Saturday, September 24, 2011

31 Days of...

I'm a crazy nut sometimes and don't give out all the facts.  I will begin my 31 days of blogging about homeschooling beginning October 1st. I'm sorry for not giving my facts straight and only realized my blunder when my hubbie asked me why I didn't start my 31 days yet.  Sometimes I swear I have pregnant brain still...or maybe it is my right brain kicking in being that I am a lefty and all.  Who knows...Anywho, sorry.  I really am looking foward to doing this. Sending much love to you guys!

Homeschool tools and what we use...

I do not even begin to claim to be a homeschool expert!  I am a complete novice, in fact. I do however love what we are doing in homeschool this year and decided to join up with some other really cool blogger mamas to share something...anything that makes you a happy person for the next thirty-one days.  Is that a run-on sentence?
Homeschooling makes me happy.  I (for the most part) love being home all day, every day with my kiddos.  Don't get me wrong...Sometimes I want to get on here and have a good ole rant about how my children have totally mastered the art of whine...not wine, just to be clear.  Sometimes, I seriously want to hand them an entire block of cheese and tell them to enjoy!  Not for the most part though. I love homeschooling. Otherwise, I'd be doing something else. 

So I'm linking up and committing to blog everyday for a month, 31 days, about homeschooling.  I'll be sharing the curriculum we use and other things we are doing.  I will be telling you things I love and things I do not love so much.  I will be begging for your input, because:
1. I love your comments
2. I love any and all homeschooling advice!!

If you are thinking this is something you would like to be a part of, then join up.  Jessica and the other cool blogger mamas will be posting a linky on their blogs for us to link up and show each other some love as well as maybe learn a thing or two.  Just decide on a topic and put a button together.  Then link up! I think this is going to be so much fun.  I look forward to some of you guys joining in also. 

...And, oh yes, ahhhummm, I put together my first blog button!!! Eeeekkk, I'm so excited!

Tadaaa!  Not to terrible for a first timer, I guess!

Hope to see some really great 31 day projects soon!

Much love,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are you one in a million?

I was issued a challenge and generally I love a good challenge.  This challenge struck a chord with me right off the bat before I really even knew what it was about.  Blog Frog sent me an email concerning a campaign to raise awareness and money to combat infant mortality.  They have teamed up with several BIG names including ABC News.  The challenge was one to spread the word...Tweet about it, blog about it, Facebook about it.  I must say, there efforts are noble.  The cause is a good one...but good grief does it cut like a knife!

You see, I am part of this community...this community that no one wants to be a part of.  A community of baby loss moms.  I am one of their statistics, except that they are really more focused on infant mortality outside of the United States.  My heart bleeds for those mothers who have buried their babies, whether it be at birth or one year of age.  My heart bleeds for the families of those mothers who lost their lives in childbirth.  It is sad and senseless.  Believe me, I know firsthand.  I thought I did everything right.  I had prenatal care, I took my vitamins, I ate healthy foods.  I had access to all of those things that many mothers do not and it still did not matter.  It was a fluke they said...nothing you did or didn't do.  It just happened.  His kidneys failed to form.  My body failed to make it right for him. I would not want any person on earth to know the utter despair and brokeness of burying a baby.  That is why I feel like this campaign is a good thing.  Yet, when I stop for a minute and think about it, I wonder why we can't mount a million person campaign against say abortion...needless, senseless killing of unborn babies.  Where are a million people that will say more babies born addicted to drugs? Where are a million people that will come forward and make a stand for mother's who are struggling with infertility?  These women want the opportunity to say I am one in a million, but for many that dream is unattainable for what ever reason. 

I am so conflicted about this.  One side of my heart says this is a great thing they are doing.  The other side says maybe the powers that be should have taken a step back on this one and put more thought into their efforts. 

Am I completely off base?  I am just curious what other's feelings on this are. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Those moments just seem to hit you sometimes don't they? Yesterday, I had one.  It blindsided me.  The neighbor's grandson is named Eli.  He may be 2 or 3.  I 'm not really sure.  He truly is a sweet little fella.  So yesterday, he came over to play with Lucie Rose.  I decided Amelia and I would sit out on the front porch and rock a little while we watched the kiddos play.  They had a ball outside.  They jumped off of the porch and played little games.  They played on the riding toys.  They dug rocks from the flower bed and dumped them in the yard (Jamie ought to love that.)  They just got along so well and played so nicely together. At one point Eli was digging in a part of the flower bed that has ants and without even thinking about what I was saying, I said, "Eli, be careful there are ants over there and I don't want you to get bitten."  Boy did it ever hit me like a ton of bricks at that moment.  This picture could have been so different.  I could have been talking to two Eli's.  I could have been talking to my Eli...I wanted so badly in that moment to be telling my little boy to be out where you step.  It hurt my heart so badly.  The longer I sat there the more I could just picture him playing with the other kiddos. 

I miss him. That is all...I miss him!

Much love,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The New Normal

It is so hard to believe that ten years ago our country was about to be in the midst of utter chaos.  Little did we know how much our country would change in a very short amount of time.  Death does that doesn't it?  It changes you once it is done shaking you to the core.  Especially death that is not supposed to happen.  Children are not supposed to die before their parents.  Children are not supposed to watch their parents die on television...spouses, siblings, parents, and friends for that matter...heck, the world for that matter.  But we did didn't we?  We watched as thousands perished that day.  Helplessly watching to see people trying to flee what seemed to be hell on earth.  It was horror for sure.  I will never forget it as long as I live...those pictures in my head. 

America changed drastically September 11, 2001.  The way we once lived and the way we now live are not the same.  We now live life with the constant threat of terrorism.  Well, we did before it just was not rated on a scale and made as public.  Awareness,  that is the word.  We are more aware now.  I have not flown since that time.  I have not had the need, but I can imagine that I would be more aware of my surroundings.  I'm sure the thought that this plane could be taken and used as a weapon would be forefront in my mind.  It is the same when I am in very large crowds.  I wonder... Today, while watching a ballgame on television, my dad, Jamie and I were talking.  We all agreed that seeing as how there were over 100,000 people in that stadium it could be a potential target. We never would have thought that ten years and one day ago. 

As a parent who has lost a child, I get the new normal.  You have to learn to live again, almost like a rebirth.  You do it differently than you did before.  Nothing is the same, yet everything is the same, if that makes any sense.  Life goes on and you have to learn to live in that life a changed person.  9/11 changed our country.  Last year was the first time I really made the boys sit down and watch the events of that day.  They were enthralled.  They have since been following the rebuilding of Ground Zero in NY. As beautiful as the new building will be when finished, it will never replace the Twin Towers.  The skyline of New York will never be the same.  It will always be bereft of those buildings, just like all of those families will never get back their loved ones.  The new building will be splendid for sure.  It will bring new hope to a still in mourning. Just like my sweet, beautiful Amelia will never take Eli's place, she has filled a longing and brought so much happiness back into our lives. Our family's skyline will forever miss Eli but something beautiful has come from the pain and bitterness of loss. 

God heals hurts and mends wounds.  Those hurts and wounds change us and make us different people, and over time we learn to live life in our new normal.  I hope you take some time to stop and remember that day ten years ago. 

Much love,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Let's Play Some Ball...

Here we are...It is that time of year again.  In the south this day is as big as Christmas...almost. The first weekend of college football.  To kick off this weekend, Facing the Giants was on television last night.  I have not watched that movie in a while and frankly, the first time I watched it, I was in a very different place than I am now.  I was deep, deep down in grief the first time I watched it.  Last night I was so, so tired and then Jamie found that movie.  As tired as I was, I couldn't not watch it again. 

One of the single most profound scenes in that movie spoke volumes to me last night.  Coach Taylor is down and out.  His team is down and out.  His assistants are down and out.  The team parents are down and out.  Everyone is hopeless.  They know their team stinks.  They know they are not capable of winning.  They know even God can not use them.  They are in the valley and their spirits are broken.  They know there really is just no point whatsoever in trying.  Why bother?  It will only end in disappointment.

Don't you ever just get tired of disappointment? I do.  I've been here.  I've been ready to throw in the towel. 

So one day at practice, the team leader said what no one else on the team was willing to admit even though they all felt it.  Brock looked at Coach Taylor and said, "What's the point?  Were going to get beat anyway." Talk about turning points...This was it.  Coach Taylor got Brock up and challenged him to prove his leadership skills.  After a long grueling practice he challenged him to go even further and do the death crawl.  Now this is basically where you are back to back with another teammate.  They are on your back and you are carrying them.  The hard part is that you have to carry them using your arms and legs.  The majority of the weight is on your arms.  Coach Taylor wanted Brock to go 50 yards doing this.  Brock tried to negotiate to 30 but settled for 50.  He dejectedly told the coach that he could do it without the extra weight, but did not think he could get there with his teammate.  Coach Taylor tells him he thinks he can.  He believes in him. Then he throws another curve at Brock.  Really, another curve?  How much more is he going to ask of this boy? After all he is tired from normal practice and now his coach wants more from him.  Coach Taylor KNOWS he can do it.  So, he blindfolds Brock, tells his teammate to get on his back and off Brock goes. Death crawling.  It's hard...It hurts...It is not what he wants to be doing...He's pushing on...It burns...His arms want to give out.  Coach Taylor is right there, urging him on.  He is yelling and screaming at him to give him more...You can do it.  Give me more...more...more.  Keep going.  Don't give up.  You can do this...dig...push yourself...don't give up.  In his ear the entire time. Lord, it hurts...I can't...yes you can...just a few more yards...I'm not going to make it...this is too hard...why am I having to do this...Keep going...don't give up...your almost there...NO, don't it for the it for it for can't stop...I have to hurts...I can't take the hurts too much...I know it hurts but you have to have to go on...just a few more steps...your almost there...three more steps...two there.  You can stop.  Take your blindfold off.  And when Brock took off his blindfold...He had death crawled the entire football field.  His teammates were in awe.  They could not believe what he had just done. 

It's a lot like that for us you know.  When life hurts too much, when we are doing the death crawl...when God throws us a challenge and curve ball to boot.  He is there the entire time.  He never leaves us.  He pushes us, carries us, makes us move forward and with God by our side...we go so much further than we ever could have imagined. 

Coach Taylor needed a team leader.  Someone to push the team forward.  But he had to show Brock that he had it in him to press on when he didn't think he could.  He had to make Brock prove himself to himself.  He didn't need to prove it to the team.  He just needed to know for himself that he could do it. 

I had my eyes closed when this scene began but before it was over I was completely awake and drawn in.  I wanted so badly for Brock to run the death crawl to the end.  But then I realized that sometimes you have to crawl.  It's slower and prolongs the pain...but you have to crawl.  Had he ran, considering he was already tired, he would have at the very least stumbled and more than likely fallen.  He would have failed. So he took his time, endured the pain, accepted his coach's encouragement and won the challenge. I'd bet his first instinct was to get it over as quickly as possible, like taking bad tasting medicine. 

I fully believe that there are times in our lives when we have to be still and know God.  He whispers in a small still voice.  But, I also believe that there are times in our lives that like Coach Taylor, God is yelling, screaming, pushing, pulling, He is in our ear loud and clear.  There is no doubt He has our back.  In the last eighteen months I have experience both of those.  When I was doing the death crawl, I could hear Him as if He were right by my side.  Then when I was on His back, I had to be very still to hear him. 

Where are you  right now?  Can you hear him? 

I'll leave you with my favorite quote from Facing the Giants.
Lord, when we win, we will praise you.  When we lose, we will praise you.

Roll Tide and much love today,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where in the World is Carmen San Diago

Updated:  My sweet, adorable, puppy-like (when he is sick), wonderful, incredible, fearless, hungry, dimpley, long fingery, longer toey, always patient, kind, thoughtful husband just informed me that my post title made no sense.  Well it made perfect sense when I posted it.  Still does.....sorta. "My point," I informed him, "was to tell where we had been and what we had been up to." I can see why HE might have gotten confused though.  I don't always make sense. In fact, I told someone last night that my new baby was a boy.  What the Whaaaattt?

Or the Hill's if you don't mind, thank you...

This past weekend Jamie, Amelia, and I had the amazing pleasure of seeing Selah in concert and Angie Smith speak.  Jamie and I have loved Selah from the beginning.  They are so dynamic.  I was heart broken when Nicole decided to leave to stike out on her own.  She, her brother (Todd Smith) and Allan Hall all complimented each other so well. I actually told Jamie that I was not going to listen to them anymore...sigh.  Then I heard the "girl" that took Nicole's place sing.  I was wrong in thinking that it couldn't get any better.  Amy Perry wowed me from the beginning.  Each of the members of Selah have their own unique sound and those sounds combine to make one amazingly talented group.  I love to hear them and could listen to their music all day. 

Most people know that Angie and Todd lost a baby girl just after she was born.  If you have not read Audrey's story you can read it here.  Angie is a just as dynamic a writer and speaker as Selah is a musical group.  I have heard her story and read it several times, but hearing it in person was...just wow.  She made me laugh.  She made me cry.  She made me stop and think.  She took me back to similar moments that we have experienced. 

We had the even more wonderful pleasure of meeting Angie and the members of Selah after the benefit was over.  They are just everyday ordinary real people who have chosen to allow themselves be used of God.  And my oh my, how God is using them.  He has given them talents and stories. He has given them all the necessary tools to work for His kingdom. I enjoyed taking a few minutes to talk with each of them.  It was a tremendous blessing and neat experience for Jamie and I both. 

If you love great music like I do, then you should at the very least check out Selah's website.  Take a listen.  I promise you will like what you hear. 

Much love,