this rarely... I mean...NEVER happens), so James and I sat down at the kitchen table to eat our breakfast of eggs, bacon, and cantaloupe.  Yum.  I eat mine.  By now it's like 8:15am.  We leave around 8:40am.  He is not eating - didn't eat a bite of his breakfast (but that's the normal part).  I ask him if he would like to get down and he says no.  NO, MOMMY.  He wants to sit up there.  He sits up and there and sits up there and sits up there.  Finally...I have to go back and put on makeup and my clothes and just leave him sitting at the table.  Upon my return, do you think he wants to get down?  Nope.  I go and get his favorite shirt (the red Thomas one that I have leave inside out in his drawer so that he doesn't know what shirt it is), and try to bribe him to get down with his favorite shirt.  Finally, I just have to pull him down.  He starts freaking out.  Screaming about getting down from the table.  Intermittently during all of this craziness, I keep asking him if he's alright and if there's anything he wants to tell me.  Is something bothering him?  Because I can pretty clearly understand most of what he says now...but he just keeps screaming.  I wrestle him down to get his diaper changed and his short and shirt on.  I'm telling you it took me like 10 minutes to get that joker's shorts on because he is so strong.  I thought about giving him some more serious consequences...but ya'll, he literally just seemed totally freaked out, like he was panicking, and I just couldn't do it.  I strapped him down in the car and he was still wigging out.  When I grabbed our stuff and got in the car, he wanted to hold my hand.  I held his hand - one hand driving, one hand reached in the back holding his - all the way to the school.  My whole left leg and right arm were asleep.  He seemed to calm down as we neared the school.  OH WAIT, and I forgot to mention, it was our snack day.  It was an exciting day for him because we were bringing blueberry muffins and watermelon for his class - he gets to be the snack leader that day.  I mean, what more could you ask more?  So, when Ms. Jean starts coming to the car, he just loses it again.  She takes him and the snack bag and his backpack.  He is screaming, "NO.  MY MOMMY COME.  NO.  MY MOMMY COME."  Fast forward 3 hours.  He is like his old self when Ms. Jean brings him to the car.  She tells me he only cried for 2 or 3 minutes after I left.  However, she says, "Do you think James is sick?"  I say, "No, I don't think so.  Why?  Do YOU think he is sick?"  (because I am thinking how I have no idea what I am doing as a mom so if she thinks he is sick I have to listen up...).  She says, "Well, no, but he didn't really seem like himself today.  We made houses to put in their scrap books, and when we went to move to the next activity, he got very upset and wanted to take his house home.  So, he and I sat and made a house for him to take home."  She said something like knowing what was a hill to die on and what wasn't, and that if he wanted to make another house to take home, whatever...So...I took him to Sonic for lunch to try to do something special for him.  Oh yeah, and I didn't know this but we were supposed to bring juice boxes for snack.  I had no clue. 
Fast forward to today.  The morning went great - however, I did make him eat his breakfast on the couch with me rather than eating it at the table - ha.  I talked up school on the way, and he seemed all for it.  I even brought some juice boxes for them to keep in the class since we forgot to bring ours on Tuesday.  We got there and saw Ms. Jean...NOPE.  Same freak out.  She was telling him while she was getting him out of the car, "Your mommy loves you and so do we!"  Love Ms. Jean :)  So, I go.  I come back and Ms. Jean gives me the thumbs up in the carpool line that the day has gone well.  He is telling me how they did the Bear Hunt song, and he doesn't like it because he is scared when it gets to the cave part, etc.  So, Landon was with me, and Landon opens up his backpack and we pull out the sheet below.
Oh my.  It says Notes: Time Out - Not Listening.  Oh yikes.  We ask him about it and he basically says, yes, he had to go to time out (which he doesn't even know what that is because I've never put him in it - we've used other methods...).  He says he wasn't listening and he had to come in from the playground and have time out and then he got to go back outside.  So Landon told him we expect him to listen to his teachers, blah blah blah.  It was bizarro....
What in the world will next week bring????????????
Next big thing is.................get ready..................big boy underwear.  Now, let me just tell you.  James has not worn this underwear yet.  I have not even been pushing any potty training.  We started out getting him to potty a couple of times a day - I mean, trying to potty - but after a while, he got mad about it and didn't want to try anymore.  So, I just didn't force it.  I've totally backed off and haven't been making him try.  But, the past couple of days, he has been asking me about trying to go potty (this is usually during nap time, so I think it is probably a ploy on his part, but whatever).  So, we are in Kohl's yesterday, and I am looking for some pajamas for him.  I look around though and he is yelling that he wants something.  It's big boy underwear.  I had a gift card and I couldn't find any pajamas, and I explained what the big boy underwear was for.  I explained all about it and that we didn't need to get it because he wasn't going tee tee in the potty yet.  Oh my.  He wanted it.  He says, "I go tee tee in the potty.  Wear bi boy unweauh."  So, I bought it.  I bought a pack of Thomas and I bought a pack of various Disney (like Cars, Nemo, Lightening McQueen, etc.).  All afternoon he asked me about this underwear.  I kept telling him I had to wash it first.  Thank goodness he finally forgot about it because we had nap and then church - all times that were not a good time to try big boy underwear for the first time.  So, I washed it this afternoon.  I got it out of the dryer tonight and Landon and I were just laughing at how cute it is!!  It's like little man underwear - so funny!

I am planning to be home with him for a while in the morning and will try it out if he wants to....ha.  We shall see.  I should have much to report on this experiment soon.

Captivating Retreat

Two weekends ago was a great weekend in the lives of some of our Bethabra ladies.  Last year, my friend, Olivia, mentioned to me that she would really like for us to do a ladies' retreat.  The retreat the ladies of Bethabra had been doing for years wasn't going to work out anymore, and it was either time to do something new or time to not do a women's retreat any more.  I felt in the next couple of months that the Father was just laying it on my heart to plan a women's retreat for us.  I asked my friend and one of my favorite people, Melissa Haas, if she could lead our retreat.  Once she said yes, I just knew this was God's best for our ladies and we needed to go forward.  At first, I felt disappointed that the same ladies who went on the usual retreat for many years did not sign up to go on this new kind of retreat.  I felt discouraged and really began to take it personally.  However, I just kept moving on and planning and trusting God.  We ended up taking 12 ladies on the retreat.  It was such an incredible time.  Melissa encouraged me that Jesus started with 12.   She also encouraged me that God would put those who were ready to hear at the retreat.  She was right.  It was an incredible time.  While I would love to have taken a bigger group, and I pray we will grow in the next years, because we were a small group, Melissa was able to do great work with each of us, personally, that probably wouldn't have been able to happen if we had been a larger group.  Thank goodness for the help of Carolyn, Kelli, and Jeanette. 
Look at Kelli and Jeanette's cute door creation to let each lady know where their room was:
More of their handiwork.  I believe Kelli actually cut these letters out with a STENCIL.  Just freehand - are you kidding me????
A gorgeous picture of the lake - our retreat was in Toccoa at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center.
Sunday morning before we took communion together.  We made special boxes to illustrate our bodies and souls that are also on the table.
Our excursion on Saturday afternoon to Toccoa Falls :)  Me, Kelli, Olivia, and Jeanette.
A few things Melissa talked about that really hit home with me:
 - Woman is the crown of God's creation.
 - She was created to be indispensable to Adam
 - We are NEVER , ever alone.  The Father feels my feelings.
 - The Holy Place is my soul.  the essence of sin is looking away from God inside of me.  The promise of God is His presence, NOT His blessing.  I may have pain, but He is with me in the pain.  He fills me with what I need to walk through the pain.
 - We discussed reasons we might be "stuck" in our relationship with Father.  Something might not be healed in our past, He may be challenging us to service Him in a new way, it may be a "nursery" time, or it could be sin in our lives.  I was so fascinated with her illustration of God leaving us in the nursery. 
Melissa Haas is an incredible gifted counselor and speaker.  I love her very much, and I am so grateful for her help in my life 5 years ago when everything fell apart. 
The main thing for me through the weekend was just feeling like God was saying to me, "Remember 5 years ago when it felt like I wasn't there, and then I came?  I came through for you.  I am here for you now just like I was for you then.  I am big enough to handle what you have today just like I was big enough to handle it 5 years ago.  I know you are pouring your life out in service and your heart so wants to see a great work happen.  Hang in.  Just love these ladies.  Love them.  Love them with all your heart and love me.  Just wait.  Keep waiting and keep loving them." was powerful for me.  I felt so thankful to be where we are - so thankful to be a pastor's wife.  I felt a stronger call for that than ever before while we were there at the retreat.  God just confirmed for me in a huge way that we are right where we are supposed to be - and even in the midst of stress and some upset people, and lots and lots of work, and sometimes seemingly little results...HE is big enough to handle it.  He loves me, and I am to love them like He loves me, and that's all that matters.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

James: Mercy Triumphs

Beth Moore is awesome.  I mean, she is just plain and simple awesome.  At church last night we began doing her newest study on the book of James.  I am excited.  The last couple of years for us have been very busy.  Coming to a new church, having a baby, switching from working a full time job to being a full time mommy/pastor's wife/part time worker for RB&Co...just a lot of changes.  Great changes, but different things happening.  I know that my relationship with the Father has been put on the back burner a lot - when actually it has been a time that I have desperately needed it the most and chosen to feel alone when I didn't have to make that choice.  I have done several Beth Moore studies in the past.  I said this last night in our study, but I believe one of the things that makes a Bible Study so great is where you are, just personally, at the time you do the study.  Is life going great?  Is life a nightmare?  Are you desperate for a word from Him?  Or do you even care?  Are you just coming because you usually come to church that particular time of the week already or are you coming, focused, ready, begging Him to pour into your life?  I remember after Hurricane Katrina when we moved back home for that fall semester of 2005, I did a Beth Moore study with the Woodlawn ladies.  It was called The Patriarch's.  That study was incredible - best Bible Study I have ever done, in my life, hands down.  I think it was a great study, but you know what I really think?  I was desperate.  I needed a word.  I needed some answers.  I needed to know where He was.  And you know what?  I found Him. 

This semester we'll be doing James: Mercy Triumphs.  I am facilitating the study and am just thrilled at the turnout we had last night.  I am praying for these ladies diligently, and I can't wait to see what God does in us.  I am ill-equipped to lead this, and I have no clue what I'm doing.  I love the Lord, and I love these ladies, and I want to see God do a great work among us.  I am praying He will change me the most.  Not sure what God and Beth are going to do as we dive in, but I am excited to see and looking forward to it with great anticipation - even though I think it will probably be hard.  Hard to make time, hard to focus, hard to be disciplined, hard to maybe share personal things in front of other ladies.  If you are a Bethabra lady and not signed up for this study, don't miss out!!  We had the intro last night, and you did miss my cappuccino punch, but you didn't miss the first session!  Session 1 is next Wednesday night, September 12.  We would love to have you - we have several new folks - which is extremely exciting.  Praying, praying, praying for great miracles to happen.  He is the only one who can accomplish it.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1st Day of Preschool at BCA

What a great day for James!  His teachers were awesome - ready and waiting for all their little ones to arrive this morning.  James had his horse name tag ready :) and was very excited about going to "peescoo" today.  Landon and I took him together and walked him in. 

When we first arrived, Ms. Debbie, his teacher, was blowing bubbles, and James joined right in!  Then he moved to this puzzle.  Landon and I slipped out after a few minutes.  
I was going inside to get him when I got there at noon, but I realized everyone else was in the carpool line, so I better just get in the carpool line. Ms. Jean put him right in the backseat. He had his little monogrammed backpack on with his folder for the day in it.  His folder includes this yellow sheet called the Daily Report.  His says he was happy (other choices were content, upset, not feeling well), he had 1 wet diaper, he ate great (other choices were a little of everything or wasn't very hungry), and the notes said: Very Good Day!!  YAY!!  When he got in the car, I immediately began asking him questions.  Here's what I got: 
"….”sang wheels on the bus, sang abcdefg, watch larry boy (which is a veggie tales movie)”. Then I asked him if he’d made any friends. He said, “noah.” So, I think that was a good amount of info for me the first day. Oh yes, and I also said, “did you play on the playground?” and he said, “yes, too wet. Go inside.” 

Great first day!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Date at the Blue Willow Inn

Okay, so I'm sure NO ONE else experiences this, and I'm sure I'm speaking just about myself, but, more than sometimes, lots of times, Landon and I go out on dates and they are supposed to be fun, but they just aren't.  I mean, I don't have a bad time, but I just don't have a super fun time.  We know we need to go on dates to spend time together, and we both want to do that, but boy, adult life is tough.  We are tired and have stuff on our minds, and it just takes a lot of effort to connect.  At times we go out and just sort of sit and stare at each other across the table.  Go to the same old restaurants.  You know, the whole "Where do you want to go?"  "Oh, I don't care, where do you want to go?"  "No, I asked you first.  Where do you want to go?"  Blah blah blah.  Many times I miss those crazy college days when I was WILD for Landon to get to my apt. and I was running as fast as I could down the steps as soon as he pulled up.  Or, having a 2 hour "good bye" moment before he had to leave.  Or, just giggly times when we were living a life with no bills and no burdens.  Adult life had not hit.  We have more blessing now than we could have imagined - our church, our family God has blessed us with, our home, our precious friends.  Those blessings come with responsibilities, for sure, though, and we are in the adult world :)  I'm getting to the point of my post, I promise.
This past Friday night, we left James with Nanda and Pop Pop and headed on a date.  On the way to drop James off, we were talking about where we were going to go.  Landon actually asked me if I just wanted to go play pool at the student center at church.  I'm like, uh, NO.  Then, he thought of this great restaurant we both have heard about in the past in this little town about 30 min away called Social Circle.  I read about the town in a Southern Living magazine a long time ago and about the restaurant called the Blue Willow Inn.  Our GPS found it and I called to make sure it was really where it said it was.  We decided to go.  Now, for many people, a split second decision like this is the norm.  However, for us to do something different than go to our regular places, this was HUGE.
We dropped James off.  We had a great time talking on the way to the place.  When we got to the place, I LOVED it.  It was such a neat atmosphere, and the food was fantastic.   

We talked and laughed (really!) the whole time we ate, and then after we finished our meal, we sat outside on the big front porch in the rocking chairs and just talked for a while longer.  It felt like....wait for a it....a DATE.  I LOVED it.  A great reminder of why I fell in love with Landon.  I don't know why all the stars aligned on this particular night, but they did, and we had such a sweet time together.  Thankful Landon is my husband, my pastor, and the dad of my sweet baby.  
Will it happen again?  I hope so...I'm thinking of asking Landon to "go" with me... :)

Playing at the Park

This past Thursday night we decided we needed to do something FUN for James.  So, after he woke up from his nap, we got ready, packed a picnic dinner, and met Landon (who had been in Buford all afternoon) at the Hamilton Mill park.  That place has an AWESOME playground!  I had been there once before with James, but he is so much bigger now, and he had the best time playing.  Fun, fun, fun!  It was hot and humid but very fun. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Manna & Quail AND my Geranium

In my last post I was talking about how grateful I am for godly teachers.  I am equally grateful for godly teachers and volunteers who are willing to pour into James' life and heart at church.  Eric and Kelli mean a great deal to us - they have since we have known them - but Kelli being James Wednesday night teacher takes it to a whole other level for me of loving and appreciating her.  I LOVE that James is in FaithWeaver Friends and learning about God!!  I crazy love going in to get him and getting to hear about what he learned.  About Theo (the puppet) and this Wednesday night, they learned about manna God left from heaven every morning for the people to eat.  Kelli and Tiffany helped them make manna and quail and then they even picked up manna off the ground and collected it in their bags.  My heart is just thankful for people who are willing to invest in my child's life - especially his spiritual life.  We pray for Ms. Priscilla almost every night (James calls her Pisiyya), and he is really excited about going to Sunday School each Sunday and seeing her.  It makes my mommy heart so happy!!!!!!

On another, less spiritual note :)  I need to talk about my geranium.  My mom brought this geranium to me in the spring the last time she and daddy visited us.  It's a double bloom geranium - or something like that.  I am not a huge plant/flower lover, and usually I kill EVERYTHING.  I just like a few flowers here and there.  Some how, some way, I have been able to keep this geranium alive all summer long.  I had to re pot it - and it even survived through that!  It is doing awesome....just blooming and blooming.  It's funny because as a kid, I HATED working outside.  I mean, I hated it.  Like serious business.  My parents would force me to come outside and help them in the yard once in a while, and oh no, it was like end of the world for me.  It's funny now that I have my own yard, I really enjoy working in it!  I can't wait until it's time to plant the pansies and tulip bulbs again!  That is my FAVORITE.  
Anyway, the geranium is still alive.  I have no idea what to do with it when winter comes - like if it can stay outside or has to come inside or what...but I'm pretty fond of it since I've kept it alive all summer, and I intend to try to help it survive.  :)

Preschool Begins

What an exciting day!  I am so thankful Jeanette reminded me to bring my camera.  I had not even thought of that (duh!) in the midst of other busy-ness.  We decided at the beginning of the year that we thought it might be a great idea to look into preschool for James this fall - just a 2 morning a week or so program.  I am still working for Ronald Blue - which is an amazing blessing - about 10 hours a week, and sometimes I work late at night when it would be ideal for me to be hanging out with Landon.  I felt like if I had a couple of of mornings a week, I could have focused time to work then, and James could have a great new learning environment to work on learning new stuff and making new friends!  At first I was going to send him to the Methodist church down the street from us.  We have heard they have an awesome preschool program.  I went in the spring and signed him up, paid the deposit, and we were all set.  The only thing I didn't like was that their 2 day program was on Thursdays and Fridays.  Landon's day off is Friday, so I didn't like that.  I decided to go ahead and send him to the 3 mornings a week program, even though I didn't really want to.  Their 3 day program was on Mon., Tues., and Wed.  Anyway, as fall approached, we were getting excited about preschool.  And then, Carolyn mentioned BCA to me - Bethlehem Christian Academy.  I knew some about BCA because of Jeanette having taught there.  I knew what an awesome school and environment I'd heard it was.  I hadn't thought much about their preschool because I assumed it would be more expensive than we could afford, plus I felt like if I sent him to preschool there I would need to make a decision RIGHT NOW (which is how I operate) about the next billion years of his education - like whether or not we were going to send him to real school there.  Carolyn talked with their Head of School and found out that full time pastors receive a significant discount there.  And then, it was just like doors flew open for us to send James to preschool there.  Not sure about "big" school, but right now we're focused on preschool.  This past Thursday James had orientation and got to meet his teachers, Ms. Debbie and Ms. Jean.  What precious ladies!  I had already heard from Jeanette what a wonderful class it was since Finn was in the class the previous year, but to experience it for ourselves was awesome.  It was a beautiful classroom and seems like WONDERFUL people.  Oh my goodness.  I am so thankful this opportunity has opened up - I think it will help all of us!!
Here's James with his Christmas train (which he pronounces "Kipsis") from Memaw and Papa Bramlett - ha - he insisted on taking it into his preschool class for orientation.  His sweet little nose was looking terrible that day - it's looking MUCH better now (Saturday) - thank goodness!

James and his new teacher, Ms. Debbie!
Look at this awesome playground!
One thing I've realized while investigating preschool, asking other people's opinions about school, etc.  Whew, young parents have a LOT of opinions about what they think is the best thing to do with their kid about school.  Some think only home school, some think public school, some would NEVER choose public school and would only choose private school....and on and on and on.  It's a little overwhelming.  I can see that just like anything else in our world, it is going to take prayer and waiting for God to tell us what to do to know what is right for us and for James.  I just want to make the exact right decision!!  I think it's pretty clear that for this step in his little life, this is a great decision.  We love BCA already.  I was getting his little backpack ready (even though he doesn't start til Tuesday), pasting those little box things that give the school money on paper, putting his school calendar, snack calendar on the fridge, etc.  I had been in there forever doing it and finally Landon came in and I said, "Dude, I LOVE school.  I just love it!"  I can tell you that right now I am having way more fun than James just getting him ready to go.  So thankful for godly teachers who are willing to invest in my child.