Monday, October 28, 2013

Music Monday - He is With Us

I talk to my kids all the time about Jesus being with us all the time, no matter where we are or what we're doing.  The other night Mallory and I were talking about this and she said, "But Mom, what if Jesus gets in front of me and I trip over him?"  I tried not to giggle, and I assured her that he would not let us trip over him.  It was a serious question for her, and she is still not quite understanding all of it, but it was such a sweet and innocent conversation.  

This is one of our favorite songs right now.  Mallory loves to sing it in the car with me.  Hearing her sweet little voice in the back seat singing "He is with us." just about melts my heart.  I hope she holds that deep in her heart for the times when it feels like she is all alone and remembers that He is always with her.  

The lyrics, "We can trust our God.  He know what He's doing."  Seems so simple, yet it is hard to remember some times.  In the past few weeks I have had friends go through very difficult times - losing a child and losing a mother.  And this belief - that He is with us, is what helped them keep going.  I can't imagine going through life without this knowledge.  I often think, "How do people who don't know the hope and peace of Jesus make it through the hard times?"  And I don't know.  I know that I wouldn't want to try.  And I'm so very thankful that because I know Jesus as my Savior, I'll never be alone.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Music Monday - Pushing Back the Dark

 Sometimes when I watch the news or read articles on facebook/twitter about the world we live in I can get very overwhelmed and discouraged by the darkness of the world.  In the past month I have had several dear friends share their struggles as moms with me.  We have all agreed that sometimes it feels like we are in over our heads in the world of parenting.  That the world feels too big and too crazy to overcome with our love and guidance as moms and dads, even though we know God is on our side.  And sometimes I think, "I'm just one little mom.  I don't really have a title or influence in this world and it is so big and the problems are so huge. How am I ever going to make sure my kids know and love Jesus and not let the world carry them away?"  Of course, Satan feeds these fears like I wrote about last week.  I truly feel that our families are constantly under attack.  

This song is such an encouragement to me.  It speaks to what I am trying to do as a mom and a wife and a woman in Christ.  "Keep on Pushing Back the Dark"  Whoa.  Isn't that what we are supposed to do?  Let our light shine.  It reminds me of a rock concert.  (I have never done this, but I've seen it on tv.  Y'all know I lead such a crazy life.) If just one of us would hold up our light it may not be much in the huge concert arena.  But, if we all hold up our lights, it lights up the entire space!  I love how it says, "Don't underestimate the God you follow."  I do that. I think we all have things we do this with.
Be encouraged, friends.  Let your light shine and keep on pushing back the dark.  I want our lights to shine like it says in the song "like a symphony crescendo".  A crescendo starts out quiet and gets louder and louder!  What a word picture!  We can do this together!

Don't forget this:

"You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."  
Matthew 5:14-16

Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Monday - Brave

There are a few words that I would not use to describe myself - outdoorsy, quiet, non-opinionated (not a word, I realize) and brave.  I struggle with fear.  I have my entire life.  It is definitely one of the ways Satan uses to keep me from a life of freedom.  I have memorized Scripture, prayed a million trillion prayers and sung enough Jesus songs to keep all of us safe, but I still struggle with it.  I am getting better.  Lots better really.  But it is still a struggle at times for me.  Since I have become a mom of course my fears have really centered around my children.  It's kind of funny because many of my fears are totally unrealistic events that will almost certainly never ever happen.  Once when I was on the phone with my sister while Aubrey was about 2, I said, "Hold on.  Aubrey has something in his mouth. Oh, it was just a quarter."  My sister said, "JUST A QUARTER!!! SARAH, HE COULD HAVE CHOKED TO DEATH!!!"  I, of course, realized this, but I just don't sweat the small stuff.  The big stuff however, gets me.

My son went on a field trip last week.  For some reason, the night before I thought to call another mom who was going on the trip.  (I was not able to go because I had previously committed to be a mentor mom for MOPS and it was our first meeting.)  She is a nurse, and I thought it would be good for her to just be aware of what was going on with the food, animals, etc. that Aubrey would come in contact with.  She was happy to help keep his pack with his Benadryl, epi-pen, etc.  I had just finished my meeting and I got a text saying that she didn't want to worry me, but she thought Aubrey was having an allergic reaction.  From what she said originally, I thought a little Benadryl would help stop it.  She gave him some.  After about 10 more minutes though, she texted again and said, "Call me."  That's when my hands got sweaty.  She said that Aubrey's reaction was not stopping, and though his breathing seemed fine, his hives were spreading.  She wanted to give him more Benadryl.  I of course said yes.  I turned my car around by this point and was going to head there, but she said not to, that she would bring him home to me where we could decide what to do.  By the time he got home, his reaction was going down and we both felt much better.

She and the boys figured out what happened.  The field trip was to ag day at our county fair.  At ag day there is a peanut room where they show the kids how peanuts grow and how to make peanut butter. (this is Georgia, after all).  As Aubrey went in and realized what they were doing, he got nervous.  The other mom took him out of the room and he was fine.  However, one of his friends ate one of the peanut butter covered crackers they gave the kids.  As he came out, he put his hand on the back of Aubrey's neck asking him how he was doing.  This is where the reaction started before it spread down his back, up his neck and around to his mouth.

This wasn't an easy thing for me to think about.  I really had a hard time letting go of the thoughts and "what ifs" of the day.  And while I want Aubrey to be brave, it's something I need to work on just as well.  Jen Hatmaker wrote a post a while back about brave moms and brave kids.  I want my kids to be brave.  I don't want to live in fear, even of a peanut allergy.  My husband and I always say that we don't want to live lives ruled by fear of the allergies.  (or anything else for that matter)  It can truly be paralyzing.

So, I tell my children to be brave.  We have recently changed churches and schools, both major changes that have necessitated lots of bravery.  And they have done beautifully.  I'm trying to model it and let go of things.  Let Jesus hold them for me.  Even big, scary things like food allergies.  And plane crashes.  And bridges falling.  And the scary guys behind me at Walmart.  (All things I worry about. Ridiculous.  I know)

This song has become a quick favorite of mine.  Although it really centers around saying things when it is hard, I think it is a great reminder to be brave in all that we do.  And sometimes saying something is the hardest thing to do.   It is something I want my children to hear and I want to sink into my soul.  "I want to see you be brave".  They can stand up to the bully, they can deal with their allergies, they can walk down the dark hallway at home.  "If God is for us, who (or what) can be against us?"

Watch the video though.  It's funny.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Monday

Yesterday at church we sang one of my very favorite songs - "In Christ Alone"  This song is so powerful and it is always such a great reminder for me.  
The lyrics say, "When fears are stilled, When strivings cease" 
Whoah, do I need to remember that I don't have to do it all on my own.  I can do it all through Christ alone.  I have so much I want to happen or do, and yet, I can only do it through Christ.  This is a hard thing for me to do.  I want to take things on and get them done.  I want things to happen "right now"!  

And then the last verse.  Oh, it gets me.
"Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, No scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from his hand."
 I'm so thankful for this.  How do people live without this hope.  It overwhelms me!

So often we just sing our hymns without really thinking about their lyrics, but so many of the long time favorites of the church have such powerful meaning.  This song in particular, is the subject of an interesting article here.  

What hymns do you love to sing or really get to you with their lyrics?

I haven't been here much this summer.  Life has been busy.  I am going to blog more regularly when school starts.  One more week of freedom to go!  

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Cathedral - Music Monday

I am not an outdoorsy kind of gal.  Almost anyone who knows me knows I would much rather be curled up on the couch with a book for hours on end, or scrapbooking or knitting, or on and on and on as long as it is inside.  The past couple of weeks though I have spent more time outside than usual.  Our family was blessed to go to St. George Island with both of my sisters and their families.  My older sister's boys didn't come, but her husband was there, so it was super special.  We usually only see her once a year.  We spent most of our days on the beach or in the pool, and even visited an estuarine (Who knew there was such a thing?  Not me, the indoors girl.)  It was lovely, and I enjoyed it all.

We all came back home to Habersham and my parents took my sister Beth and her husband Steve to Tallulah Gorge to show them the local scenery.  They loved it and wanted to hike it the next day.  I made some comment to my husband like, "Beth and Steve are going to hike the gorge tomorrow.  Can you believe it?" He said, "You could do that!"  So that night as we were all together I told Beth, "D. is trying to get me to believe I could hike the gorge with y'all tomorrow."  Of course that was all it took for the plan to be put in motion.  My mom and dad agreed to watch our kids and we were off, bright and early the next morning (another thing about me - I am not a morning person. at. all.)

When we got to the gorge, you have to go through a little presentation of rules and regulations.  The man started talking about jumping boulders, copperheads, giardia (an intestinal bug you can get in the water there that lasts for months) and I felt like I had been duped!  I know my eyes were as big as saucers.  I also didn't realize there are 1,099 stairs to get to the actual gorge.  Ha!

I made it down the stairs, of course, and that is where the real fun began.  Immediately there are boulders to "jump" to cross the river to begin hiking.  And of course, I fell.  I hit my shin right below my knee cap so hard tears sprang to my eyes!  It was one of those times where it takes a second to figure out if you are hurt really bad or if you can keep going.  Fortunately for our adventure, I was ok, and kept going.  I had a blast.  It was so amazing to see the falls down there, and it was so fun to realize what I was doing!  In fact, I said, "I wish we had video of this, because no one would believe I am doing this!"  So my brother-in-law Steve videoed me climbing some boulders. (without my consent I might add)

I kept thinking of this song while I was hiking and jumping those boulders.  I can say that truly the times I have felt closest to God were not times I was in church.  They were times when I was awestruck by his creation or during my quiet times when I know He is with me.  I truly do not know how people can be surrounded by God's creation and still not believe in him. So I'm not sure how much more timeI'll be spending outside, but this was a good start.  Any suggestions of other outdoor activities I might enjoy?  :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day with my Dad

I have written this post in my head over and over for the 3 weeks that have passed since this day.  I feel that words won't do it justice, but I want to tell the story, so I have more than just the pictures in my head to remember the day.

By all accounts my dad was a stud in high school.  He was an exceptional athlete, playing football, basketball, running track.  He made all-region and all-state, and some of his accomplishments still hang in his high school gym.  He played golf from a very young age, learning by caddying at his local country club.  It has been the sport he loved the most I think.  Because of his love of sport it was kind of a twist of fate that my dad would have three girls.  He swears he wouldn't want it any other way; that once he had his first girl he fell in love and never wanted a son after that.  It's a good thing, really, because he would have been disappointed!

Growing up, watching sports was something I did with my dad.  It was our way of bonding.  Although I grew up around the game of golf - going to tournaments (my dad had friends on the PGA tour), it wasn't until we moved to Florida that I really began to play golf.  Dad would often take me and my sister out at the end of the day when the course was really calm, the sun was setting and the temperature in southern Florida was cooling.  At first we loved riding on the golf cart, seeing the birds, fish, turtles and the occasional snake or alligator.  In high school I worked at the course during my summers and I joined the golf team my sophomore year.  Although I had a coach, my dad was really the one who taught me most of what I learned as a golfer.  And though I learned a lot about golf on the course, I probably learned more about life than golf during those afternoons and evenings with my dad.

My dad has been to golf tournaments all over the US and the world.  He had been to 3 of the 4 "Majors" on the PGA tour, with the only one he hadn't been to being The Masters, which is held here in Georgia.  After he moved here we always talked about going, but never wanted to spend the absurd amount of money the tickets go for.  This past winter, his company, The C12 Group, hosted a 20th Anniversary event, and my dad met a new member who lived in Augusta, GA, home of The Masters.  The member said he would love to have my dad come to the tournament.  So last month my dad called and said, "Would you have any interest in going to The Masters with me?" Of course I said, "Yes!" and we made plans to go.

We left early in the morning and made the 2 and 1/2 hour drive to Augusta.  We had a fun drive talking and laughing.  We met his friend easily, even crossing 3 lanes of traffic with no trouble, and got our badges.  We decided to try to find a parking spot close to the club.  We found a spot almost at the entrance to the club - for free!  We walked in amazed at how close to the entrance we got to park.  The only dark spot in our day was when Dad had to throw away his pocketknife at the entrance.

As we entered Augusta National, I said to Dad, "This is like Disney World for golfers."  It was perfect. Television does not do it justice at all.  Not a weed, or a piece of grass out of place anywhere in the club.  The azaleas are amazing. We joked that the pine trees are told as they grow, "This is Augusta, your needles must fall straight down under you as to not make a mess," because that is really how they look.  It sprinkled rain for the first hour and a half we were there, then the clouds parted and it was beautiful.  Just the way they planned it at Augusta, I'm sure.

We decided to see as much of it as we could.  We didn't want to miss anything or anyone in the tournament.  We walked for awhile then found a spot to sit and watch.  That was our routine for the day.  We sampled the fabulous Southern food they serve (so economically - sandwiches for $1.50!) and  enjoyed every bit of it.  (Where else could we both eat and drink for $10?) After lunch we finally settled in the stands at the eleventh green/twelfth tee.  We saw over half of the field this way.  This is also where we both got sunburned beyond belief!  It was so fun to see the guys we watch on tv and cheer on from the living room right there in front of us.  We totally got a kick out of watching the greenskeepers come out of the bushes in between groups and blow the needles and leaves off of the green.  It was magic coming to life.

After we watched the end of the field come through we made our way to the clubhouse area where we found our souvenirs, enjoyed a peach ice cream sandwich and watched a few players up close on the putting green.  I even got to tell T.J. Vogel, who plays for the Florida Gators, "Go Gators!  Way to go T.J.!" because we were right next to the golfers! The sun was setting, the wind was softly blowing and we were finally tired.

It was truly the perfect day with my dad.  It was one of those days that you almost can't believe went as perfectly as it did.  And though we couldn't take any pictures (it's a rule there - no cameras) I know it is a memory that both of us will remember forever.  I am so blessed to have my dad - he's an amazing man, but he has always been a dad who loved to be with his girls.  He has always wanted us around.  So a day like this was icing on the cake for a girl and her dad.  The sweetest, fluffiest, prettiest icing ever.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Music Monday

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
Lamentations 3:22-24

I've recently been struck anew by no matter how bad our previous day may have been, God's mercies are new every morning.  I am so very thankful for this.  Starting over fresh is such a wonderful thought to me.  A clean slate to write on once again.  This song begins with one of my favorite hymns, "Great is Thy Faithfulness".  The lyrics are such a balm to my soul and keeps me focused on his goodness, which is truly so amazing.  Waiting on the Lord is not something I am good at.  There are several issues in my life, and I'm sure in your's as well, where waiting is not easy.  However, reading "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him" reminds me that He alone is enough.  Keeping my eyes on Him and his goodness, will help me wait.

What are you waiting for?  How do you let the Lord help you wait?  Let me know!

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