39

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The last two years have been hell and part of a season of questions for me about life and faith and who I am and what kind of person I want to be and what I want to do with the rest of my life.

This year brought answers so clear that I could not ignore them. Answers in the form of bruises— black and blue marks that were the surface evidence of a decade of toxicity in mine and my children’s lives. Rejection, chaos, turmoil, strife, death, and more rejection. Dysfunction.

When my Mom died, my Savior continually whispered the words of Psalm 46:10.

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These same words are on my heart this morning as I lay here, awake and alone in a silent house, on my birthday, for the first time in over a decade.

But 39 will be a year of answers, too. This time, of the good questions. I feel it so deeply in my soul that resolution and peace are coming, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me and my babies.

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Yesterday, Mason said to me, “Mom, I want to buy you something really special for your birthday. Like a really pretty new dress. Because you are beautiful.”

Peace!

So we went to the mall, and I used birthday money that I would normally have spent on him to let him pick me out a new dress. And it’s perfect.

And I realized that this is the unconditional love I have never had before. It is right here in the palm of my hands in the form of two little miracles.

Mason is the standard for how I should be treated by everyone, especially men, and how I should be honored. And so is Miss Julia. That bar will never be lowered again.

I have also reclaimed my name. There is power in a name. It’s funny, all my Christmas cards are coming in my maiden name already. The transition back should not have been that easy; but it is as if the other name never belonged to me anyway. They never wanted me to have it, and so now I graciously hand it back to them with relief. It was a burden to carry.

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I have also found out how deep my support system is. My family and friends are amazing. In a time when Satan keeps trying to disconnect me, Jesus keeps reassuring me that I am never alone.

This week, when asked by someone about me as a reference, my cousin Steven described me as “an encourager.” I thought that was one of the biggest compliments anyone has ever given me.

It is hard to encourage when you are discouraged, so it is time to shed the layers of hurt and pain and rejection and transform into something more beautiful and Godly.

Restoration and freedom!

So I claim 39 to be a year of greatness and of peace and of growth and of ministry. I claim it to be a year of teaching, because that is what I am called to do. And I claim it to be a year of new opportunities and, most importantly, of love.

Thank you, Jesus, for second chances.

By the way, how can I not be happy when I’ve been given more time with this sweet puppy?! Just look at that beautiful smile!!

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Miss Julia CAROLINE’S 4-Year-Old Well-Child

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Miss Julia CAROLINE has come down with a respiratory infection. Yesterday, after a trip to the dentist (NO CAVITIES!), I picked her up from school with a low-grade fever and upset tummy.

Our doctor went ahead and did her well-child check-up while we were in there.

Miss Julia is 3.5-inches tall (50th-percentile) and 42-pounds (75th-percentile).

She did not get her scheduled shots, because she was already running a fever, so those have to wait. I don’t think Mommy was ready for those either.

Otherwise, Miss Julia CAROLINE is a healthy and vibrant little girl. Dr. Deem even got a Shirley Temple-style performance of “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,” with Mason serving as back-up.

By the way, the outfit she’s wearing above is Penny Candy. I bought it before our separation at Mary Madison’s in Thomasville. It is my new favorite brand– affordable and sassy at the same time!

An Early Visit From Santa

We went to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese’s last night for one of Mason’s little kindergarten friends.

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I was so proud because, while there, a random lady stopped to tell me how polite and well-mannered both Mason and Julia are.

I may not be a perfect mother, but it makes me thrilled to know that the old-fashioned, Southern values I am instilling in them are making an impact for their greater good.

When we got home, we found gifts stacked by our gate from my church friend, Sherry Clark. I cannot believe how God has used others like Sherry, Gerri Gail. Krissy, and Miss Terry to bless us this Christmas season!

Think the kids were excited to see that Santa had made an early visit?

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An Update on Jackson Dogg {Week 7}

I woke up to find Jackson Dogg being sick, and I soon found that he was sick all over the house. Great morning here! Boy, do I need a break. My house needs me to pay attention to it!

Nevertheless, we had our 7-week check-up this afternoon, and she said he was fine throwing up wise . Apparently, he ate something that did not agree with him.

She took an x-Ray of his leg and was pleased with the progress post-infection. One of the breaks is healing really well. The other is on its way. She thinks that he will be about three more weeks in his little cast.

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Take a peak at the snowman on his cast! It is pretty much the most adorable thing I have ever seen.

A big thank you to Drs. Baxley and Purvis and their staff for taking such amazing care of Mommy’s Big Boy!

Prayer Request

While I am over here feeling sorry for myself for something that I will surely survive, one of my best friends from childhood, Sunshine (Hodges) Valler, is suffering from cancer. Again. This time, it is apparently in her blood.

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Please keep Sunshine and her family in your prayers. She is a loving wife and mother and has one of the sweetest souls on this planet.

Thank you for lifting her up. 🙏