Saturday, October 29, 2011

Starting Over

The babies were fast asleep. Brent had an hour left on his shift. It was pitch black outside and I was fed up! I could not continue down the path I was on. So, I took a deep breath, pulled my hair back, and marched towards the kitchen. The kitchen is such a special place for me. Anyone who knows me, knows that! I stepped onto the cold tile, flipped on the light, and hesitated. I panicked. Is this really what I want? "Yes. No. Maybe its too soon.", I thought. But, something inside me kept nagging to jump in and do it. I cautiously walked into the kitchen and opened the pantry door. I gazed at the all the delicious possibilities  piled on top of each other. It was like a masterful piece of art that I had lovingly created. Chips, cookies, cereal, pop tarts, minute rice, oh the beauty! But the bible says beauty is fleeting. And, boy, is it right! I began to tear everything off the shelves. My hands were shaky and there were beads of sweat forming above my brow. But I courageously pressed on, throwing everything in a pile on the counter.  I knew exactly what was staying and what was going to the compound. I had done the research and I had walked the walk once before.

After purging all the wonderful and tempting garbage from the kitchen, I sat back on the couch. This was a new day. Or night. But either way I was starting over. My family was no longer going to have the choice of unhealthy food. We have addicts in this house, and the only way to break them (us) is cut them off. This was my mistake, my laziness, and I was determined to change it!

Today I went grocery shopping for the first time since that fateful night. I made two trips, one to Kroger and one to Costco. I tried to stick with mostly organic. Except for orange juice. OK, $6.89 for half a gallon of "uncle jim bob's" organic orange juice is just robbery. I refused.  I managed to stock our kitchen with fresh foods to last all week. It was a little more expensive, but I'm committed to stay away from restaurants right now. Our family has to make this change, and it starts with me. I know that we will be a happier, healthier family. This is a good starting over.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hymns with Nammy

 Right now I have a precious little newborn pressed up against my neck swaddled and with a full belly. Its 3:08 a.m. All three boys are peacefully sleeping. My iphone is turned up as loud as possible with Pandora Radio "Hymns" station playing. It started out instrumental music, but then I found myself skipping songs until I would come to a hymn. My midnight/morning feedings with Sylas have become a new time for worshiping Jesus.

As I was sitting here a few nights ago doing the same thing, I started to think about why hymns are so refreshing to me. Why do I feel such a deep love and connection to them. Why these old hymns speak to my spirit more tenderly then any contemporary praise & worship song. It took only a fraction of a second to answer my silent questions. My Nammy.
 
My earliest memories of church are all with Nammy. Every Sunday Gdaddy, Nammy, Mom, Bethany, and I would all attend the same church, Southside Chapel, where my Gdaddy was the pastor. You couldn't see the chapel from the road because it was bordered by a row of thick brush and trees. Beside it was a huge brick baptist church that boasted several hundred members. But, not Southside. Southside was a tiny white wooden chapel. It looked like a church out of an old movie. On an average Sunday we would sit alongside 30 other worshipers. Inside, there were old wooden pews that aligned to provide one main aisle to the pulpit. Nammy, Mom, Bethany, and I always sat within the first three rows. There was one piano, a baptizing pool, and a large wooden stand that Gdaddy would preach behind. We sang hymns at Southside Chapel. And I loved them. My Nammy sang hymns so beautifully. I always stood as close as I could beside her so we could hold hands and sing to Jesus together. Of course, I had my favorites, and so did she. But they were all sang with reverent love. Those hymns were not confined by the walls of Southside. They somehow followed us home after every church service and lingered throughout my atmosphere until the next Sunday. 
   
Laying in a dark room, with her left arm tucked under my head and her right under my sisters, Nammy would sometimes sing us to sleep. She was like a hymn book herself. She didn't need to be told what page to turn to, read the text, or understand the musical notes. She knew them all by heart. She knew them all by soul. Bethany and I could request any one we wanted and she knew every verse. Our favorites were "Amazing Grace" and "What Can Wash Away My Sins" (She would sing and we would sing in response "nothing but the blood of Jesus"). In the car, she sang "Blessed Assurance". Outside on the front porch sang "Jesus, Sweetest Name I know" and "Great is Thy Faithfulness". There wasn't any specific place I had to be to hear my Nammy singing hymns to Jesus. Her praise to Him was everywhere.

Did Nammy know singing those precious hymns to our Savior would penetrate deep into my soul, lighting fire to my life, ultimately resulting in eternal, Heavenbound rewards? Leading me to the salvation of my Soul through Jesus Christ. Yes. I know with my entire being that Nammy was intentional. She knew exactly the power of singing hymns just loud enough so that my little ears could hear them and my little heart could absorb them. She may not have known at the time, the love she was helping grow inside me for these hymns. But the hymns alone are just words on a page. It is the Holy Spirit that speaks truth through those words. Nammy sang them with faithfulness and conviction. When Nammy sang hymns, she wasn't just singing, she was remembering, hoping, thanking, loving. She was leading. She was discipling.
So now, as I type, "Jesus Paid It All" is playing as loud as the volume will allow, but my memories are louder. And I know why I crave these hymns. It isn't the melody or the artist. They aren't just favorite songs that will change with the evolving styles of music. They are timeless treasures to my spirit. Nammy intentionally sang hymns to plant the seed. My soul craves these hymns because they are the earliest memories I have of hearing about Our shared Savior.
  
 ** O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Peaceful Stop Lights


This being my first post, I feel the need to tell you where I am in my life at the moment. I'm sure, if this blog survives, you will pick up on many things about my past, current state, and plans for the future. I am a very open person and chances are I will write more then I would be willing to share face to face. I'm considering this blog as therapy...So it could get ugly ;)

I have been married to my "high school sweetheart" for 6 years. We have two boys, Stone,3, and Sylas, 6 weeks. So be warned in advance...some of these postings may be coming from a hormonal rant. Its a possibility, not a guarantee (or the other way around..?). So here goes it:

My 3 year old, Stone, is the Most interesting person I have ever met! He is strong-willed, affectionate, aggressive, hilarious, loud, Energetic, brilliant, and most of all, very tender hearted. My 6 week old, Sylas, is a newborn!! He is completely snugly, and precious, and cries when he isn't being held, and wakes up every 3 hours around the clock to be fed. Because my husband works 2 jobs so I can stay home and raise our children... that is Exactly what I do. 24 hours a day I have both of our sweet babies under my wing. And.. its Exhausting!!!! To play it down, and act like I have it all under control and down to a science with nothing but a smile on my face and a song in my heart would be a bold face lie. There are times (when one little boy is pitching a screaming fit on the kitchen floor, and the other is crying to be fed and I have spit up all over my neck and food stuck in my hair and I'm 20 minutes late for some appointment, for example) when I wonder how on earth I am going to keep my sanity. 

Lately, I have been extremely exhausted. My mom took Stone for the afternoon, so that I could sleep. Sylas and I took a wonderful 3 hour nap. This was my second nap for the day. My first was 2 hours during Stone's nap. Once I woke up from the dead, Sylas and I made our way out to the Vaughn Compound for a delicious home cooked meal by my chef..I like to call her Mom. It's crazy to me that after 3 or 4 days at the house with the boys, I think "OK, its time for a little break. I need just a few hours to relax", but whenever I do get that time, I pick my babies up and it feels like days since I saw them last. Tonight was no different when I picked up Stone.

On our way back home, I didn't turn the radio on. I didn't talk on my phone. No distractions. Stone and I talked for a few minutes about the stars and God, and then silence crept into the car. It was peaceful. Quiet. As I pulled up to the stop light under 385, the silence was almost deafening. Until I heard little breaths. Inhale, Exhale. Exhale, Inhale. My babies were asleep. I could hear both of their breathing patterns overlapping each other. My heart fluttered, almost like a palpitation. Every other ride, how distracted I've been- the other drivers beside me, the radio, talking on my phone, worrying about things I can't control. But in this moment, under the stars, in the silence, I felt an overwhelming peace and contentment flood my spirit- The rhythm of my babies breathing, knowing that they are safe, and healthy, and happy. No doubt, God was making me aware of his obvious sweet blessings in my life. It doesn't matter how sleep deprived, worn out, or spent I may feel, there is nowhere in the world I would rather be, no other person I would want to trade places with, then where I am in my life right now. The light turned green too quickly. I was enjoying the sweet rhythms of my blessings. But, it gave me the rest of my ride home to praise God for his grace and mercy in my life. If He chose to remove His mighty hand from my life, keeping his blessings to himself and never graciously sharing another with me, He has given me more then I could ever dream of, hope for, or deserve with 2 tiny little lives. Stone and Sylas, two Blessings that would be enough for 100 lifetimes. Tonight in my prayers, I will be thanking God for that peaceful stop light.