The Cardinals {2016}

It’s Little League season, and this Mommy couldn’t be happier! There is nothing I love more in this world than baseball. Mason is super excited to be playing in Tallahassee this year, and he is on the Cardinals, his first experience with coach-pitch “Atom” league.

Mason is a really cool athlete to me. He reminds me a lot of my brother, Mitch, because he is fast and coordinated. Although he writes with his right hand, he plays baseball completely lefty. I’m a lefty but play sports on the right. I think this will pay off for him down the road.

To cheer him on, Miss Julia and I had matching monogrammed shirts made. My friend Rachel is wonderful and sells them through her Etsy shop, Anchors of Grace.

If you are looking for us anytime through May, you can find us at the ball park.

 

The Cost of Discipleship

This past Sunday, our pastor, Dr. Raines, preached a wonderful sermon from Philemon called, “The Cost of Discipleship.”

One of the most profound points that I have heard in a long time was a quote he shared by Dietrich Bonhoeffer which says, “When Jesus calls a person to follow Him, He calls a person to come and die.”

To come and die.

That is heavy stuff. It sent ripples down my spine, as I pondered the question of what I have sacrificed and lost to truly follow Jesus Christ as my personal savior.

I was saved when I was nine, when my best friend Sunshine held my hand and walked me down the aisle in “big church” at Buford Grove Baptist. I was baptized at 17 at precious Ephesus Baptist Church. Yet, the truth is, I did not live my life in prayer, service, study and sacrifice. I just was, and being a so-called Christian was easy.

In the year preceding my Mom’s death, I felt a spiritual calling to grow closer to God. I was moved to pray more and to read more devotionals. I felt the stirring to find a new church home where the kids could grow. I attributed all of this to motherhood and even my failing marriage. My nephew David, a theologian, noticed and asked if I wanted him to counsel me. I know now that God was preparing me for a closer walk with Him through my Mom’s tragic death and my divorce.

I remember one night, several months after Mom’s funeral, and immediately after conflict within our home, lying in bed crying, asking for more. For healing. For peace. For love. For acceptance. I sought God and begged Him for a life more abundant. Only, my words to Him were in the most basic, pathetic pleas of a helpless child.

Soon after, it happened.

I was stripped of a lot. I have been led several times to the book of Job and to 23:10, which reads, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

What has my road back to Christ cost me? During the sermon, I wrote, “my marriage” down on my notes. Whether or not this is true, I can certainly say that my pride was stripped, family and friends were pruned from my life, my financial predicament was terrifying as the security that I had worked so hard to establish was pulled out from under me. I lost my dreams of moving home, and my very identity was and has changed.

I am writing today  to say that it was all worth it. I am not mature in my Christian walk. I still struggle with prayer and reading scripture. I am lazy and back slide. Even drafting this blog post is a challenge, because it is like math to me. I do not feel like I have the “right” words. But I have been restored, even in my name, and I know God has a purpose for me and my family.

And, through it all, not once did God fail to provide. He surrounded me with love and grace during my mourning. He healed my broken heart. He mended the bruises, both internally and externally. My kids never went without one thing– gifts overflowed on holidays when I had little money, food was always abundant. One day, I was worrying over my finances, and a small voice whispered into my heart, not to think about it again. A few days later, a scholarship check arrived at work in my name and in almost the exact amount I had prayed over. When all hope was gone, our house sold out of nowhere; and my dream rental was handed over to me. I call our new place Grace Land, because I know that God has put us there to heal. The gifts and cards and messages of encouragement were always little miracles and from the most unexpected sources.

God is so good, all the time.

I am not perfect in any way, and I am like a small child learning His ways. I still say things I should not sometimes and let my insecurities get the best of me. I do not always want to give up control. But I do know now that I have a purpose in His service, and am grateful to raise my children, not just to know His ways, but to intimately know and love Jesus as our Savior.

One of the most profound changes I have noticed in myself is a craving for spiritual songs. It began when my then student, Meagan Revell and her brother, a FSU football player, took the time to write me a complete list of “songs of inspiration” when my Mom died. While I still listen to country and pop music, I have become increasingly dissatisfied, even put off by a lot of it. Instead, I seek peace through praise. We play Bethel or Hillsong United Pandora in the mornings getting ready and on the way to school. It has made such a difference in our attitudes.

I am new to the Praise and Worship genre, so if you have any favorites or recommendations, I would love them.

My friend, Ms. Anne Hebrock, sent me the above song, “It Is Well” by Kristne DiMarco and Bethel Music last year when I was at the height of my struggles. It is now my favorite.

 

 

 

 

Community Service {Love Tallahassee}

The kids and I are so blessed by our new church. It is huge and very different that what we are used to; however, we have been welcomed with open arms. The kids beg to go to Sunday services and are now even asking to go on Wednesdays, too.

To meet people, I signed us up for a recent church-wide community outreach, called “Love Tallahassee.”

We were assigned to a small group visiting a local nursing home. We met at the church and prayed over our service, then dispersed to our areas. Our friends, SG and J, tagged along with us and helped me keep track of Mason and Miss Julia.

Miss Julia has been with me to nursing homes before. We sang Christmas carols with our old church every year. Mason had not, and he is very tender-hearted. I was so impressed with how gentle and kind he was with the people we met!

We met one lady who was turning 100! She adored Mason and he let her love all over him.

We only stayed for an hour or so, but the visit was amazing. We sang hymns and talked to the patients. They were so grateful to see the children. Just watching them smile as we walked around humbled me. I am glad that the kids get these opportunities to serve, and I want them to continue that habit all their lives.

The Frog Prince

I am so proud of Mason!

This week, his drawing won his class’ t-shirt design contest. It will be on their t-shirts for the upcoming “Fairytale Know-Down.”

He told me that he first drew a dragon being stabbed in battle from Maleficent but his teachers did not think that girls would want to wear that. So, he settled for The Frog Prince.  I thought his tale of woe at being redirected was adorable. Boys!

Mason never ceases to amaze me. I am overwhelmed with love.  He has been drawing since he was about two. He has sketch books full of flags, football helmets and team logos, but I did not realize that he is as detailed as he is at other images. I am grateful that the kids’ school encourages the arts. He loves his art and music classes and is flourishing at both.

Way to go, Mason! I have ordered shirts for the whole family!!

 

Pinewood Derby {2016}

Mason’s dad is very kind and has dedicated his Thursday nights to Cub Scouts. I loved scouts growing up and it was something my Mom and I really put a lot of time into. She helped my troop a lot, and I have fantastic memories with her, so I am very glad that Mason is getting the same experiences with his Daddy. I was not sure he would like it, but Mason gets so excited about all of his scout functions and cannot wait until they go on their big camping trip next month.

He recently competed in the Pinewood Derby and won a prize for “Best Scout Theme.”

My friend took these pictures and sent them to me so that I would be able to save them for Mason. He is very competitive, so I am extremely glad he won an award. This picture cracks me up! Just look at the concentration on their little faces.

Congratulations to Mason and all of his scout buddies. These little guys are all close friends and, hopefully, will form life-long bonds like I did with my fellow Girl Scouts.

 

 

Easter Sunday {2016}

Easter Sunday was wonderfully low-key.

Mista Justin and I, because of the rain, decided to sleep in and attend services at our home church rather than drive to his parents’ church in Crawfordville.

It turns out that his daughter’s boyfriend and his family attend our church, too, so  we got to worship together.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch with Mista Justin’s family, followed by an inspirational movie.  It was peaceful and lovely, but we definitely missed the smaller kids.

As with all holidays, I came home with bags of goodies from Miss Beverly for the babies, and Mr. RH sent fresh eggs for Miss Julia. My Dad had also sent them money, so I went shopping for new shoes and spring clothes. All of this awaited them when they got home Monday afternoon.