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.