Thursday, October 30, 2014

To my Syd....on HIS Senior Night

Dear Sydney Clare,

I've been consumed by your brother for several weeks.  As you know...and are VERY well is his Senior year.  A series of "lasts" for him.  Throughout it all, it has been on my heart for so long to make sure that YOU don't get lost in this sweet blessing of chaos that we share during this special time for HIM.  For you see?  It's about you, sweet daughter.

I watch as you jump make his last year special.  How you take in every moment.  I also watch as you fight with him on a daily basis....only to be the first to hurt when he does.  I watch you as HIS biggest cheerleader and is always in his corner.  I see you cherish his moments of victory and are saddened at his moments of defeat.  Thank you.  

But...did you know?  That he is all of those things for you?  He loves that you have given your all to dance.  He hurts when you feel as if you've failed your team.  He "bows up" when someone tries to break your spirit.  He texts me to ask about you when he can't be where you are.  Newsflash....your brother loves ya, sis!  And God do I.

My precious children, sometimes you might think I don’t like being your mom. When my face gets all weird and scary looking. When my patience is short. When I’m too tired to do all the things I need to do for you and I get frustrated that you didn’t do it yourself. You have seen sides of me that others have not. You have seen me at my worst.

It has been your little hands and hearts that have brought me to my knees. I have learned through your lives that there is always someone more important than myself. Serving you has left me tired and drained. Serving you has been the best thing I could do in my lifetime. Your lives remind me every day that life is not about me, it is about loving others. You have no idea now, but you are teaching me to lean hard into the moments that shape my character, no matter how uncomfortable they are. You are teaching me that serving others around the clock is hard work. But it is turning me into something beautiful.

Before I had you I was told that children are a blessing. They were right, but I didn’t understand what they meant. I thought children were a blessing because they were fun and and really cute to carry around. Now I know that children are a blessing because they turn my eyes away from myself. Your lives have stolen my heart. My heart can’t beat for myself anymore. It beats for you from morning to night, and all through the night. When you are in pain or when you have to work extra hard, I feel what you feel. When your feelings are hurt, my heart breaks with yours. When you experience something new and you scream with excitement, I am cheering right along side of you.

Sydney, I'm so proud of you.  Yes, I get mad ya.  Like when evil creeps in the form of a teenage smart mouth....and you lash at me.  When you wake each morning a total terror to all around you.  But I realize, that you feel the need to fight for my attention.  For you have always had to share the spotlight of my love.  You are the "second child".  You feel like you are in his shadow.  I remember wrote on a sticky note in my office years ago...."Its always ALL about Sam!"   It broke my heart that you felt that way.  I know its normal.  I was grew up a sibling myself, never feeling "good enough."  But please know.  Its also...all about YOU!  

I know as you get older, mean people will try to tell you that the second child is loved less. That there is no way you can love another one as much as the first. Well, I'm sorry to say that's a lie. And as you continue to grow, you will hear more and more of them. They say, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes." From the second the doctor placed you on my chest, I have never been more sure of anything in my life. It is possible to love so much it hurts, over and over and over again. I would give my life for you and your brother without hesitation. I will love you just as much as I love him for eternity. Don't you ever believe anything other than that I have also loved you with every piece of me, and you will never hear an apology for that.

While I wish I could "fall back" this time when you both were just starting your journey, and the thought of your brother graduating literally gives me hives and the runs, know that I am looking forward to my time with you.  Much too soon, it will be your turn.  

You are my best friend.  I love our laughs and our silliness and our shenanigans.  I love our special moments that we share that noone else really "gets."  I realize as a mom how blessed I am to have a daughter that enjoys me as much as I enjoy her.  Thank you for sharing YOUR love with me even when I'm not very lovable.  And while our "normal" will change.....I promise that my love for you will not. 

While the next few months with encompass a celebration of the accomplishments of your brother, as he enters the next phase of his are not forgotten.  You are as much a part of his journey as anyone.  I'm watching you and loving you, too.  I'm grateful for your heart.  Your loving kindness for others.  

Enjoy every precious moment with your brother.  For you cannot get these back.  
I love you, my Sydney Clare.....

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dear Sam

To my Sam...
You knew it was coming. :)  First of all, let me say that I do not mean to embarrass you with this; however, I do believe that it is a mother's prerogative to allow her emotions to overwhelm her at certain points of her life. The opportunity to begin the next chapter of your life as you enter into adult-hood is one of them. It is because this means that my chapter as your mother is going to begin changing as well.  So be patient with me, because if I’m crying while writing this, I will most certainly be crying as you read it.  A mother’s love knows no bounds and neither does her sadness and trepidation as her first born son moves onto the next phase of his life, without her holding his hand every step of the way.
I’ve been thinking about how we have sort of grown up together. I wasn't a parent before you came along and so I've had to do most of my learning, and failing, with you.  When you were born, I was scared to death.  I was only 25 and had no clue how to be a parent.  Until that baby is in your arms, you can’t quite fathom the panic that sets in with all the responsibility looming ahead of you, but at the same time, you experience this unimaginable joy and love.  Unconditional love… from the first look in your eyes and the first time your little fist wrapped around my finger. I was instantly in love with you.  I remember standing for hours by your crib, just looking at you. I remember all the fear and down-right CRAZE I felt when we never knew if you would breathe on your own...let alone jump, and run, and catch footballs on Friday night!  :)   I was in awe that such a precious, perfect little baby was mine.  Yes, despite your respiratory issues, you were perfect.  I was so in love that I would just cry sometimes as I held you.  Some nights I would get up just to hold you while you slept.  I felt like I was the luckiest mom alive to have you for my son.
I remember you with your trach.  How I never heard your little cry until you were over a year old.  How you would sneeze and the filter would fly across the room.  (Once into the baked beans at a church potluck! haha)   I remember the fear of letting anyone NEAR you.  You don't know this, but the whole community, our church, our friends and family....prayed for you so much.  You were a little super star when you came home!  So loved.  Always.  So very loved.
Parenting you has been the ride of a lifetime. I wouldn’t trade it or give up a second I’ve spent with you, worrying about you, loving you, being your biggest fan.  Always.   It’s been 18 years of pure emotion: love, joy, worry, anger, frustration, terror. Sometimes the emotion isn’t even mine, but yours. When you’re excited, happy or, worse, heartbroken, I feel those things, too.  Ever since you were born, I worried and wondered about whether or not I was being the best parent I could be. Did I make you feel important? Did we find enough time for the little things that live on in happy memories - like laughter, and hugs, and "just-between-us" moments?  Did I show you enough that you mean the world to me? And, more importantly, did you always know I loved you, even when I was angry at you?  I hope I’ve given you enough and made you feel loved, cherished and important.
Sometimes I just stare at you when you aren’t paying attention… and sometimes you catch me. :)  Why do I do that, you wonder?  There are lots of reasons.  I'm staring because it amazes me that someone as handsome, funny, loving and smart as you ever came out of me.  You have the sweetest, most gentle spirit of anyone I've ever met.  So UNlike me!  lol   I think, how did I get so lucky?!  I'm staring at you with hope, because I know that you're sensitive and sometimes a clueless, naive kid…and because I know that the world you're moving into can be unpredictable and cruel at times. I just hope that I’ve given you enough ‘tools’ to make it in this world without too much difficulty.  The biggest reason I'm staring is because I know that our time together is short and growing shorter by the day. The day is coming soon when I'll no longer be a part of your everyday life. There will be college and work, a lucky girl who steals your heart,  and some career that keeps you busy. So knowing that my opportunities to teach and influence you will soon slow down to only the occasional Sunday dinners and holidays, makes me sad.  You're my friend!  I love our time that we just hang out, watch stupid tv, and talk.  I know that my moments with you are numbered.
I will most likely share this with you on your graduation day. Which is only a few short months away.  Although the days between now and then are few, they are full of importance.  So many decisions. By then you will know the outcome of the Panthers season. Both football and baseball.  Will you be wearing a state championship ring....or maybe 2?  You will know where you will be spending the next four years of your life.  And most likely how we will pay for it. You will be preparing for your last summer at home, with few commitments.  All of the worries and "what ifs" that we are experiencing now will be answered.  Enjoy every moment, son.  And please be gracious.  God is carrying us.  And He will reveal opportunities to you each day between now and then. So be gracious. 
I find myself frantically wondering if I've covered all the bases, told you all the things I wanted you to know…and wondering, too, if you ever truly listened.  I hope you did.  Ultimately, you are responsible for your own life. It’s a scary concept, isn’t it? Your happiness, your fortune, and your emotional well-being all essentially belong to you to control and steer. At this point we are still holding your hand and we expect to do so to some extent for some time. (Don’t worry – you aren’t going to come home to find all your stuff on the lawn. Yet. :)) I know you aren't sure what you want to do with your life yet, but I have no doubts that you can do anything you set out to do.  And well. That’s why college would be good for you, it will allow you a little more time to figure it out and decide, while still having the safety of your family. It will allow you to ‘find yourself’ in a way working in the world, just won’t.  It allows you to put off the responsibilities of being an adult, out on your own, for just awhile longer.  Now is the time for you to figure out who you want to become and where you want to go in life. I am nervous for you, but at the same time glowing with pride about the young man that you have grown to be.  
I'm sorry for any heartache and "bad cards" you may have been dealt at the hand of my mistakes.  I'm sorry you haven't always had a daily father.  One on the fields to teach you.  I'm sorry that we can't always have the best of what I wish I could have given to you.  I'm sorry that you haven't always had family and support watching from the stands. It's mostly just the three of us rooting you on.  Thank you for never letting it matter.  For never showing me an ounce of disappointment.  I'm sorry that you have had to face "grown up" issues while being a child:  divorce, financial issues, illness, and death.  Thank you for always stepping up and facing issues WITH me and being such a soldier for Christ.  For thriving sometimes...not because of me...but in SPITE of me.  Thank you for ALWAYS respecting my rules and authority.  I can honestly say, I've never worried or questioned you.  Thank you, Sam, for your honesty.  Thank you for loving me.  And for always knowing that I did my very best by you. And telling me often.  
Today you become a man.
At least you are the legal age of maturity according to our society. You can fight for our country...but can't drink in it. Remember that!  :)  But becoming a man is more than reaching a milestone. It’s a process that began on that day eighteen years ago when you took your first assisted breath and will continue until that time in the future when you take your last. 

Being a man is not about accomplishments, athletic prowess, mechanical ability or financial assets. Being a man is more about character, compassion and courage. A man has character when he is a person of integrity who can be depended on.  How you act when not a soul is watching.  A man has compassion when he not only cares for others, but demonstrates it by putting their best interests ahead of his own. A man has courage when he does what is right even when it's difficult. I believe you are a long way along this journey to becoming a man. You have learned so much already. You show so much promise. 

Here are some other tidbits that I want to make sure I tell you... (For you see...I've been taking notes in preparation for this day.  A long, long time.)

Remember who you are. Decide your values and what is important to you and live them out. Don’t be afraid to be an individual.

Listen more than you speak. You will learn more by paying attention to what others have to say, and people appreciate being heard.

Be selfless. Let someone else have the nice chair, closer parking space or last slice. Look for simple ways to help others.

Keep your promises. Doing what you say you will do is a rare thing in our world today. It is one of the easiest ways to stand apart.

Be confident but stay humble. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to, so don’t doubt your abilities. On the other hand don’t think too highly of yourself. Humility is a wonderful trait.  Remember Who gets the honor at the end of the day.

There is no substitute for hard work. The process of working toward a goal is often as rewarding as the achievement itself.

Intelligence and wisdom are not the same. Intelligence is the ability to learn. Wisdom is using knowledge and experience to make good choices. You can be both.

Never stop learning. There’s a whole world to be explored beyond the classroom long after graduation.

Embrace “IT”. Whatever life throws at you, embrace. Change, obstacles, accomplishments, difficulties, adventures, success, failure are all opportunities to grow. Enjoy the moment. 

Stay away from the bad things. You know right from wrong. Don't be swayed. Always be above reproach. Never give others the reason to question you. 

Reach higher. Your Mamaw Patsy always told me to dress, act, and work as if I had the position I aspired to be in.  That is true in all of life. Show your superiors that you are worthy. 

Love outrageously! Be a man who is known by his affections and his actions. Value your family and forge friendships that last.  Treat the woman that receives your heart like a princess.  Be the man you would choose for your mom or your sister. I promise...nice guys don't ALWAYS finish last.  

Love Jesus. 

Live Jesus.

Launch Jesus.  Go out and show your love for Him just by being you.

Pray. Everyday.  Pray, son. 

These eighteen years you have been alive also happen to coincide with the best eighteen years of my life. That’s no coincidence. Your coming into this world has profoundly changed mine. No words can adequately describe my love, my pride and my hope for you. I am blessed to call you my son. And today I am also pleased to call you a man.  

While today you may curse the conviction behind my beliefs, and rolling your eyes that I shelter you, know it is this same determination that helped you learn to stand up for what’s important to you.  While you’re frustrated by the lessons I have to teach, know that it’s taken twice the amount of time, heartache, and self-doubt to figure out how to teach it to you, when I could have easily been indifferent. While lately my strong will might seem to limit your choices, know it was this strength that helped me rock you to sleep every night you were sick or afraid , all while doing it on my own. My goal has always been that when you look back on your childhood, you have to know that your momma was there.  Always. 

While some days you question my need to protect you, know that it is this fierce nature that ensured you were never alone and always safe. While sometimes you may wonder if I think about you when you’re not here, know that it feels like a physical part of my body is missing when my children are not with me.  While right now you sometimes wish I would leave you alone, someday you’ll wish you had just one more day with me. While you become excited by the prospect of love in your life, know that it was the first moments of your life when you slept upon my chest that you first learned the meaning of unconditional love.  Know that I pray everyday that God show me how to fill the gap between how to love, shelter, and protect you and trusting HIM.  Thank you for being patient with me while I find it.

I leave you with a couple of "love songs from mom."   Cheesy...I know.  But know by now, you will have words written about ya, and a camera in your face.  You are my favorite man in the entire world.  I love you like no other. And that will never change.

Follow your dreams. Never give up on something you desperately want. Ever.  Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made in life. You are my first-born and I want great things for you.   You are loved and all things good in my heart. When you hurt, I hurt. When you have joy, I have joy. Of all the things in my life that I might have, could have or should have done differently, there's one thing I'd never change, and that's having you for a son... If I didn't always find a way to say it, I hope I always showed it - I'm proud to be your momma and I love you with my heart and soul.
Happy 18th Birthday My Sweet Sam.   I love you…forever.

 "For this child, I prayed and the Lord answered my prayer."  1 SAMUEL 1:27  (Straight from the book of "Sam"....:)

With a bushel, peck, and hug around the neck.


Dear D - Our Musical Story

Happy birthday to my best friend.

Its a song tribute for you!  :)  I hope that your remember the memories that each song brings.  I am singing to you...our story.

Happy Birthday!  Gosh, I so love you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Praying Momma

Lately, I've been leading....and I use that term very lightly.....a Mom's prayer group for my son's high school during football season.  By leading, I mean...I bug people about to our facebook page.....and show up to pray. 
Ya know....I don't know if the others who join me each week feel the way I do...but it has really gotten me to dig deeper and be more mindful of my praying habits....especially for our children.  There is something I’ve come to realize that I need to guard against as a mom. I sometimes want to be God in my kids’ lives.  Yes, you read that right.  I admit it...
I want to write their stories.  I want to set the courses of their futures. I want to determine what’s best for them. I want to prevent them from ever being hurt. I want to be their provider and protector. And I want to be the one to set anyone straight who messes with my kids.
I'm sure there are many than can relate on nearly every point. I think most moms can. We love these people entrusted to us more than we ever knew possible. And despite all the infant sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, tween eye rolling, and the teen decisions that break our heart slap in two… they are ours. To love. To lead. To LAUNCH.
And we want to make it all good.
But then things happen so beyond our control. We eventually have to face the reality that we aren’t God. And we can’t operate like we are.  So what do we do with that gap where our mommy capabilities end and trusting God begins? I want to trust God with everything beyond my control with my kids but it is SO scary.  So risky.  And scary and risky are two words us moms don’t want as part of our kids’ lives.
So, how do we deepen our trust in God? How do we make peace with the limits of what we can and cannot protect them from? What do we do with the risky and scary feelings that can make a mom lose sleep at best and feel crazed with fear at worst?
We must fill that gap with the only thing that bridges the space between our limitations and our trust in God… prayer.  I know, I know – that can sound like such a cliché Christian answer. Typical. Too hyper-spiritual. Not the answer we want sometimes.
But prayer is the only possibility with real possibility.  As a praying mom, I've seen amazingly powerful things happen in the lives of my children. I can still fret and worry and want to mess with anyone who messes with them.  I can go from gentle to full on NINJA in 2.5 seconds flat. My kids still make mistakes, and cross lines, and give me reason to make my neighbors wonder if I scream constantly??
But where would we all be if the power of prayer wasn’t in the mix of our lives?  And what might these prayers be working out for their futures that I won’t see for years to come?
I came across these scriptures in my research for ways to PRAY for my kiddos....
10 Powerful Prayers to Help You Fight for the Heart of Your Son:
1. Create in my son a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within him (Psalm 51:10).
2. May my son walk after You, God, and fear You and keep Your commandments and obey Your voice. May he serve You and hold fast to You (Deuteronomy 13:4).
3. May my son be strong and courageous and not fear or be in dread, for it is You, Lord, our God, who goes with him. You will never leave him or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6).
4. May my son walk before You, God, as King David walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that You have commanded him and keeping Your statutes and rules (1 Kings 9:4).
5. Like Timothy, may my son be an example to believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
6. May my son listen to the way of wisdom and be led in the paths of uprightness (Proverbs 4:11).
7. Lord, be with my son in trouble; rescue him and honor him (Psalm 91:5).
8. May my son honor his father and mother… (Ephesians 6:2).
9. May my son have love that ensues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).
10. May my son think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, may he think about these things (Philippians 4:8).
10 Powerful Prayers to Help You Fight for the Heart of Your Daughter:
1. Give my daughter a deep desire to listen to You, Lord, and pray often, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” (Joshua 5:14b).
2. Let her learn early in life that to obey You, God, is the best way to the life her heart truly desires, (1 Samuel 15:22).
3. May she find comfort in Your ability, God, to reach her, hold her, and rescue her, (2 Samuel 22:17-18).
4. May she please You, Lord, by desiring, asking for, and utilizing a discerning heart full of wisdom, (1 Kings 3:9-12).
5. Let her find confidence in You, God, even when hard times come and she doesn’t know what to do, by keeping her eyes fixed on You, (2 Chronicles 20:12).
6. Give her a great desire to accept Your word, God, and store up Your commands within her so her ears will turn to Your wisdom, (Proverbs 2:1-2).
7. May she keep herself under control and not give full vent to people and situations that anger her, (Proverbs 29:11).
8. Give her the ability to rise above the traps of people pleasing so she can be kept safe by trusting You, Lord, (Proverbs 29:25).
9. Let her walk in the security of Your assigned worth to her. Give her a strong work ethic and health to accomplish all her tasks. Give her a heart that desires to extend her hand to those in need. Protect her for the right husband, a man of respect and godly honor. And let her be a woman of joy and laughter whose Christ-centered character is what makes her most beautiful, (Proverbs chapter 31).
10. And every time you, Jesus, whisper, “Follow me” she does so with great grace, (Matthew 4:19).

Aren't these wonderful guides??
Sometimes, I don’t feel like we’re on the same team anymore, my kiddos and I.  And it breaks my heart.  My Sam is almost 18.  Like REALLY, in 6 DAYS....almost.  And he is making decisions about college.  About his future.  Syd is headstrong.  A darling child but with a mean streak a mile long when her "teenage moods" kick in.  She can look at me with a “heels dug in” kind of glare. I know if I said, “the sky is blue on a sunny day” she would try to prove me wrong.
On days like those, when she’s arguing with everything I say and trying her 15-year-old hormonal best to do things HER way, it seems I’m fighting against her—like there’s a war going on in my house between me and my daughter, and a distance between us I want to bridge no matter the cost.
I know from my education that this process of differentiation is pretty normal. Boys ache for independence from momma, and feel ready to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” They want to be strong, assert their opinions, and explore their own ideas. Sydney is just Sydney.  Teenage.  Female.  A Monster.  Unfortunately, at the Baker House for Kids, we’re living in the in-between season— where ideas abound before they are mature enough to handle the responsibilities that go along with those ideas.

And so we butt heads. And often.

Sometimes, I’m tempted to let our circumstances tell me my kids are the enemy—THEY are the ones I’m fighting. But then I remember…They re the ones I'm fighting FOR!!  When the days of mothering grow long, and make a girl weary, and when what you really want to do is lock your kids up in their nasty teenage rooms that require "Haz Mat" suits...and throw away the key, it’s good to remember this:

They are not our enemy.

But there IS, in fact... an enemy.  That’s right, our kids have a real enemy—one that wants to kill, steal and destroy them (John 10:10)—but that enemy, according to the Word of God, has an opponent themselves that’s a force to be reckoned with.

You.  Me. Any mother who’s willing to get on her knees and cry out for the heart of her children.

James 5:16 says, “the prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with."

Wow.  Cool stuff.  And to think that I rub shoulders with friends who kneel daily in prayer for THEIR kids....who rub shoulders with mine.  We pray for each other!!   We love each other!!  We support each other!!  We pray for each other's kids!!  My kids are equipped with more than just one praying momma.  Bam!!  Take that, Satan!!

 Yes, prayer is the only possibility with real possibility. And that brings me to the place where I can finally say… “Hello, my name is Mom. Not God.”

But....Together, we make a great team. :)

In Him, 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I go to “the gym” 3 nights a week y’all.  
I really do.  I promise. 

One of my closest friends owns a “cheer and tumble” training gym for young girls.
I  have taken a “moonlighting” gig working. Before you burst out laughing….no, I’m not working IN the gym.  I learned a long time ago, not to put THIS hiney above my head.  Gravity can be brutal!  I’m actually keeping the books, setting up her new accounting/bookkeeping system, offering a little advice here and there.  Basically, working ON the business so that her focus can be IN the business.  Its just next to impossible to do both.  And do it well.

I’ve been there a few weeks, now.  And just let me just tell ya a few things.

Ms. Angela is incredible at what she does.   She loves the children.

I watch each day as little girls hit the door running  and cannot wait to see and talk to her. 

I watch as timid, shy little girls come for the first time….scared of new surroundings, and soon they are made to feel as if they have been coming for months.  They leave with a newfound confidence that is simply incredible. 

I listen from the desk as mommas brag about how far their child has come.  As they beam with pride over a new skill or as a challenge is overcome.  How each is anxious to get to the “next level.”

I watch as parents share openly the various ways they love “Ms. Angela”.  And if you watch her with these kids…you know she loves them too.  Her office is a blanket of drawings and colorings and gifts for “Ms. Angela”.  

You may find her in the floor with them or walking on her hands.  (Yes, I'm serious.  This makes me jealous!  Lol). You will always find her laughing and making it a fun atmosphere fit for the children. 

Angela loves her "gymbabies."  That is a given. 

Part of my job at times is the keeper of the “candy bucket.”  (Just a logistics thing….it is housed on the desk that I share.)  I love seeing these kids walk in to choose their candy consistently at the end of each class.  I look into their little eyes….see their smiles….and understand why she chose this profession.  It is more than just “flippin babies.” 

Angela and I have talked before about praying over the children in her charge.  Calling each by name as a staff on a weekly basis.  I pray for her little business.  That it continues to grow. 

The God we serve is so full of mercy, grace and love.  He is there for us in times of plenty and times of need – through feast and famine.  I have had many heart to hearts with Angela over the direction of her business. Prayer is neccessary during these times of "growing pains", but motion is nearly as important.

I am reminded of a scene from the movie Facing the Giants.  Coach Taylor is considering quitting. He feels he has done everything he can for his school’s football team and that he has failed. His team seems destined to lose every game. The parents are upset with him. He is on the verge of losing his job. He is at the end of himself. Then a janitor named Mr. Bridges walks into his office and provides a glimmer of hope with a passage from Revelation 3:7-8: “What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name”.

Mr. Bridges then tells Coach Taylor the parable about two farmers who were in a drought. Both desperately needed rain and prayed for it. But only one of them went out and prepared his field for rain. He then asks a revealing question, “Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?”

Our financial life is the same way. Businesses can be run the same way. We can sit around and wait for God to do something, or we can take the necessary steps needed to prepare our financial life for God to work. He cannot bless ideas and actions we never make. I pray.  And hope I can help prepare, take steps and continue to build Angela's Cheer & Tumble along God's path....along side her sweet team. The first step is preparing for Him to work!

At Angela’s….we, as in the whole team….are preparing our fields.   We are making ready for God’s promises for this little gym. 

Speaking of….let me tell you about her team.
Miss Jordan.  Presh.  Presh.  Precious.

Not only can she TEACH.  She can do.  A genuine love for the sport.  For the kids.  For everything about this place.

Angela has raised her teachers. Jordan, Hunter, and even her own Brandon. I sneak peeks at their classes. I join in the cheers I can hear from the other side of the glass, each and every night.  Because no "accomplishment" is small. 

Miss Judy keeps us ALL in line.  :). 

You just leave there feeling a little better than when you came in. The bright little faces.  The sense of genuine pride. And of course the love. 

Obviously, this job has been a blessing to my little family.  Has given me an avenue to use my talents to help. But the blessings are FAR greater. It has done my heart good.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6

In Him,


That is the best word to describe me at the moment.  Totally disconnected.  Lost.  Alone.  Sad.  No one thing I can really put my finger on, really.  But disconnected.  That is the word, for lack of nothing better.

On paper…my life is pretty good.  I have taken a few “lemons” for some pretty good “Country Time Lemonade”.  Read:  God has truly given me grace, love and blessed my broken roads.  He has healed my body, and given me wonderful people to just do life with.

 I have two beautiful kids.  A loving man in my life.  A great job….2 of them, actually.  Wonderful friends.  A second chance at life, if you will.  A fantastic church home, and fellow Christians everywhere in my life.

Why, then, do we burn bridges?  Why do we make poor choices?  Why do we sometimes feel lost and alone….even in a room full of people?  Why do I feel like I’m constantly feeling as if I need to mend something….from everything to a mess at home to a broken relationship.  It’s exhausting. 

I’ve been doing some reflecting.  Some soul searching.  If anyone is actually reading  this in a public forum….you have to know that it has taken me a lot of courage to actually post it.  (Yes, I write lots of things that I do not post.)  I feel the need to sort through some ways I’ve “made my bed”.  Guess its time to put on my big girl pants and just “lie in it.”  Envision a Catholic confessional of sorts.  No, I’m not Catholic….but I am a Christian and I’ve not been very nice lately.

It is very hard to list your weaknesses.  It is very hard to disclose your pain.  Satan likes to place people in your life to use those very weaknesses against you.  I am claiming in Jesus’ name….that whatever eyes fall upon my words tonight, please go to prayer for me.  Hate my actions….but please do not hate me.  Even more…please love me.  If you are in my life….I love you.  Period.  I pretty much steer away from those not good for me. 

I’ve drifted.  Disconnected.  And here is how:

I feel like a fake.  I tell my friends, my children, my childrens’ friends….everyone….to always follow HIS plan.  To follow HIS direction.  Sigh.  I’ve been following my OWN plan.  Hence, my life feels like a mess.  I am told often that I am an inspiration.  How inspiring I really am, huh?

I’ve not been in church in a minute.  Ok…a few weeks.  We were going to the early service.  Then began skipping out on Sunday school.  Then just started sleeping in.  Our lives are so busy, its just been my day to crash.  To sleep in.  To not drag my lazy butt up, get my kids to church, to worship and praise and honor the very God that blesses my life each day.

I watch online.  I listen to KLove.  I open the Bible.  I do my devos.  I read Christian liturgy.  Heck, I even lead prayer once a week for a little ladies’ group. But I’m not following my commitment to being an active member. To getting my children there.  I have failed as the spiritual leader of my home.  Despite, texts, emails, and concern from my church family.  I’ve just flat been at home.  No excuses. Just exhaustion.  I've never been more tired. 

Further, I’ve been neglecting my giving.  As a family, we committed to our tithes and offerings and were doing so well.  I could tell you stories of how things just “magically” not only worked out, but we were even AHEAD….because we trusted Him.  Since I’ve not been committed with my presence, I’ve also not been present with my tithes and offerings.

I cannot tell you how financially burdened we are at this time.  Honestly, I have been so bothered….that part of the reason I’ve not been in Church, is that I couldn’t write that check.  Playing games with myself.  How twisted is that?  Now there is much more “Month at the end of the Money.”

In addition, I’ve been a nagging mom.  My kids are sick to death of me.  My attitude with them isn’t much better than with myself.  All of the emotions with time moving so quickly. I want to hold on so tight to them.  I’m the classic helicopter mom.  I want to be a part of every single second.  But the little turkeys drive me crazy at times.  I need to find balance.  I’ve GOT to find balance.   I’ve GOT to check myself…and bring it all back to Jesus.

I’ve not been the best partner for David.  He has trusted me with his heart.  With his affairs.  He works so hard for us.  And sometimes, I’ve not been the best steward of our money.  The snowball effect continues.  And continues.  And continues.  Both of us work in excess of 50 hour weeks….we are exhausted.  Physically and emotionally.

I haven’t been the best friend.  I watch my daughter with the struggles of “mean girls” at school.  And its sad that sometimes it isn’t that much different as adults.  I’ve been a witness to gossip.  While I do my best never to instigate it….I’ve done nothing to stop it.  AND I’ve shamefully been a participant in it.  Even deeper…what kind of a person am I that anyone thinks its ok to talk badly about another friend to me???  Not a very good one. 

Thankfully, it’s mostly been an issue of “venting”….or “aggravation”….or “concern”….but still, it’s a betrayal of loyalty.  There is no excuse.  Women need to build each other up.  Mothers need to work together to raise our children in an ugly world.  We HAVE to be supportive of one another.  Not judge the mistakes we ALL make from time to time.  We need to go to one another should conflict arise.  Not engage with others about it.  That never solves a thing.  Just causes more hurt.

When you love someone like a sister…yes, they most likely will get on your nerves.  Or make you angry.  Or do something that you don’t agree with.  But just like a sister, that doesn’t change the love.  Even further….most of the very things others do to aggravate us….we are guilty of ourselves.  It is COMPLETELY time to practice more grace.  As a Godly woman, we need to look more to being like Him.  To practice kindness.  To exhibit love and forgiveness.  And yes, grace.  Abundant grace.

I have always tried very hard to nurture the relationships that mean the most to me.  To be forgiving.  Even in my pain, I keep a lot of things to myself. 

I’m in need of forgiveness.  And grace.  And love. 

We all are. 

More than that.  I need some intercessory prayer.  I need others to sincerely pray on my behalf.  That I find my way back to Him.  That I remember my salvation.  That I be that person, mother, friend….that everyone can love and trust and enjoy.

That I stop faking it.  And sincerely come back to HIM.  That I don't continue to be that "prideful pretender" that I once was. And return to the peace that comes with being truly saved by grace. 

That I trust Him.  Give Him my worries, my joys, my money, my time, my EVERYTHING.  I can say that I’ll do better.  Best laid intentions.  I can promise myself that it will all work out.  I’m REALLY lost.  I’m REALLY not sure if I can alone.  I’ve reached the end of a hopeless tunnel. 

Please pray for me friends.  Please.  And I promise to pray for you.  I promise.

In Him,