Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Making Memories... or Reliving Them??

     The last few trips we’ve taken have definitely been the kind that you remember years down the road. We have plenty of those stories from when I was a kid and my family was on deputation, and now my family is adding to those stories.

     Ours started two weeks ago on our way to a Wednesday night meeting. We had left my parent’s house, and we were stopping for a meeting in Indianapolis, then we would head home the next day. We got about an hour and a half into a four hour trip and then it happened. Our ten month old started throwing up. Now, he’s a baby, he spits up all the time, but this was different. Chunks of animal cracker were coming back up, and he couldn’t stop. I was suddenly very glad that I had been hoarding grocery bags in the front pocket of the diaper bag. So we pulled over and cleaned him and the car seat up. As we started to get back on the road, he threw up again. The next three hours consisted of him occasionally puking and me cleaning it up. We had grocery bags piled around with puked on clothes tied in one or two and vomit clean up in the others. After three days of continually throwing up everything that went in, he finally seemed to be getting better, which was just in time for us to leave for our next meeting. Praise the Lord!

     So, we hit the road the next day for West Virginia. Three hours into the trip, our daughter was incredibly whiney. She’s two, so she tends to be whiney quite often, but this time she was more so than normal. I reached back to hold her hand and it was very hot. So I got out the thermometer and took her temperature. Sure enough, she had a fever. Here we go again. We made it to our destination in West Virginia without a vomit incident, which were praising the Lord for, but the next day we had another three and a half hours to go up to northern Ohio. Well, that morning she had some diarrhea diapers and then that afternoon, an hour into three and a half hour drive, she threw up. A lot. Maybe I shouldn’t have given her three cheese sticks and two glasses of milk that morning.  I’ve learned there is a very large and very smelly difference between a ten month old’s vomit and a two year old’s.  After stopping to clean her and the mess up, we rode the rest of the way with the windows down and the air on full blast to mask the smell. It didn’t really work, by the way. When we finally made it, hubby ended up having to go to the meetings alone because she little girl was still throwing up.

     These are definitely times we won’t forget, and they are reminding me of some similar memories we made when I was a kid. Like the time that Joel (the one who now exists) got carsick and then as we pulled over to clean him up, I believe I got sick and so did one of my other brothers. Then there’s also the time that we stopped at a hotel and I rocketed out of the van as fast as possible and promptly hurled all over the ground next to our van… and also next to a very nice sports car. Then after my older brother got out and saw what had happened, he proceeded to throw up right there as well. My dad may or may not have gone back later and moved our van away from the puke and very nice sports car.

     Ah, the memories! We are now all puke free and my littles are just as rambunctious as ever! And now that we’re home and well, it’s time for potty training to begin… again. Hey, third time’s the charm right? We shall see. This stage has ended up being one for the memory books as well, but that's a story for another time. So does anyone have any tips for me??

Monday, May 29, 2017

Revealing My Sources

Happy Memorial Day. I hope you both enjoy the day off AND remember and thank God for those who gave their lives defending our country and our freedoms.

I've been doing some research over the past week or so for various items that our church has needed for Vacation Bible School, that our ladies have needed for our Ladies Extravaganza in August, and some items of clothing I needed for the summer.

That's a lot of research. And it occurred to me that some people who read this blog might have some resources that would help me. And then it occurred to me that I might have some resources that help others.

So that's what my post is about today. Here are some random websites I've found for various things I've needed either in the ministry or at home. Feel free to bookmark this post and use any of the links I've listed here. I am not receiving any kind of compensation for recommending them and I don't necessarily endorse everything these sites offer, but I've found them helpful and I wanted to share. If you've got any links you've found helpful, list them in the comments. I may occasionally update this with a new post as I come across other helpful sites.

Printing tracts, invitations, announcements, prayer cards, postcards, door hangers and banners: -- they're very helpful and have done a great job with anything we've asked of them. Very reasonably priced, too. -- never used them, but they got high recommendations from a great many people in the ministry.

VBS programs and curriculum (I have not ordered from all of these companies, but these are the ones I thought looked promising. My criteria was looking for stores that used the KJV version of the Bible in their lessons.):

Modest clothing (I've not shopped at all of these places, so I can't vouch for their quality or customer service. I found most of them when I was looking for culottes, skirts and swimwear): - this is a directory of websites for modest clothing.

**Keep in mind that my idea of modest may be more conservative than some of the items offered on these websites.

KJV Bibles:

Again, bookmark this page for future use. So what about you? Do you have any resources to share? Add the link in your comments. It can be websites dealing with the items above or just anything at all that you've found helpful.

Thanks for sharing!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Four Tips on Selling

Have you ever come across an ad for a yard sale, it has awesome pictures and you just can’t wait to go to it? It’s the moment you see the items that you want and start making plans of what you would do with those items if you had them? Well, that happened to me this week. Tuesday, I was on Facebook and saw this HUGE barn sale that was happening yesterday. I had two whole days to look at those pictures and I got so excited! They were selling a TON of Primitive and Rustic decor. I saw it as a great opportunity to re-decorate my house. Well, my husbands day off was yesterday and we were able to go to it. They had rented a tent and had a pole barn FULL of things. As we walked up, I said to my husband, “I am for sure leaving with something today.” He looked at me frightened and said, “okay.” We started walking around and I started looking at the price tags, this was no yard sale, this was a private craft show. These were not yard sale prices. I became disappointed and walked away with nothing. Sad, right?

Well, from there we went to Goodwill. We love Goodwill! Yes, sometimes their prices can get high too, but we can usually always find a good steal. Not only do we find a good deal from time to time, but it also helps us make some extra money. When we lived in Florida we needed to make a little extra money and so my husband got started buying and selling items. I really didn’t like it at the beginning, until one day at a yard sale Matt came across a pair of Gucci Sneakers. He came to the car and asked me about them. I said, “yes, get them.” He came back to the car with them and he got them for a dollar! Yes, one dollar! So we took them home and listed them on Ebay. Three days later we sold those Gucci Sneakers for $137. After that, I changed my mindset on buying and selling and it was a whole new ballgame! 

Here’s a “How To” on selling stuff:

1. Do Your Research
     - Look up your item and find out how much it is worth.
     - Know your item. Is this a good brand or should I even waste my time trying to sell it?
     - Is this Genuine or a knockoff? There are a lot of knockoffs out there but it’s not too difficult to tell whether it’s real or not.

2. Determine where to sell it and how to price it
     - There are a few options of where to sell. Our go to places are Ebay, Facebook, Etsy and Craigslist. Ebay is for your higher priced items. Etsy is for your homemade things.
     - You can’t sell something on Facebook and expect to get what you paid for it if you bought it brand new.

3. Sell it
     - Take a few minutes and clean the items if they aren’t clean already.
     - Take a good picture. You don’t want to have a background with dirty clothes on the floor or garbage laying in the background. It’s not hard to add a nice background and keep it from being blurry.
     - Have a good description, it doesn’t have to be a long one. It does however need to be well written. It should be very clear, and detailed with no spelling mistakes.

4. Follow through and protect yourself
      - When shipping an item, always include a tracking number.
      - Depending on how much the item is worth, you might want to include shipping insurance.
      - If you have to meet someone, meet in a public place during the day.
      - Try and always take someone with you.

Do you have any tips that you would like to share?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Knight's Tale

     Tomorrow will be mine and hubby's fourth wedding anniversary. It's incredibly hard to believe that four years have come and gone. In some ways, it feels like there's no way we've been married for four years. In other ways, it feels like we've been together a lot longer than four years. For instance, I never would have imagined that after only four years I would have a two year old and an almost one year old. On the other hand, I do not feel old enough to have a two year old, an almost one year old, and to have been married for four years.

     Our love story is not your typical love story.  You know, love at first sight and falling head over heels. Side note: I have never understood "falling in love" or "falling head over heels". Love isn't a mud puddle that you fall head over heels and splat into, but maybe that's just me. Anyways, ours was not love at first sight, it was "eh" at first sight, and then, I don't remember how or why, but one day we did start talking and then a little over a year later we got married.

     There you have it, "Eh" at first sight turned into marriage and two babies. Through it all, though, my hubby has been my knight in shining armor. When we met, my family lived in Florida where my dad was pastoring, but I had moved back to Alabama and I was living with my old youth pastor, his wife, and their daughter. After "eh" turned into a friendship and possibly something more, my knight in shining armor went and asked permission to date me from my youth pastor and my dad. These days, not many guys even ask the father's permission to marry a girl, much less to date her; and then on top of that to ask two people for permission would probably be out of the question for most guys.

     We hadn't been dating for very long before my knight in shining armor came to my rescue. You see, I was quite poor and I had some debt. So between gas, food, and paying off debt, I didn't have a lot of extra money for anything else. I had a little pay as you go phone that was like a half step above a flip phone. I pretty much used that phone to talk to my mom and that was it... until we started dating. Well, using up my minutes and only being able to call at certain times got really old fast, so my knight decided to rescue me from the stone age and buy me my first smart phone. Needless to say, at this point we knew we were getting married. Nothing like a phone contract for a commitment!

     Six months after we started dating, my knight proposed. Again, he went and got permission before he asked. Sometimes I still wonder how we ended up where we are, especially considering my dad's initial answer was "no" 😲 . After my dad gave permission, my knight set it all up for me to come visit his family since he was going to be there for a hunting trip.  Then on opening day of gun season, after hunting of course, we went out to dinner with his family and some friends. After dinner, he disappeared for a few minutes and when he came back he had my parents on Skype. He asked me to stand up, he got down on one knee, and popped the question. I was so shocked, and I believe at one point someone asked "wait, did she ever actually say 'yes' ? ".

       Two months after we got engaged, my knight came to my rescue again. I had wrecked my car and like I said before, I was quite poor. There was absolutely zero money or credit for a car. For a week I stayed with a friend and she gave me rides to and from work so that I wouldn't lose my job. During that time, my knight went searching and bought me a car! Yes, we were engaged, but we weren't married yet and he did not have to buy that car for me, but he did.

     Four months later we were married, 
and for four years now my knight in shining armor has been coming to my rescue and keeping me in complete awe of him. It's not just the big things that make him my knight, but the little things too. Like taking the kids when they are both crying so that I can have some time. Or the time that he helped me wash out the puked in car seat in the hotel bath tub (That one was just yesterday, by the way). Or all the work that he does every day to provide for our family and to get us to the field that God has called us to. My hubby truly is an amazing man and he's above and beyond anything that I ever could have asked for.

     Right now my knight is fending off the kids so that I can finish writing, but I wanted to end with this question. What are some things that you appreciate about your knight?


Monday, May 22, 2017

A Crisis of Identity

This is Joel. He does not exist. I would have thought he did. After all, he's lived with us for nineteen years. But I've recently tried to help him get a state ID card, and the Secretary of State's office is not convinced that Joel is ... well... Joel.

Funny, because I sure remember staying pregnant for an extra day so that he would be born on April 2nd instead of April Fool's Day.

But what do I know? I'm just the mother that was induced and then endured many hours of labor before this bouncing, 9 lb, 2 oz baby boy came into the world.

You'd think that experience alone would qualify my word to carry weight, but it doesn't.

The problem, you see, is that, in order to get a photo ID, you need a photo ID. Which Joel would have if he'd gone to the local public high school. Since we're not very impressed with public education, we homeschooled our children. And the only photo ID they have is one that I made for them.

The Secretary of State's office was less than impressed with my desktop publishing skills.

Never had this problem you say? That's probably because you got an ID for your child before he/she turned eighteen. Apparently that coming-of-age age is quite the sticking point.

This is Nick. He's only seventeen, which is why he's able to exist. Last year I took both Joel and Nick to the Secretary of State's office to get them each an ID card. (We're not doing driver's licenses yet because we can't afford them on the insurance.)

You may or may not be aware that certain documents are required in order to obtain a state-issued identification. First, you have to prove your social security number, which you can do with your social security card. Keep in mind, though, that your social security card cannot be used to verify your identity. Or your legal presence. It can only verify your number.

Next, you need to have proof of your legal presence in the United States. I'm not sure how so many people who don't seem to have this end up getting licenses and even federal funding, but that's another blogpost too, and probably a little too political for some people. Suffice it to say, Joel and Nick both have birth certificates proving they were born in the United States. Unfortunately, the birth certificate can only verify your legal presence in the country. It cannot verify your identity.

And here's where we have a problem. You have to prove identity, and in order to do that you have to have a photo ID. Since Nick did not have a photo ID, and since I was listed on his birth certificate as his mother, and since I had the ID to prove that I was, indeed, the woman listed on his birth certificate, they accepted my word for it and gave Nick an ID, which means that the State of Michigan acknowledges that Nick Boyd exists.

Which brings us back to Joel, who does not exist. Joel also had no photo ID. I'm also listed on his birth certificate as his mother, and since I still had the same ID to prove that I was also Joel's mother, it should have been easy for Joel to get a state-issued identification card as well.

Not hardly.

Joel had turned eighteen two weeks before we went in to get their ID's. And since that was the case, they could no longer accept his mother's word for his identity.

Since when do I stop being their mother when they turn eighteen?

Never mind that they had just agreed to issue identity to Nick, standing right next to Joel. Never mind that the parents listed on their birth certificates were identical in every way.

Never mind that I have the grades and the report cards to prove that I taught this non-existent child throughout his life. Never mind that I have the medical records for when Joel broke both his arms and ended up the emergency room in Florida. Never mind that I have the medical records from when Joel took a line drive to the mouth and ended up in the emergency room in Michigan.

Never mind that I have a shot record from the health department declaring his immunizations are up-to-date. Never mind that he's had a legal hunting license in the state of Michigan for the last three years.

Since Joel doesn't exist, he certainly does not teach a Sunday School class at our church for boys in the third through sixth grades. And I suppose he couldn't possibly be responsible for the fact that he has boys saved in his class almost every week.

He certainly doesn't sing tenor in the choir, since he doesn't exist. And I'm not sure who is getting the benefit of his piano lessons, but it couldn't be Joel. Did I mention he doesn't exist?

At any rate, I've collected all these papers and documents to prove that Joel Boyd does, indeed, exist. I'm taking Joel and the documents to the secretary of state's office tomorrow in the hopes that they will also agree that Joel exists. Please pray that things go smoothly and that we can get his identification card.

If not, we have only one option left. They will accept a department of corrections prisoner identification card. But it seems a little drastic to have Joel commit a crime in order to prove his ID.

I'm getting desperate, and I'm afraid Joel will eventually fade away like the character on Back to the Future. So help me out. Leave a comment if you believe Joel exists. We could use the reinforcement.

Friday, May 19, 2017

What I Didn't Know Then..

When you were a teenager, did you think you had life all figured out? Did you think that life didn’t move fast enough because you just couldn’t wait to grow up and be on your own. Well, now that I’m older and looking back there are some things i would definitely have changed about my teenage years.

  • My Education- I didn’t make it count when it mattered most. I should have focused more on studying and less on trying to “fit in”. Later in your life you don’t get a career based on if you “fit in” or not, you get one based on the education you have. 
I used to work as a receptionist at a Psychiatric office. One time, I got a call to adjust the thermostat for a patient that was going to come in an hour. Do you think I got that job because I “fit in”? My husband might think so.

  • Saving money- It can be exciting when you get your first job and that paycheck is burning a hole in your pocket. Don’t spend it all in one place. Trust me, i’ve been there. Save it! You’ll be so thankful that you did.

For me-it was shoes. I am a serious shoe addict. Do you know Oprah’s weight watchers commercial “I LOVE BREAD. I love bread!” Picture me saying that about shoes.

  • Time spent with loved ones- I have lost 2 loved ones within a year. My Grandma and my Daddy. As a young person you think those family members will be around for a long time. Life is short and you need to cherish those moments while you have them. I’m so grateful for the time spent with them before they each passed.   
  • Getting involved- I wasn’t faithful to church by any means but I attended youth group in high school. I didn’t take it seriously and I didn’t get involved. In my mind I was “too cool”. It wasn’t until I was married to my husband who is a youth pastor, and we were attending teen camp the first year as a married couple, that I realized I wish I would have been more active in my youth group. Don’t think you’re “too cool” to get involved, because you are not. You need Jesus! 

So, what would you add to the list?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jig

     Thirty-four days. That's how long we've been gone on this round. It's been a busy trip, but a good one, and tomorrow we are finally going home! Home... finally... for a whole... three days.

     I have big plans for those three days. Big plans of doing nothing. 

Well, nothing except some cleaning the first day because we've been gone for over a month. But nothing other than that. I mean, except for that and a run to the grocery store because we do have to eat for those three days. That's it though, then I'm done. Well, done aside from doing some laundry. Oh, and the repacking for the next trip. And making sure it's clean before we leave again. And then there's the whole two toddlers thing I have to deal with. Oh, and also the doctor's appointments. Okay, so maybe my big plans are more like big dreams. That's okay, though, because we'll be home.

     We don't have any horror stories from deputation, but even if all of your stops and stays are good ones, there is just something about being home. You get to sleep in your own bed, and your kids get to sleep in their own beds (we bring a playpen and a cot with us, but somehow everyone ends up in our bed come morning). You get to make our own food. McDonalds gets old very quickly, and we have our favorites that we like to have our first few evenings home. You get to wash your clothes as often as you need. Don't get me wrong. We don't wear dirty clothes, we just carry around a bag of dirty clothes until it's absolutely necessary to wash (i.e. no clean undies for the next day). Then we find a place to do so. You get to let your child "cry it out" to go to sleep because there's no one in the room next door that you have to be courteous of. My kids get to cuddle to sleep almost every night, which I enjoy most nights, but they do need to know how to put themselves to sleep sometimes.

     It's just nice to go home, if even for a few days, to reset and recharge for the next trip. After this next trip, we'll be home for two whole weeks. It will be a good rest for us, because once we leave again it will be very busy. I do, however, have actual big plans for those two weeks. Finishing up potty training, sorting through the garage and storage to prepare for a yard sale, not to mention decorating and preparing for vacation bible school! It will still be a restful time for us though because we'll be home. I never thought of myself as a homebody. I love to get out and go places and always be going somewhere, but now I understand there really is no place like home.

     So what about you? Homebody or world traveler?


Monday, May 15, 2017

Here Comes the Judge

Raise your hand if you try to be physically fit. Anyone? Isn't it hard? I mean, exercise has never been my favorite activity, and I hate to sweat. However, I'm in a family of fitness buffs, so it's a little hard to sit and vegetate even when I want to. They started with gentle nudging, "Hey, Mom! Wanna go to the gym with me?"

"With me" means we would ride in the same car. They do not hang out with me at the gym.

Eventually one of my boys explained to me that, just in case our country every collapses and anarchy reigns, he wanted me to be fit enough to run from the bad guys and not get caught. I wanted to know who the bad guys were and why we were running from them ... and where we were running to, come to think of it. I never did get satisfactory answers, but hey I'm a good sport and I certainly don't want to be the one to slow the family down as we flee a post-apocalyptic world, so I joined a gym.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's me. I've been going faithfully, but I can't really say I'm enjoying it yet. Not only is getting fit hard work (unless you're ... you know ... fit), the gym is definitely not my comfort zone. 

I'm not a very coordinated person. In fact, I am quite clumsy. Some of the machines at the gym seem so complicated that just getting in them properly is enough of a workout for me. And I can't even count the number of times I've caught my toe--or the edge of my skirt--on something and nearly fell flat on my face.

Lucky for me I go to a gym that is part of a judgment free zone. They advertise that everyone feels comfortable there and no one is judged.  

In spite of the gym's efforts, sometimes I'm uncomfortable. For one thing, there's a group of "old guys" (Stephanie's term) who hang out at the gym. I think they all must be hard of hearing because whenever they talk to each other they yell loudly enough so that everyone in the gym hears them. Their workout consists of doing a couple of reps on a machine and then standing there and talking to each other for twenty minutes before they move on to the next machine. I think I've figured out why they can still have a beer gut even though they're at the gym for over two hours a day.

Not that I'm judging.

Some of the women are no better. Listen to me, ladies. Leggings are not the same as pants. Why do people not get that? They are not attractive, no matter how skinny you may be. And can I just say, a lot of the people at the gym are not skinny. I'm included in that group, but at least I'm not showing every roll and lump in clearly defined detail.

But I guess I'm judging.

That's okay, though, because I think people are judging me too. Last week a man came up to me and commented on my speed on the stationary bike. Just to be clear, I wasn't on the bike at the time. He had apparently noticed my readout when he was on the bike next to me the day before. I think it's very personal to look at someone else's readout. And that felt just a little bit stalker-ish. The man said he's usually on the bike next to me and he thought I was doing great.

Ahem! If that wasn't enough, a few days later a woman held the door open for me as I was leaving, and she complimented me on my speed on the stationary bike. She also said she's usually on the bike next to me when I'm riding.

So if I understand this correctly, I've been excelling at speed on a stationary bike, while never noticing that there was both a man and a woman on the other bike that is right next to me. You'd think I'd notice something as strange as two people on one stationary bike. But then, since we don't judge at this gym, maybe it's okay?

I'm thinking of switching to the treadmill.

I don't really have a problem with the gym's judgment free zone, but I do protest the gym's enabling tendencies. They serve free pizza on the first Monday of the month and free bagels on the first Tuesday of the month. Isn't that kind of like serving alcohol at an AA meeting?!?!?!?

So how's your quest for fitness going? Are you ready for the post-apocalyptic world?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Open-Mouth, Insert Foot

When you were growing up, did you ever hear your parents say “think before you speak”, or “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Well, mine did. Usually, I have a pretty good filter of what I should or shouldn’t say. Just because a thought comes into your head doesn’t mean it should come out of your mouth. However, recently I have had a few times where I just said the first thing that came to mind.

A few weeks back, I took a trip to Once Upon a Child with my daughters. The aisles in this store are not very big at all and the girls and I were trying to squeeze by an expecting mother. I had apologized because my girls were in no hurry to pass by. She proceeded to tell me it was no big deal because she had a few kids of her own. I got chatting with her and asked her how many kids she had. She told me that she had three. I said “that’s awesome and you’re due with your fourth?”

She gave me a blank stare and told me that she had just had twins. My face turned fifty shades of red and I quickly started to apologize; instead of shoving my foot in my mouth and walking away I decided that I should keep asking about her kids to make it all better. I really only made it worse, and awkward. From then on, I avoided every aisle that she was in. 

After I left the store, I called my husband and told him what I had done. He was SUPER encouraging. He laughed and gave me our famous “FAIL!” Then, he politely told me he had to get off the phone because he had to tell everyone what I had said.

But wait, there’s more.

On Easter Sunday, we had several new visitors at our church. It was exciting! I was on my way into the ladies room and almost ran into one of the visitors who was exiting. I said, “Good morning, it’s good to have you with us this morning.” She said, “Thank you.” As I was talking to her, I noticed that she looked like one of our members at the church. So of course I opened my mouth. I said, “Are you Matilda’s (the names have been changed to protect the innocent… er, people I insult) sister?” Quickly she replied, “daughter.” Oops. I did it again. I mean every daughter wants to be told she’s old like her mother, right? I’ll help you out with the answer: NO, they don’t! Learning from a recent experience I said, “Ok. Well it’s good to have you” and went on my way…

Side note: She hasn’t been back to our church since.

So, have you had what are some embarrassing, open-mouth, insert foot moments you’ve had?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Day in the Life of Mom

     Mother's day is this weekend. The day where we are to celebrate and appreciate our mothers. And now that I'm a mother of two I've gained a little insight into what there is to appreciate in a mother's world.  So I decided to share a few things about moms. If you're a mom, you'll probably relate. If you're not a mom, maybe this will give you a little more appreciation for your mom.

  • You can do almost anything one handed. Literally, I have cooked entire meals and scrubbed bathrooms from top to bottom, all while holding an infant on my hip. It truly is a talent.
  • You say the same thing over and over again and expect different results...that's also the definition of insanity... interesting.
  • The moment you sit down to relax never fails to be the moment that all of your kids need something done that only you can do for them. Happens every. single. time. 
  • You think you are a patient mom, and then you stand there and watch your toddler try to zip their own jacket...
  • You hear your name 3,578 times in one day.
  • You spend the first 12 months of your child's life teaching them to walk and talk, and then the next several years teaching them to sit still and be quiet. 
  • You can completely ruin someone's day simply by telling them clothes are not optional. My brother's are teenagers and I think my mother still has to deal with this.
  • You haven't been able to stay awake and watch an entire tv episode since... how old is your oldest?... ya, since about 9 months before that.
  • You have the ability to hear a sneeze through closed doors, in the middle of the night, three bedrooms away, while your husband snores next to you.
  • The only time you can have some time to yourself is when you're in the bathroom, and even then, there are probably little fingers sticking under the door, and a little voice saying "mommy? I come in and be with you, mommy?"
  • You spend an entire day washing clothes and dishes only to walk around the house at the end of the day to find a sink full of dishes and a basket full of dirty clothes. It's like there are little creatures following you around undoing everything you do...oh, wait, that's because there are.
  • You go to bed at the end of the day feeling like you can't handle another day like that one, and then your toddler climbs in your bed, cuddles up to you, holds your face, and gives you a peck. And suddenly you just had the best day ever!
     So how are you going to celebrate your mom this weekend? I think she deserves it, don't you?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Facing Mondays

Was it hard to face a Monday when you got up this morning? Sometimes it's adding insult to injury to turn the alarm off and then remember that it's Monday.

I'm probably not the only pastor's wife that feels exhausted by the time everything is finished up at church on Sunday night. And it seems like some of that exhaustion rolls right over to Monday morning. Especially if I'm already facing a list of items that I didn't quite get done at the end of last week, and then Monday comes rolling in like a runaway freight train.

So how to cope?

Philippians 4:4 tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. If you know anything about grammar, you know that this is an imperative statement. In other words, this is a command. God commands us to rejoice. There are no caveats or exemptions or exceptions to this command. He simply tells us to rejoice in Him always.

That means rejoice when you don't feel well.

Rejoice when you're stressed.

Rejoice when you're pressed for time.

Rejoice when you're weighed down by burdens.

Rejoice on Mondays.

I understood the command to rejoice, but I never understood why He wanted us to rejoice always. It's not because God wants us to run around like happy little robots. Or like He expects us to "sell" the Christian life by plastering a fake smile on our face.

Believe it or not, God commands us to rejoice for our own good. Nehemiah 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is your strength. You need strength to get through life's trials? Rejoice. Worried about your children? Rejoice. Stressed about the finances? Rejoice. It's through rejoicing in Him that we find the strength that we need to get through the trials that come our way.

So how do we get from a stressed or worried frame of mind to a rejoicing one? Philippians 4:8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

If you focus on what's pure and lovely and true and honest and just, you'll be rejoicing in no time.

Now it's your turn. In the comments, mention one thing you can rejoice about on this Monday morning.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Confessions of a Nursery Director

By no means am I a know-it-all when it comes to directing the nursery. I have been “in charge” of the nursery for about three years now. In that short amount of time, I have developed some tips that may be of help to you.

  •  It’s difficult when your child’s bedtime is before or during church. Your child doesn’t want to lay down and go to sleep if there is a room full of kids that are playing.
  • It may be best to stay home if your child is sick. You may be tired of cleaning up vomit at home but that doesn’t mean the nursery workers should have to do it. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Note: If your child had a sniffle 3 hours ago, that’s no excuse to miss church.
  • It’s unpleasant when you bring a child that not only smells like your pet's urine but is also wearing it. Trust me, we would understand if you were late to church because you had to change an outfit at the last minute. 
  • When we are meeting your child for the first time and you don’t provide anything for them, what are we supposed to do? Do they need a diaper? We can’t supply those for everyone
  • If your child is one who cries for a long time after you leave them, please do not come check on them. If they have not calmed down on their own, we will come get you. We don’t just let them cry in agony for an hour until you come back for them.
  • Here's a tip for the indecisive parents. Know what you’re going to do before you drop your child off in the nursery. Please don’t stand around for ten minutes deciding whether or not you're going to feed your baby. We can’t tell you what to do for your child. Only you know what’s best.

  • We need to look presentable. Before you leave the house, take a few minutes to make sure you don’t have any stains or pet hair on your outfit. Remember, this is a ministry. We need to give God our best. 
  • Having nursery duty doesn’t mean dress in your play clothes.
  • If you think you will be late or unable to make it, please give a heads up. It only takes a second. 
  • Making the nursery schedule is not as easy as it seems. About twice a year, I feel great about the schedule: I think everyone will be able to work their shift. Just when I feel like it’s working, someone isn’t able to work anymore. It never fails.

Being a nursery worker isn’t always easy, but they are a blessing. Often times, it’s a messy, exhausting job and they feel under appreciated. Next time you are at church, thank your nursery workers. Especially if you are a parent, they watch your children so you can be in the service.

What are some experiences you’ve had in the nursery?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

2 a.m. Wake Up Call

     I know what you're thinking. You think that you already know that this is going to be about my kids waking me up in the middle of the night, and therefore you don't need to actually read this post. While my kids are awake at 2 a.m. from time to time, that's not what this is about.

     Fun fact about me, I'm a giant scaredy cat. In my mind, when the sun goes down, every bad person in the world is in my yard just waiting for the right moment to break into my house.

 My husband and I have the same conversation every night. Me: "Honey, did you lock all the doors?".  Him: "Yes, dear". Me: "Is the van locked?". Him: "Yes, dear". Me: "Are you sure?". Him: "Yes, Stephanie, I am sure".  I may or may not have some issues. I also constantly "hear things" in the middle of the night. I wake my hubby up often because I KNOW that I heard something in the house. It usually ends up being the wind outside or my daughter rolling up against the wall in her bed.

     Well, on this particular night I heard a pounding noise and I knew for a fact that I heard it. I turned to wake my hubby up, but he had heard it too. "Someone's in the house" I whispered. He got up and got his pistol and headed towards the hall when all of the sudden we heard it again. It was someone banging on our front door. They weren't just knocking, they were pounding on the door. Hubby stuck his head back in the room and glanced at the clock. It was 2:05 in the morning. Who in the world would pound on someone's door at two o'clock in the morning?? While we aren't in a bad neighborhood, it's not one that you should open your door for someone in the middle of the night. So, we decided it was probably best to call the police.

      After calling the police, I went into ninja mom mode. My kids. I had to protect my kids. So, I crouched down and sneaked into my kids room while my hubby did the investigating. Why was I crouching? I have no idea, it just seemed like the thing to do in ninja mom mode. My heart was pounding a mile a minute. I was certain that the person pounding at the door was just a diversion for the person who was about to break into the back door. The pounding at the front door had stopped which could only mean it was just a matter of time before all the other bad guys broke into our house. So, what did ninja mom do? She shook like a scared little girl as I stood in my kid's bedroom silently praying and just waiting for what I thought was the inevitable.

     Finally, after what seemed like the longest five minutes of my life, the police showed up. We waited as we watched their flashlights circle our house. I was just waiting for the shouting to start as they apprehended the bad guys, but no shouting ever came. Then they knocked on the door. They told us that, for some reason, at 2 a.m. our neighbor was outside and noticed that our van door was open, and that he not only closed the door, but also decided to come and tell us about it. They assured us that they checked our yard and that there was no one there and that we were completely safe.

     While that may have been the real reason that our neighbor was pounding on the door, I'm not quite sure why they thought it was a good idea to go to a house where all the lights were off and to scare the living daylights out of it's sleeping occupants. The police officers may have assured us that we were completely safe, but I would not be sleeping at all that night. I laid in my bed with the lights on for another hour or so, and then decided that the only way I could sleep was if I knew my kids were okay, and the only way to know that was if I was with them. So, I went into my kid's room and got in the double bed with my toddler. It took me another hour after that, but around 4:30 I finally fell back asleep.

     I have learned a couple things from this. 1) I have some serious issues that I need to work through, and 2) I would make a terrible ninja!

     So how would you handle a 2 a.m. wake up call??


Monday, May 1, 2017

Her Father's Daughter

As hard as it sometimes is for me to be the mother of five boys, my poor husband has an even harder time. Not with being father to five boys, mind you. That he does very well.

No, the times he has struggled the most as a parent is when he's had to deal with our little "rose among the thorns". That's what he called Stephanie after she was born. It's the only time he's waxed poetic, by the way.

Truthfully, he didn't have many problems dealing with her when she was little. He cuddled her, kissed her boo-boos and generally made sure she could play, run and ride bikes and motorbikes as well as her brothers.

Terry was even fairly decent at getting her dressed and her hair brushed before she had to go somewhere. Of course he did these things in a completely manly way. For instance, he hated digging through a basket of clothes for matching socks for her, so he went out and bought her 8-10 pairs of socks that had ice cream cones on them. That way whatever socks he grabbed always matched. White socks would have served the same purpose, but he didn't want to be boring.

The two of them sometimes got into trouble too. Like the time I came home to find that, not only had he given all the boys haircuts, but he'd also given in to Stephanie's pleas to join in. Her long hair had been cut to where it grazed her jawline. As I sobbed over the loss of my little girl's hair, he explained that he hadn't meant to cut it so short, but she wouldn't hold still. And he didn't remember that it was the day before her kindergarten graduation ...

At any rate, as Stephanie got older their relationship entered into new arenas, and Terry discovered that he couldn't always deal with a girl the way he dealt with the boys. For example, when he started teaching her to drive, he took her to an empty parking lot, parked the van and told her to start it up and back out. As soon as she went into reverse, he said, "Boom. You just hit someone and killed them."

I ended up taking over the driving lessons.

I think the time when having a daughter confused him the most was when we lived in Uganda. Stephanie was a pre-teen, given to occasional hormones. I had to go back to the States for a couple of weeks to get some dental work done. Terry didn't mind taking care of all the kids, but he did insist that I had to do one thing before I left. I had to explain female cycles to Stephanie in case something started while I was gone. I was pretty sure we didn't have anything to worry about, but I was also pretty sure that this was one area he wouldn't be able to handle, so I did what he wanted.

Stephanie was already upset that I was leaving without her, and her mood didn't improve when I explained what could possibly happen with her body while I was gone. But then Terry really capped it all off when he had a "conversation" with her a day or so later.

"Did your mom explain things to you?" He asked abruptly. When Stephanie nodded, he added, "Good. Just remember:  if anything happens you can tell me, 'Red ball one. Bag is leaking'." Satisfied that everything was handled, he walked off.

Stephanie didn't speak to me for three weeks, and she still occasionally reminds us of how traumatized she was.

At any rate, I never let anyone feel sorry for her being in a family of boys. God designed our family, and He put it together in a way that was best for us. I told her not everyone qualifies to be a Boyd, and she was the only girl to make the cut. There's just not that many females out there that could handle her father.

So how does your husband do when it comes to raising girls?