Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Gift

Almost every year we send out a letter with our christmas cards that serves as an "update" on our family. In keeping with my hearts challenge of making Christmas less busy and more simple... that won't be arriving in your mailbox this year. If an update is what you're craving, then go back through the older posts here (scroll all the way down) and read about what's been going on with the Gray's this year. This Christmas my "letter" is a little different.

We bought a cute little advent calendar this year. It's wooden and it has all the little doors that you open with treats inside for the boys. According to them, it's something they've "always wanted". Funny... I never knew that, and they've never mentioned it before. Anyhow, everyday we read scripture before opening the door. The other day I was reading out of the book of Luke where the angel comes to Mary to tell her that she will be bearing a baby.... this baby being the baby Jesus. As I was reading, a HUGE lump formed in my throat, and I was quickly reminded that EVERY time I read this passage, I cry. I cry because I think back to the emotions I felt when I was told that I was going to have a baby. What joy flooded my soul!! I cry because Mary must have felt this 100 times MORE! She was not just pregnant, she was pregnant with our Savior! I cry because my mommy heart hurts for what Mary had to endure as she watched Jesus be brutally beat before dying on the cross... for me.

I hear (over and over) there's a recession going on. People aren't shopping as much. Real estate has been deeply affected. There are too many out there without jobs this Christmas. The obvious thing to me is, God's love for our country hasn't changed. Jesus still saves. The gift that was given on that first Christmas is still the same. It is a gift to the entire world... A gift waiting to be received by many. It's the gift that never stops giving. It is my wish that this year I can be a vessel through which others experience the gift of God's unconditional love and care over our lives.

We pray for our friends and family members every day. We wish you a joy filled, peaceful and memorable Christmas and many blessings to come in 2009!


Jason, Tami, Lucas Colby and Caleb

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (FINALLY!)

Christmas greetings to you all!

This past weekend we got our first snow of the season. Beautiful snow... BIG flakes falling slowly from the white sky. What a gift it has been too. It's been a cozy weekend with lots of baking and movie watching. These are the days that create long lasting memories. I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!

More Christmas greetings to come later in the week...

Monday, December 8, 2008


Some days I have an overwhelming sense to share what I have discovered through my daily devotions. Today is one of those times. The house is pretty peaceful this morning. The boys are involved in "before school activities", there is a cozy fire going in the wood stove, and my cup of coffee is at arm's length. Mmmmm... life is good.

The page that I opened up to in my devotional was titled:

"Too Busy?"

Isn't that a perfect question for the month of December? The word ' busy' is one that is commonly used during this month in which we are SUPPOSED to experience PEACE. We rush around trying to pack in everything that NEEDS to be done, as well as everything that we WANT to do... right? I am challenging myself this year. What's funny is the fact that I had already prayed about this challenge and decided to embark BEFORE reading today's devotion. The Lord knew I would need reminders, didn't He?

This Christmas I am going to slow things down a LOT! The shopping is basically done since we decided to cut down on who we were buying for and how much we were buying for the boys. I sell homemade fudge and peanut brittle at my husband's office every Christmas. That project is almost done, and that in itself is a miracle! I'm usually filling orders until Christmas Eve!! I forewarned everyone that I would only be doing pre-orders this year though... so they got their orders in early. We put one special Christmas event on the calendar (it's actually an all day thing, but that's just it... it's ONE day instead of all over the calendar). The kids are excited about this "Christmas Spectacular" (that's what we're calling this event day) and they've made no mention of feeling at all cheated. We're not having a party this year... that cuts out a HUGE amount of stress! I'm not doing a Christmas letter to put inside each Christmas card I send out. Instead, we're sending out cards with the blog address and I'll have something special for everyone here by the end of next week. There's more, but these are a few examples of how we're creating peace in THIS house during the season instead of creating stress and frustration.

Elisabeth Elliot quoted this as part of my devotion:

"Frustration is NOT the will of God.
There is time to do anything and everything that God WANTS us to do."

Not everything that we put on ourselves is stuff that God WANTS us to do. I'm being challenged to remember that. It's not an easy challenge, but is is a challenge that I believe God wants us to believe in and live out. I pray today for peace to prevail in my home and in my heart. I also pray that you, too can find this peace and love that is offered to us unconditionally by the Savior who was born on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

She's Coming Home SOON!

This post is for my little sister who will be home for Christmas in 14 DAYS!!!! I'm so excited! :0) She's been gone since August, but it has seemed like a whole lot longer. I can't wait for the opportunity to just hang out together and share some special "girl times". I know she's enjoying herself out there in Philly, but we've sure missed her here at home. On the days when I'm not whining about missing her, the boys are all whining about it.

Auntie... we can't wait to see you and deliver LOTS of big hugs in person. We love you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankfulness... It's Not a Season

I received a fantastic reminder at church this week.

I think it's pretty safe to say that most of us walk around everyday forgetting to be thankful for what we have... what surrounds us. I love the Thanksgiving holiday. I love the colors of Thanksgiving, I love the gorgeous fall weather and who DOESN'T love the yummy food that comes with the season? Is that what it is really about though? Of course not. Most of us started learning that at a very young age. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for our blessings.... EVERYDAY!

The message that I received at church this week reminded me that Thanksgiving is NOT a season. It should be a part of our hearts continuously. If we are thankful for what we have, instead of always wanting MORE, then we are content. Being content brings joy and ultimate happiness. Thankfulness is an attitude from the heart. It's NOT filling up a grocery cart with a turkey and all the trimmings and worrying about what your table centerpiece should look like this year. Being thankful means feeling gratitude for the family that shares life with you everyday, NOT worrying about who will be at the Thanksgiving table and who has chosen NOT to be this year. Giving thanks should be missional. It should be something that we wear so that others can actually notice a difference in our spirit, because the Holy Spirit lives in us.

It was a powerful reminder. One that I pray I can hold onto and put into some serious practice. I am thankful for so many things... too many to list. However, here are just a few that top my list:

1. My Savior. He brings me peace like no other person/thing can. His love is so unconditional and sweet. I'm so grateful for the fact that He is the Head of this house.

2. My husband and these three very spirited, beautiful boys. They bring an unmeasurable amount of joy and pleasure into my life EVERYDAY!

3. My home and the beauty that surrounds me here.

4. My extended family. Their support and genuine love mean the world to me.

Today and always ~ What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Green Eggs and Ham

We are celebrating in our house tonight! I didn't know if it would EVER happen, but our sweet Caleb has finally decided that he WANTS to read, and tonight he read the whole book 'Green Eggs and Ham' ... BY HIMSELF!!! I wish that I would have had my camera right there and ready when he read that last word. The expression on his face was absolutely priceless and I will NEVER forget it. Caleb is my last one... The last in this house to learn to read. He was by far the most difficult, but miracles do happen... this is proof! I am so proud of him right now. He has worked long and hard on this, and I can see now that he has a genuine desire to read more. It doesn't get much more exciting than this.

Caleb... you hold the stars in your hands now. The world is out there for you to explore and discover in ways you never have before. I love you and I'm so very proud of you and this HUGE accomplishment!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fall is My Favorite!

This time of year is so unbelievably GORGEOUS! It's like a canvas around here... One that's been fantastically painted by our Creator for us to marvel at. Every morning I do just that. I look out these windows and I'm so grateful for the beauty that I'm surrounded by. The trees are every color, there's new green moss growing on the trunks of the oak trees, and the sky even seems to have a golden tint to it. The air is crisp and it smells sooooo good!

The boys enjoy their time outside even more since it's no longer an oven out there. They build their forts, ride their bikes, play soccer and baseball and kneel at the creek in front searching for evidence of new water life. Soccer season is now over for us, so we have a break from organized sports until baseball starts again in February. My boys welcome this break. I'm glad that they aren't the kind that needs constant involvement. They enjoy their sports, but they also enjoy eachother and all the simplicity that life has to offer when you slow down.

I was doing my devotional last night and I came across this:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, Oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

I pray this morning that every thought that crosses my mind is one that makes my Father smile. I pray that the words that come from my mouth, as well as the words that appear here... in this journal of life... are ones that are pleasing to Him. I pray that God can view me, from the inside out, in the same way that I view this beautiful day that He has made...

A canvas made to behold.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Risky Business

I am about to take a very big risk. Those who know me know that I AM NOT a risk taker... so this is BIG for me. I'm also not one who enjoys talking politics. I remember witnessing family members getting into some pretty enormous political "debates" (more like borderline fist fights) at the dinner table when I was a child. I think partly because of this, I avoid talking politics most of the time. However... as many people do... I feel passionate about this year's election. Maybe not even because I love one candidate's ideas more than the other. I feel a need to share what's on my heart, politically speaking.

I just feel SO strongly that this man was chosen.

November 4th, 2008... a day that God has known about LONG before any of us did. He knew who our candidates would be and He knew who our next president would be. He knows the needs of our country. The biggest need cannot be met through ANY one person. The biggest need is JESUS. There are plenty of christian people out there right now who think our country is "going down" now because Barack Obama was elected our next president. I have listened to people speak to me about the results with a voice of panic. My question is... What happened to feeling confidence in the fact that God knows all of our days? He knows what lies before us and how every situation will be handled, right?

I am not feeling any panic over this. I have some conservative views, but I want to have MORE compassion because that's what WE ARE CALLED to have. I want to have compassion on my country and the many people out there who don't feel the blessings that I feel every day. I want to have compassion on this man who will be leading our country and his family. They have had to listen to christian people speak such ugliness about them... calling them things that they are not, accusing them of ideas that NONE of us can say are ABSOLUTELY true. We (as christians) are supposed to be the people who are the feet, hands, eyes and ears of Jesus. How does having such a poor attitude about one person (it really doesn't even matter WHO that person is, right?) exemplify this?

More than anything, I will be on my knees praying for our president and for our country. If anyone asks me what I think about the election, I will be brave and tell them my thoughts. I will tell them that this man was chosen. He was chosen by the highest authority and that authority has great things planned for the lives of the Obamas ... and even greater things for ALL OF US in this nation.

I love this song by Brandon Heath. It is my own personal anthem right now, and I pray that it becomes the anthem of many in the days, months and years to come.

"Give me YOUR heart, Jesus."

For clarification...

The reason I believe I'm taking a "risk" in this post is because as a christian, I have been made to feel/think that christian people ONLY think conservatively. I know that even some of my closest friends and family will be shocked to find out that that's not where my heart is. If you want to read more about this subject from an EXCELLENT christian author, I encourage you to visit Donald Miller's blog. Read his post that he wrote on the 4th. It's incredible reading!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Something Beautiful

I've been inspired. A new "blogger friend" recently had a post where she asked the question...

"What's beautiful to you?"

After giving it much thought, I commented back on what I thought was beautiful. I don't always comment on the blogs I read. This time, I was glad that I did, because I have reflected back to these thoughts many times this week. It's easy to get caught up in the business of life, isn't it? It's even easier sometimes to let the thoughts of everything that's NOT beautiful (like my boys' bathroom) take over our brains.

I'm glad that I gave myself a few moments to think about what's beautiful in my life. God blesses us. He blesses us every day, and in ways that sometimes go unseen unless we really stop to think about it. I pray that you can find the time to stop here... think for awhile, and jot it down. Even if you've never commented before... put it out there. I can almost promise you that you'll think on it and be blessed by it for days to come.

What's beautiful to you?

Oh... I almost forgot to share with you what's beautiful to ME! To name just a few...

1. Witnessing my boys working diligently on their school work.
2. The smell of fresh coffee first thing in the morning while the house is still quiet. Of course, the taste of it on my tongue too!
3. Watching my boys explore and play outside. Their creative juices work best out there. :0)

Be blessed by everything BEAUTIFUL ~

Monday, October 27, 2008

Out of the Mouths...

Every now and then I like to post the funny little things that the boys say around here. During this past weekend, they had a lot to say. Here's just a taste...

As we were watching 'Deal or No Deal' the other night, Caleb and I were snuggling on the couch. Out of nowhere Caleb says:

"Mom, how come God doesn't talk to me?"

Me: "Honey, God DOES talk to you. You have to be still and quiet most of the time in order to hear Him. You know that little voice that you hear every once in awhile? It's usually telling you what's right and what's wrong, right?

Caleb: "Yes... I hear that voice sometimes."

Me: "Well, that's God talking to you, Caleb."

After a long pause, Caleb says this with a big sigh...

"Wow... God talks to ME a LOT!"

This next short conversation took place in the car on the way home from the grocery store.

Caleb: " How do you survive in a war?"

I'm preparing to give him a long, somewhat uncomplicated answer, but Colby beat me to it. He says with this kinda "Duh" tone of voice...

"You duck!"

These boys of ours make me laugh so hard! :0)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Wish

I am one who is inspired by music... A LOT! The other day I heard a song that I hadn't heard in awhile (even though it's one of my favorite songs). Every time I hear it, my eyes get a little teary. The song is called 'My Wish' and it is by Rascal Flatts. The lyrics speak volumes! In a nutshell... it's a glimpse into my heart on what I feel for my boys. Naturally, I thought it would be an awesome idea to record my thoughts here today...

My boys are CRAZY! They have so much life in them. They have two speeds... awake and asleep. Recently, one of their favorite things to do has become climbing trees. They climb our trees, they climb other people's trees. We were over at some friends for lunch on Sunday and after the boys were finished eating, they went right outside and started climbing trees. Our friends house is close to the road and they have some pretty amazing trees right there by the road. As I looked out the window and saw my boys up in those trees with cars driving underneath them, I couldn't help but be reminded of that scene from 'The Sound of Music' with the Von Trapp children singing while hanging from the trees!

My wish for them is that life will always be as simple and fun as climbing a tree. I know in my heart that that won't always be, but a mom can make wishes, and more than that... a mom can pray. I pray for my boys continually. I have done that since the day they were born and I started to recognize specific things to pray for each of them. All three of them are so different from each other, with different needs. They are all boys though, and they will all become men. They will have pressures put upon them that I have never felt or had to deal with. I think it's sometimes harder for men to keep their lives simple. Competition is something boys are just born with and it follows them through life. I pray that my boys become confident in who they are, who God created them to be. I pray that their purpose is clear to them. I feel that with those things, confidence and clear purpose, life for them WILL be simpler and yes... even FUN!

There's a line in this song that goes something like this:

"... And while you're out there gettin' where you're gettin' to, I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too. Yeah, this is my wish."

So, boys... mom's right here wishin' everything good in life for you. Now... go out there and show the world the "warmth of those beautiful smiles".

Oh, and here's to climbin' trees...

I love you ~

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Miss My Sis!

Some of you know that my sister is on the east coast getting her master's degree. Some of you may not even know I have a sister. Let me introduce her to you...

My sister is sweet.
My sister is eleven years younger than me, but you would never guess it!
We are very opposite of each other... she says poe-tae-toe... I say poe-tah-toe. That doesn't seem to get in our way though.
My sister is crazy!
My sister is probably the most creative person I know.
She is smart, yet not afraid to learn more.
My sister has a gigantic heart and she would save the world if she could!

I miss my sister. I'll see her at Christmas, but that seems so far away when a part of my heart is way over there in Pennsylvania.

Love you, T'riss.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In The Potter's Hands

Last night we went to an INCREDIBLE church service!

It was a Wednesday.

It was October 8th, 2008.

It was a day that our Lord has known about since "we" came to be.

One of the many things that made this church service so incredible was the fact that it was such a last minute ordeal. A flyer landed in my hands (received from a neighbor that barely speaks to us... or even waves to us for that matter) on Tuesday night. The flyer was an announcement about a special church service being held up in town. A ministry called "Potter's Field" was the highlight. I had just heard about them from a friend just the week before. I had never heard of this ministry until just last week! The seed was planted in my head, and when the flyer landed in my hands... I knew that God was working here.

There were HUGE blessings that were received last night. Blessings that opened up a part of me that has been closed for so long. As I was sitting there just letting the Holy Spirit speak to me I was overwhelmed with a sense of being FREE! Free to love, free to forgive, free to let God be God. I literally FELT the healing that was taking place in that gymnasium last night. Not just my own healing, but the healing of many. The healing of an entire community! In past years, I have felt a little confined in this small community that we live in. It's a beautiful place, but I've just never felt like it was "home". Last night as I looked around and saw these people and as I experienced this spiritual journey WITH them, I felt like God was telling me,

"Daughter, this is your home. This is your place. Bloom here... where I have planted you."

Do you even understand how GOOD that feels? After almost eight years of living somewhere that I have been trying to get out of... I actually feel like I'm finally home. I'm on that wheel. I'm spinning 'round and 'round and God is forming me. It is only He that sees the finished product. This is only the beginning though.

This man (Mike Rozell) is a potter. He creates beauty with dirt. He takes something so plain, so simple and so gritty and molds it into an incredible piece of art. He uses this area of ministry to speak to people about how we are the clay in the "Master Potter's" hands. We are not finished when we think we are. We are a continual piece of artwork. The catch is... we have to LET HIM do His work.

I am a piece of clay. I am that big glob of gritty dirt that is everything BUT perfect. But... God sees beauty in me. He sees where I've been and He sees where I'm going.

My life is but a grain of sand here. I want to be available. i want to be open for whatever God has chosen for me... as well as what He will choose for me in the future. I want to be pliable. I do NOT want to be resistant. I want to stop the struggle that I so easily fall into whenever everyday life and the decisions we make affect me in a negative way.

I want to become something beautifully crafted by my Potter's hands.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Glorious Design

It has just been "One of those days". We all have them, right? As I've been wiping away the tears today and my heart has been so heavy, I'm reminded now of these things...

God's design is so simple.

God's design is not meant to always be understood.

God's design does NOT need explanation, because He's the one who formed us, and only He knows each and every one of our days.

God's design is never ending.

God's design is perfect.

God's design is glorious, and I can rest in that knowledge.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wisdom on Eye Boogers

I can't help myself... if my boys knew I was posting this, they would NOT be happy, BUT... a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, right?

So, the other night I turned the baby monitor on by my bed after I put the boys to bed. I don't always have it on anymore. I usually use it when one of them is sick or something like that. Anyhow, sometimes I've been known to use it so that I can listen to the funny conversations that they have when they lay their heads down at night. The topic of conversation was... eye boogers. You see, Colby and Caleb have bunk beds. Colby likes to sleep in the morning and Caleb generally gets up kinda early. Colby had a new theory to share with his brother in order to get him to sleep longer. This is the dialogue that I heard...

Colby: "Caleb, do you get those crusty, boogery things in your eyes in the morning?"

Caleb: "Yes."

Colby: "Okay, so I have an idea. If you have those in your eyes in the morning, DON'T pull them out!!! If you leave them in, you can close your eyes and go back to sleep. If you pull them out, then it's impossible to go back to sleep. Okay?"

Caleb: "Alright, I'll try, but I might forget."

It's obvious to me that Colby has tried this, and it's worked for him. Anyone else want to 'fess up to having this knowledge???

Just FYI... either Caleb DID forget, or this theory doesn't work for him. Colby's brain is on to new ideas to get his brother to stay asleep in the morning. :0)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Better Together

This post is for my husband, with whom I will be celebrating sixteen years of marriage this Friday.

Beautiful. That's the best word I can muster up that describes what we have. I know it's a simple word... one that's used a lot. I do not use it lightly here though. We have been together for nineteen years, and married for sixteen. In that amount of time, we have weathered many storms. The storms have been rough... but they have also been beautiful. The storms are what have matured us. They are the reason why my love keeps growing stronger for you, hon'. God never tells us exactly what he's going to give us. He knows what we can handle, and He knows what our needs are. He has always provided those needs, in every storm. He will continue to bring us that rainbow... beautiful, isn't it?

Our love has brought us this family. They make our lives sweeter. Every day is a mystery when we open our eyes for the first time. We never know what the day will hold. At the end of the day though, we have three miraculous boys to squeeze as we tuck them in for the night... then we have each other. It really is a beautiful thing!

It doesn't matter what we're doing, as long as we're doing it together. I love what we have now, and I look forward to all that we will have in the days ahead of us. The experiences that we have shared have made us who we are, and that will continually change. There is something that won't change though... the fact that I'm madly in love with my husband, the man that God chose to be my partner through life.

We are two who share one heart... we are better together.



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Colby!

So... the last of the summer boys' birthday bash has arrived. Colby turns 9 years old on Sunday. WOW! It's another one of those shockers for me. I can't believe he's already NINE! Of course, any of you who know him well would guess that he's a 49 year old stuck in a 9 year olds body. He's always been a little that way though... it's what makes him Colby!

Colby is so fun to talk with. He has always had this gift of tossing big words into conversation. Most of the time, it all makes sense too. He enjoys talking about everything from exotic cars (he's already saving money in his piggy bank for a Porsche) to relational issues (like reasons why his little brother behaves the way he does). He comes up with solutions to problems like it's no big deal. He would make a GREAT supervisor some day! Some people think he'll go into law school since he likes to argue his case (and he usually wins). We'll see... whatever God chooses for him, he'll be good at what he does.

As I look back in my journals and think about specific areas to pray about for Colby this year, these are the things that come to mind:

1. Prayer for new friendships. Since Colby isn't involved in organized sports up here, he doesn't have as many friends as his brothers. We are praying that this year that changes.

2. Prayer for Colby as he makes new decisions about what to be involved in. He has decided that gymnastics competition team isn't right for him, and we are supporting this idea. We pray that he finds something new to be involved in that gets him really excited!

3. Prayer that Colby can relish in the season of childhood. He tends to want to speed up his childhood so that he can do "adult things". We all know the importance in just being a kid (you only get to do it once). We pray that Colby soon understands this importance too.

This little man of ours is so full of life and love. His character is strong, yet so gentle.

We are blessed by you, Colby! Happy birthday!

PS. The picture of Colby in the tree has a story. In a "nut-shell", we had a bit of an ant problem one morning. Colby remembered a conversation that he had with my mom's neighbor about insects in the house being a problem because of woodpeckers. Caleb was very upset on this morning because he was the one who encountered the ants as they were crawling up his body as he was getting food for the dog. Colby came to his brother's rescue. He took it upon himself to take his bow and arrow and climb the tree so that he could snatch a few woodpeckers off of the house. He waited very patiently in that tree for the woodpeckers to come... and that they did.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Diving For Frogs!

Friday night we went out for pizza and then decided to go on a hike around the pond a couple of miles from our house. As some of you may already know, California is so dry right now. The pond was more like a puddle! It was very marsh-like with LOTS of mud for the boys to enjoy and explore... and that they did! The first thing they did when we got there was run down to the mud and plunge themselves into it. Caleb was wearing a pair of Crocs and he lifted his feet up and left his shoes behind in the thick of it.

There were hundreds of "just graduated from polywog-hood" frogs leaping from the mud into the water at the sound of these four giggling boys (one was a friend) frolicking the banks. The boys were thrilled at the sight of them and couldn't wait to get their hands on them! Jason and I were at the top and since it was kinda dusky, we could only see bits and pieces... but what we heard just made us roar with laughter. We would hear "Ohhhhh... I think I got one. Oops... he's not moving. Oh no, I think he's dead." Other things like... "Dude, your mom's gonna be sooooo mad. Look at all the mud on you!" It was truly HILARIOUS!!!!

Boys are so much fun. When I was growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a mommy. I always pictured myself with boys and girls (maybe two of each). I NEVER would have guessed that God had THREE boys planned for me. Even my mom says she can't believe it! What an honor though. They bring me so much joy and laughter. I love to just sit and watch them. They will be out in the back building forts and I love to watch their brains think. The things they come up with and the ways they show their creativity are so different from me... it's fascinating. They are men in little boys' bodies.

Coming home from the pond the other night, I was still laughing about the dialogue that was taking place there. I was relishing the moment. I was FULL of gratitude for these adventurous, crazy boys of mine. I was literally lost in the moment when we pulled into the driveway... only to find out that we had a loose frog in the van. Time for the adventure to start all over...

PS. There will be a picture, so if you have read this without the picture, please check back. It will be worth it! :0)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Caught in the middle

To quote a favorite song of mine...

"Somewhere between the hot and the cold.
Somewhere between the new and the old.
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be...
Somewhere in the middle you'll find me.

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who I'm meant to be...
Somewhere in the middle you'll find me.

Just how close can I get, Lord
to my surrender- without losing all control?

Fearless warriors and the picket fence
wreckless abandonment wrapped in common sense
deep water faith in the shallow end
and we are caught in the middle.

With eyes wide open to the differences
A God we want and a God who is
But would we trade our dreams for His...
or are we caught in the middle?"

The song goes on. The lyrics are AMAZING! Without fail, every time I doubt myself or any part of my life... I play this song and He brings me back. He brings me back to His arms. He brings me back home.

This weekend was FULL of gifts! We had dinner with some friends Friday night and that was truly a gift. I shared a post with you all last week about feeling "empty" at the start of our school year. I asked for prayer and ideas. I immediately felt your prayers... and the ideas came flowing into my own head. My first idea was one that I shared with my good friend, Tina, Friday night after dinner. We talked about a lot of things, but the main idea was one of just being overwhelmed. Time to bring back the idea of simplicity, Tami. I could save a lot of time and grief if I just took the time to go back and read my own posts, right? Anyhow, our conversation (Tina and I) was a HUGE blessing and I left feeling like I had just been to a homeschooling refresher course! Thanks, Tina. We really need to make time for eachother more. :0)

The boys went to Grandma and Grandpa's Saturday night and I had the opportunity to spend the ENTIRE night with my husband... UNINTERRUPTED! It was a beautiful thing. We had dinner together, strolled, got coffee, took a little drive and had the BEST conversations about the past, present and future. I don't know about you... but I really get excited when I get the chance to daydream about the future with my best friend. What's better is daydreaming about it together... and verbalizing it all.

In the midst of receiving these gifts of conversation and time with people I love and care a lot about, I remembered the lyrics to this song by Casting Crowns. I genuinely feel like I have been caught in the middle. I have experienced "deep water faith in the shallow end" and I have most DEFINITELY felt like I was this person that I have never been before. I viewed that as a bad thing. I kept wondering...

"what's wrong with me?"

Nothing is WRONG with me! God is working in me! He's still molding me into who I'm meant to be. The person I am today will not be the same tomorrow or the next day. What an incredible challenge it is for me to see this, resist the temptation to fight it and learn about the experience of it all while at the same time teaching my children about this process. WOW!

There are a few things in life I feel so strongly about. One, my God IS the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Circumstances around us change, we change, those we love change... but HE doesn't. There is great comfort in that, isn't there? Two, God has SO MUCH planned for me, my husband and these three handsome boys. We don't know these plans yet, but that's not the important part. The important part is that we remain willing to follow. Last, but certainly NOT least... I know that during this season of life, these boys are where they are supposed to be. I am where I'm supposed to be. We are at home... learning together. We aren't learning just reading, writing and arithmetic. We are learning about life. We are learning about loving others, respecting others and following the voice of God.

My three sons are treasures. They are treasures given to us by God, their maker. God is molding THEM each day into who THEY are meant to be. I'm so thrilled that I get to be a part of that! I'm also thrilled to have friends and family who travel this road with us and pray with us.

Today I'm feeling full again. I'm feeling full of grace that has been given to me. I'm feeling full and refreshed in spirit. I'm so thankful for my God who never changes... even when I am caught in the middle.

Monday, August 25, 2008

School has started

It's only August, but according to the school calendar that I get from the charter that we home school through... school has officially started. That big yellow bus stops in front of my house every morning as a reminder. A reminder of many things...

A reminder of the privilege that it is to teach my boys in our home with the freedoms that many don't have.

A reminder that my boys are growing so fast and before I know it, they will be driving themselves all over the place (hopefully NOT up and down Foresthill Rd.).

A reminder that I need to ask others for prayer concerning this school year.

My heart is tired as we start this school year. That has never happened before. I have always started the school year with excitement and anticipation over what is to come. Right now though.... I feel empty. At first I questioned that maybe it was time to send the boys off to school. I spent a great amount of time praying about that though, and I genuinely don't feel released to do that. Once again, this struggle that I'm having is part of a bigger picture. I feel like my life right now is just a puzzle. The pieces are scattered out on the table. As I stare at the pieces, nothing makes sense, BUT... that overwhelming sense of knowing that God sees the finished "portrait" keeps me going. I do find comfort in that.

I'd love any ideas any of you might have concerning getting my school year off right. Have any of you other home schooling friends (and recent "blog friends") struggled with starting the school year off with a stinky attitude? What helped you? I'd LOVE any advice (big or small) you want to share... and, of course... your prayers.

I know God is in this. He challenges me in ways that He knows will get my attention.

My attention is yours, Father. Please show me the light to the path on which I'm to follow... with a heart that is willing and above all else, excited!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Baby Turned 7!!!!

So hard to believe, but it's true. How does this happen? Just yesterday I was holding this sweet baby boy and smelling the yumminess of infant-hood. Today I think about this same boy's basket of dirty smelly laundry that beckons me from a corner of his room!

Caleb Ross certainly completes us. He makes us laugh with the things that he says and does, and he continues to be the one that still loves to crawl up on his mama's lap and twirl my hair and "snuggle". Even though he seems to be the most independent of "the bunch", he's also the one who has been known to ask us if he can live with us forever. He still LOVES working hard on anything outside and specifically construction. I have been assured that he will build me my dream house someday (with his own separate living quarters I suppose) FOR FREE!

My prayers for Caleb have always been unique. He has such a strong personality (he always has... since the first moment I laid eyes on him). I have always known that he was created that way for very specific purposes. It is my duty as his mom to pray that his strengths will be used for good. In my journals, there are pages and pages of prayers for my boys. I consider it an honor to pray for them in specific ways and see how God works in their lives. I have seen this many times already in Caleb's life.

These are the specific prayers that we (Jason and I) will be praying for Caleb this year. We would love to have you join with us!

1. Prayer for his strengths to be used for good as he continues to learn in school (especially with reading).
2. For physical protection of his body as he continues to be a very active outdoorsman and soccer player.
3. Prayer for confidence in his character.

Happy birthday sweet Caleb! You are very loved...

**** NOTE ****

As an example of what I'm talking about when I say that Caleb says things that make us all just chuckle...

One of his chores is to empty the clean silverware from the dishwasher. This afternoon he did that chore, but when I called him back to the dishwasher because there was still a wooden spoon and a pink spatula in there, he simply stated...

"Mom, I don't do pink-ware OR wood-ware. My job is to do the SILVER-WARE!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Simple Things

The past few weeks have been the highlight of our year! Being involved in so many things has it's rewards, but the simple things in life are what bring us the most joy. We had an amazing time of enjoying each other, reflecting upon God's goodness and setting new priorities for our family.

It all started with a camping trip to Morningstar. Morningstar has become a summer tradition. I'll admit... the thought of going this year without our camping trailer WAS NOT appealing! I actually told Jason that I thought I'd let the guys have their own trip and I'd stay home and have "girly time". Of course, nobody liked this idea and they talked me into going. I'm so glad that I did, as they treated me like a princess! I did NOTHING but read all weekend (and enjoy the FABULOUS cooking). I can totally get used to this NEW summer tradiiton!

After our camping trip we were off to Lake Tahoe for Jason's brother's wedding. The weather couldn't have been more beautiful! We soaked in the sun on the beach and visited with family that hadn't been seen in years (some we met for the very first time). Oh... and the boys showed everyone how it's done on the dance floor at the wedding. SO CUTE!!

We were home for about a day and a half before we left for Mendocino for a couple of days. What a beautiful place... So peaceful and romantic. Yes... I did say romantic... even with three boys. That says something! We didn't soak up much sun there as it was pretty foggy and cold, but it was such a nice break. The air was clean and fresh. Everything was green and dotted with flowers of every type and color. We strolled beaches, hiked to lighthouses and played together. It was such a blessing to our souls. There's something about the ocean. You breathe deeper there and whatever "load" you carry is immediately dropped and left in the sand. Our room at The Little River Inn ( I highly recommend this place) was perfect! Outside our room was a deck with two oversized rocking chairs overlooking the ocean. Jason and I cuddled up in those chairs while the boys hung out inside each night that we were there. The boys called it our "date" spot. I felt like it was heaven on earth!

The best part about this time together was that it was just simple. There were no extras. No camping trailers... just a tent. No fancy hotels in Tahoe, just a little cozy room and an entire beach that God put there for us to enjoy. No five star gourmet restaurants in Mendocino, just pizza in our room while cuddling with our boys and each other. The smell of the eucalyptus trees and the ocean air is enough to intoxicate you. It puts you in a state where everything feels good. Life slows down and the faces around you that you see everyday somehow look different.

I'm so thankful for this time that was set aside for us to "refresh". These simple pleasures and moments are priceless, aren't they? I pray that each one of you has the ability to set time aside to enjoy something simple... there's nothing else like it!

** If you've never turned your volume up while checking my blog, now would be a great time! :0)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stay tuned...

HI friends!

I'm overwhelmed with pictures and stories of a couple WONDERFUL weeks of relaxation and precious time with my family. My thoughts are still kinda scattered about the whole thing, but I can say it was GLORIOUS! There will be more to come... so much more. So stay tuned...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Quenching the Thirst

I found this bit of scripture (actually, it found me) last week. It has been spoken to me over and over since. I thought I would share it...

The poor and needy search for
but there is none;
their tongues are parched
with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer
I, the God of Israel, will not
forsake them.
I will make rivers flow on
barren heights,
and springs within the
I will turn the desert into
pools of water,
and the parched ground into
I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the
myrtle and the olive.
I will set pines in the
the fir and the cypress
so that people may see and
may consider and
that the hand of the Lord has
done this,
that the Holy One of Israel
has created it.

~ Isaiah 41:17-20

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Raising Little Chefs and Little Daddies

Isn't it funny how you make plans to do one thing, but then so much MORE happens?

I mentioned in a previous post that I started watching a baby girl three days a week this summer. This was something that I did not go searching for, but something that God brought to me... for so many reasons. I'm learning though, that perhaps the most important reason is so that I can have the awesome opportunity to teach my boys yet one more thing... how to be daddies.

I'm sure you've noticed the many men out there who just don't know the first thing about how to be a dad. They hear their babies crying and think the world is ending. They look at changing diapers as some kind of payment for sinful acts. They sometimes don't even know that babies like to be talked to too, and doing so brings the most precious smiles from their faces. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to have a slam-fest on men here. I'm just being truthful. There are also many GREAT daddies out there (including the one I sleep with every night).

Lucas, Colby and Caleb are learning how to be awesome daddies. They are learning about hearing a baby's cry and knowing what that kind of cry means and what to do about it. We were in the car last week and the baby was crying and Colby let out this loud exasperated expression. He said, "Mom, please tell her to stop crying." I informed Colby that you can't just ask a baby to stop crying. She was crying because she was tired. If you are patient and try not to let the crying bother you, she will go to sleep. Soon after, she did. At home, the boys love to hold her and talk to her. They have even been seen dancing for her in front of her little swing, but you didn't hear that from me. Being that this isn't their little sister, I don't allow them to change the diapers, but I have noticed quite a change in their opinion about that. They used to run into another room every time I had to change her. Now they might even sit next to her and distract her with a song while I'm changing her.

Even though this little sweet thing isn't their sister, they love her like she is. It has been the most precious thing to see them grow and develop in their "man-hood" in this way. It has been a gift!

This summer we have also decided to explore their creativity in the kitchen. It's an idea that they came up with... and I loved it even more. I'd be pretty dumb NOT to, right? After all, I'll have three men cooking for ME soon. They each picked out their own cookbook at Barnes & Noble and paid for it with their own money. Luke's first creation was an awesome sandwich, Colby's first was a trifle (Grandma LOVED getting the phone call asking if he could borrow her trifle bowl), and Caleb's first menu item was a big bowl of caramel corn. They have been consistently in the kitchen since... I LOVE IT!!

I was just thinking yesterday of how good God is. He can take our simple stick figure piece of "art work" and make it something so much more beautiful... a masterpiece! He adds all the little detail that we didn't even know was there to be seen. It's something so amazing and exciting to me. I never even thought of all the good that could come from a couple of small ideas, but God knew because He has a plan... Always.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Believe it... or not.

Today was a great day! It was good to just "be" with family. I actually got to experience some of that laziness that I last talked about here on my blog. We hung out at the pool together and then went on to church and dinner.

In other ways, it was also one of those text book "mom days". We got up this morning and found that we had forgotten to bring in our little kitty from outside last night. She started living outside during the day only a few weeks ago. We bring her in at night because we live in the hills where there are things that can hurt her. This cat has been especially good to Colby. She LOVES Colby! Ever since I can remember, Colby and Rosie have had a sweet time of just cuddling first thing in the morning. Colby has always been the one to feed her, give her water and make sure that all her needs were met. So, finding out that she wasn't around this morning was extremely hard. Of course, we tried to reassure Colby that she was probably fine... just out wandering for awhile. She was sure to be back once we came home from our day out.

We arrived back home tonight only to find no trace of little Rosie. The tears started to flow again, and this time they continued all the way up to the moment that I had finally soothed him to sleep all curled up on my lap. Before he fell asleep we talked and we prayed. I told Colby that sometimes God gives us things that make our faith grow. He kept telling me that there was no way he could go to sleep without knowing where she was at. I told him that he COULD go to sleep if he chose to BELIEVE that God was in control of this. We talked about some of the things in my own life that have brought pain and a sense of being hopeless. I shared how in some of these situations I chose to believe in a God who cares for me... and in some situations I didn't. I told him how much MORE it hurts when you choose not to believe. The tears and sobbing settled and he soon after fell asleep.

As I lay there with him sleeping, I started thinking about how I have been in a similar state recently. It's been easy for me to feel overwhelmed with life and the craziness that takes over lately. It's been even easier for me to just give up and say, "I can't do this anymore! I must have some control over this!" God has heard my heart speaking these words silently for such a long while. Even so, He has continued to pull me in. He has called me home to trust in Him... BELIEVE in Him and what He is going to do in EVERY chapter of my life. I was even reminded of this at church tonight. God does what is needed to get our attention. My attention is His and I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE and TRUST!

I know that Colby (as well as Lucas and Caleb) will have many more opportunities to believe. This is just the beginning. In some ways, I feel this is just the beginning in my own life. I pray tonight that God will strengthen us as we choose to believe... whatever the outcome may be.

** If you wouldn't mind, please pray with us regarding Rosie finding her way back home safely. I know it would mean a lot to Colby to know that others are praying about this with him. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The hazy (anything BUT lazy) days of summer....

I'm still waiting for summer. I'm longing for a few consecutive days of laziness. Days to just get up whenever it feels right... do whatever feels good. Of course, waking up without a thick layer of smoke above me would be an added bonus right now. We have been under this thick layer of smoke for about three weeks now. They are starting to say that this could last until fall. YUCK!! We are praying for a miracle in California... RAIN.

Lucas is in the middle of his all-star tournament. They have won two out of three games. They play again tomorrow... it's supposed to be 108 degrees. Once again... YUCK! Colby also leaves for church camp tomorrow. This is the first time that one of my boys has left home without one of us with him for such a long period of time. He seems to be fine about it... unlike me. That leaves Caleb with nothing special of his own, so I arranged for him to sleep over with a friend. This is his first sleep over with a friend by himself. I haven't told him yet because he's the type that will get so excited that he will ask me every hour, "Is it time now, mommy?"

So here I am again, left to pray about some things as I can feel God working in my heart. The other day I was reading from this wonderful book called 'Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World'. This sentence literally jumped at me right off the page. It said this...

"We've been filled with great treasure for one purpose: to be spilled."

As the activity level around here has been out of control and my cravings for "laziness" have been left un-fed I have been feeling sorry for myself. I've been wondering where the time has gone. When did we get on this roller coaster and when do we get off? I have been second guessing every decision we have made regarding having our boys involved in so much. As I've been praying about this though, I have heard one thing spoken to me over and over again.They are involved in what they were meant for. They have each chosen one thing, and with that they have taken off! In these things, God will use them. When I read this sentence that I quoted above I thought about the fact that these boys of ours are being spilled. They have each been filled with treasures all of their own and these treasures are spilling into the lives of those that surround them.

I am praying today that I have the ability to spill positive things into the lives of my children and others that surround ME. I pray that I am able to take the treasures that God has so carefully and purposely put in me and spill them each day... whether it be a busy day or a lazy (even hazy) day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Afternoon Tea

As mother's we get the sweetest reminders from our children of what life should be. It seems that most of the time, our children have GREAT timing too. I have a perfect example to share...

This week was a very busy week. I have taken on watching a three month old baby girl (hooray for pink in the Gray household!) three days a week. She is a very sweet baby and the boys are LOVING having her around. As mentioned before, Lucas is playing in the all-stars again this year, so that means DAILY practices. Colby is having to be at gymnastics three days a week. All of this in addition to regular meal planning, laundry, and other house maintenance. So... I was relishing the moment of having a sleeping baby one afternoon while the boys were all downstairs watching a movie while trying to keep cool on a summer day. I decided to bake some zucchini bread with some fresh zucchini that I got from a garden up here. I prepared it and put it in the oven to bake while I went on folding laundry. I'm pretty sure the smell of the bread travelled downstairs, because just as it was coming out, Caleb came into the kitchen. He saw the bread and asked if he could have some. I told him it needed to cool first, and so he stood there blowing on it for a good 10 minutes.

As I went ahead and cut into the bread (knowing that it wasn't cool, but I had a VERY anxious 6 year old waiting for a piece), Caleb ran to get two plates. He then looked up at me and asked if we could have tea with our bread. He had remembered a time when we had done this about a year or so ago. I told him "Yes, that's a great idea!"

We were sitting at the dining room table sipping our tea and snacking on our zucchini bread while talking about all kinds of stuff. We talked about the baby, we talked about soccer starting soon, and we talked about how great it will be when we wake up with no smoke in the air (we have had some TERRIBLE fires in California). Caleb took my hand and said...

"Mama, remember this forever. Don't ever put it in the garbage."

Can you imagine the tears I'm choking back at this moment???? Wow... I love being a mom so much! I assured him that I would NEVER forget and then I went on to ask him if he would still come have afternoon tea with his mom when he was grown up. He promised me he would.

I needed this afternoon tea with Caleb more than I even knew I did. God knew though. I'm so grateful that He knows my heart. The rewards of motherhood come in all different forms. My favorite ones though are the simple kind. Those are the ones that aren't forgotten or discarded into "the garbage".

Spend a quiet moment with your kids. You will be glad that you did and YOU WILL BE BLESSED BY IT!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An All-Star eleven year old ~

This week (Monday to be exact) I became the mom of an eleven year old. I'm not sure yet how I truly feel about this, except for the fact that I feel a little older myself. We have been making the transition for awhile now, but it almost seems that Lucas has officially received his "license" to be a pre-teen now that his birthday has come and gone. UGH... here we go!

Luke is such a sweet boy... he always has been. His name means "the light" and that's exactly the way I've felt about him since the day he came into our lives. His heart is made up of everything good. His smile and laugh are contagious. Yes, I love this son of mine.

Lucas made the baseball All-Star team again this summer. At first, I was a proud mama, but also a little bummed out since this would mean that our summer season would be short since there are practices to get him to EVERY day. Today though, I've had a change of heart. He's an eleven year old boy whose favorite thing to do is play baseball. He loves to be with his friends. He's starting to make that separation from family. It's sad... yet I know it comes with this territory. It's hard to be a mom at this stage of "the game". I look at him and I can still see this little bundle that I held in my arms. The bundle that made my dreams reality. I can also see a young man though. A young man who loves Jesus.

So... I pray.

I pray that he continues to grow and develop spiritually. I pray that he always knows how beautiful he is from the inside out. I pray that he always recognizes that this beauty comes from his maker... the one who loves him most. I pray that he seeks out God's plan for his life continually and that his life will be used in mighty ways. I pray for his physical protection as well as the protection of his heart.

I am a mother who is so proud of her boys. I have prayed since the day they were born that I would be the kind of mother that wouldn't hold her children back from life based on my own selfish needs. I think I'm doing an okay job... even when it gets pretty hard to watch them begin to spread their wings. What makes it easier is knowing that I can't experience the proud moments if I hold them back. Those moments are special and priceless to me.

Congratulations Luke... "You're the best Lucas in the whole wide world!"

Friday, June 13, 2008

The happiest place on earth!

A couple of weeks ago we surprised the boys with a trip to Disneyland! They knew we were going down south (to Bakersfield) to see my dad and step mom, but they knew NOTHING about going to Disneyland. Surprises are so much fun, aren't they? They could not have been more thrilled! The last time we were there Caleb was only three and Colby was five. Both of them were too small to ride a lot of the rides (the ones that Dad and big brother Luke liked to ride). This time... they were all three big enough to ride ANYTHING! It was so nice to just get up and go without worrying about strollers and everything else that goes with strollers. It was freedom... redefined! There were many favorites while we were there. Here are just a few...

Lucas : Indiana Jones and Space Mountain
Colby : Indiana Jones and Space Mountain
Caleb : The Parade and Indiana Jones (I especially love the fact that the parade was one of his favorites... such simplicity.)
Jason : Hitting his soft cushy pillow at the end of the day at Embassy Suites and breakfast at Embassy Suites the next morning
Tami : Peter Pan ride and my frozen chocolate covered banana (a MUST for me at Disneyland)

It will probably be awhile before the gates of Disneyland see the Gray's again, but we had a lot of fun and made so many memories!

Until next time Mickey...

Monday, June 2, 2008


I have heard about and experienced a lot about this word... loss. There must be a reason why this word has been such a big part of life lately. I'm not trying to understand the reason this time. I just go with it and pray through it. I'd like to share with you what I've been praying about recently. It is my hope that you will join me in praying about these things too.

First of all, a friend shared a web site with me about a month ago. The address for this web site is Let me just warn you... do NOT go to this site without a lot of time and a big box of kleenex! The site is a blog that is being written by a mother who lost her baby girl in April. I do not know this woman, and yet I feel that I HAVE known her all my life. I encourage you to get to know her as well. It will change who you are today.

She is a stranger... she has experienced loss.

This woman is dealing with her grief in a remarkable way! She is the "good soil" that is talked about in the book of Luke, chapter 8. A seed has been planted in her life. It's a seed that was very much unwanted, and yet she is cultivating it for so much good. Through her loss, so many people have found themselves on their knees (some for the very first time), speaking to a Father who loves them, understands them... knows them MORE than anyone here on this earth. She is grieving while accepting her role in this bigger picture... God's purpose in all of this.

I have a very dear friend that I have known since high school. I met her in our high school youth group at church. She has been through a lot during her life time. I have prayed for her continuously for many years. Although we met in youth group, due to lots of different circumstances... she doesn't allow faith in Jesus to be a part of her life right now. I have faith though... enough for both of us. She is experiencing loss. Loss is not a stranger to her, and because of that, her grief is different. I love her so much and I wish I could carry 100% of this loss for her, but I can't. Truth is... God doesn't want that. As I pray for her now, I feel that He wants to use this loss to bring her "home". Please pray with me.

Pray that her heart will be softened.

Pray that she will hear the whispers of the Father, and feel the warmth of His embrace as He carries her through this loss.

Finally, my sister leaves tomorrow to work at a camp in Hawaii for two months... and then she's off to Philadelphia to pursue her master's degree. My sister has been gone for short amounts of time before. Although I've been bummed out about that, I've never been really sad... until now. My sister is an incredible person who has a heart for God and helping others. I feel honored to know her and call her "sis". I am sad to see her go this time because in my heart I feel that she won't be back this time. She'll be back for visits and holidays here and there... but I don't feel that she will be living close by any longer. God gave her such HUGE wings and she's going out to put them to good use. I'm going to miss her so much! Some people have thought that we couldn't possibly be that close since there are 11 years between us, but quite honestly... they couldn't be any MORE wrong. My sister is one of my closest friends. She is someone that I share pretty much everything with. Please pray for her.

Pray that she is kept safe.

Pray that she is able to use all of her many gifts in ways that glorify her maker.

Pray that all of us who will miss her so much aren't left feeling this huge loss in our lives, but rather a sense of peace about the path that she is taking.

God has purpose in everything. Sometimes it isn't easy for me to understand my circumstances,or the circumstances of those I love, but I'm realizing that it's not always meant for me to understand. Sometimes it's just another way of my Father bringing me in. When I pray, whether it be in quiet solitude or in a noisy car while listening to the words of my Casting Crowns CD (I love this one... it's AWESOME), I find peace and rest. The tears came today as I prayed for my friend and for my sister. They weren't tears of sorrow though.

They were tears of hope.... Tears for what is going to come.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Laughter is mine...

Many times I am stopped in the grocery store, doctor's office, park... wherever... and asked "Wow... three boys! Are they all yours?" I'm always so floored by this question! How brave of a stranger to ask such a thing! After answering their question with a proud "Yes", they always seem to end up with the same look on their faces... pure exhaustion. They go on and on about how busy my life must be and how dirty and loud my house must be. It's funny how most of the time, the thought (for many) of having three boys doesn't bring about positive thoughts, but negative ones instead. I couldn't be ANY happier though! I love my three boys so much. They make me smile, they keep me young... they make me laugh!

My house IS loud, it isn't clean all the time, but it isn't necessarily dirty, and it is most definitely BUSY! I wouldn't have it any other way though. I know someday the noise will be gone and I probably won't be able to sleep anymore. The smudges on the windows will only be made by whatever pet we have at the time and my schedule will be wide open... YUCK!

Jason asked me yesterday what it felt like to celebrate my eleventh Mother's Day. I simply told him... "It's my favorite holiday. I get to celebrate the one thing that I always wanted to be."

I love being a mom. I love the fact that life is never boring. I love that above all else... in spite of life's little tornadoes that get sent your way sometimes... laughter is always mine.

Ways in which my boys have made me laugh lately...

1. Seeing Colby outside doing the watering with nothing on but a pair of swim trunks and cowboy boots. Apparently, the hose has a little leak and it gets him wet. This was his way of preparing for this.

2. When talking about how he LOVES baseball, Lucas was trying to convince his brothers that EVERY boy has a ball and bat because baseball is the most loved sport. At the end of his speech, he added "Oh, except for the kids in Africa. Maybe we should do something about that."

3. Walking through Bath & Body Works with my three boys is such a "treat". Recently though, I couldn't figure out why all of these girls who work there were smiling at me with a different kind of smile. When we walked out, Lucas and Colby informed me that Caleb was winking at all the girls AND blowing kisses! UGH... I probably won't be laughing at this one a few years from now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

TIme for some spring time fun!

I'm totally aware of the fact that the past couple of posts here have been pretty heavy. That's where my heart has been. However, God has truly given me peace in our situation. So now it's time to lighten things up a bit. The past couple of weeks have been full of activities, but most of all... we have been having all kinds of spring time fun! Spring is always a busy time for us. Baseball is in full "swing", the school year is winding down, lots of yard work to catch up on... you get the picture. We added a BIG one this year though. Three weeks ago Colby was invited onto a competition team at gymnastics! We are so proud of him and all of his hard work!! He started team practices this week (six hours of gym time every week). We are a busy family... but a happy family.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


It seems as though these past few months have been a whirl wind at our house! Are we moving? Where are we moving? When are we moving? We really thought we were on the right track with this whole idea of moving. It was an idea that came to us for many different reasons about a year ago. We prayed about it and moved forward with it.

This week, after meeting with a couple of realtors we have discovered that now is NOT the time! The market is even worse than we thought it was, and selling now would be a costly mistake. So... we will wait it out. But it's more than that. There has been a word that has been laid on my heart this week that just keeps resonating... contentment. God has been speaking to me about this a lot this week, and I believe even before this week. I just wasn't listening. I didn't want to listen. I was caught up in the moment of all the "to do's" to get the house on the market. I wasn't just being still in the presence of God. We actually had a teaching at church about this today. It came at a perfect time... just as it usually does. Now it is up to us to exemplify contentment with what we have. Afterall, everything we have was given to us by God. Who are we to try to change any of it in our own power?

God will bless us through HIS plan for our lives. We have been trying to pave our own road for our own "needs" instead of letting God take us down the path that he wants us to be on! I won't lie and say that learning about this news this week has been easy. It's been disappointing. However, I already have a small amount of peace in my heart (that I know will continue to grow) because of the surrendering process that has taken place here this week. I can trust Jesus... that he knows what's best for me, my husband and these three boys that I love so much.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

We need your prayers

It's been a long while since I've updated here. So much of the time I think to myself, "I'd really like to update my blog." As most of you know though, time gets away from us, there's always such a LONG list of other things that NEED to be done, so updating the blog gets shoved aside. Tonight though, I can honestly say that updating the blog is necessary!
We are preparing to put our house on the market once again. We took it off during the holidays. During that time, we refurbished our kitchen cabinets and got new kitchen countertops. The kitchen now looks absolutely beautiful! So, we are now taking the next step and listing it once again. Some of you know first hand how hard it can be on a family to have your house up for sale. Keeping it picked up and clean is a real chore when there are three boys living under your roof. Jason and I try not to obsess about it with the boys. We try to be encouraging and gently remind them of all the benefits that will come from moving off the hill.
The biggest thing that we need prayer about is our ability to cast all of our anxieties over this aside. To lean on Jesus and trust Him and His perfect timing. It sounds so easy, and yet it's not. We need to feel peace about God's will for our lives. We need wisdom and discernment regarding the choices that we make for our future. As I type this, I feel so blessed to know that I have friends and family to pray these things for us. Prayer makes a difference! We feel confident that prayer will make THE difference this time...

Thank you friends... you are precious to us. ~