Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Want and NEED

This holiday season, I just have "want and need" on my mind. I think we are totally confused about what those words mean. I'm talking to all of us. To clear up any confusion.. want, according to Webster's Dictionary means.. "to feel a need or a desire for"... need means..."Something that is necessary for organisms to live a healthy life".

Now that we've cleared that up, I just feel so burdened by the confusion we have and are creating in our kids for what we want vs need. My 12 year old does not NEED an iphone 4gs.. and neither does yours. I do not NEED a larger house. I may enjoy some of the amenities that a larger house would offer, but I don't NEED one.

Recently my kids were complaining about our house. Honestly because the majority of their friends live in houses that are signifigantly newer and larger than ours. As I was listening to them, I was thinking about truly what they need that they don't have. I couldnt think of anything. So, I ask my daughter, " Okay.. so while I look for a new house for us, tell me what you need that we don't have so I can find the right one". She just looked at me and could think of nothing. The reason why?? Because we have all that we need.

I see us as Americans so wrapped up in wants. I am guilty. My kids are having ridiculous Christmases. I'm just being honest. They are all getting things they don't need but want. It does frustrate me a little that we say we "need" the expensive jeans or we "need" an xbox. No we don't NEED any of that.

Another thing my girls do not "Need" is a boyfriend. These girls at 14 and 12 do not "Need" a boy to make them feel like they are somebody. The very day they start thinking they "need" that to be happy is the day our problems begin. What a hard life for a little girl who grows into a lady thinking she "needs" the presence of another to be somebody. I will be the first to tell you that my husband is my everything. He is all that plus some and I do "need" him. I do think he contributes to me having a healthy life and living.. as the definition says, but with that said, we've been married 15 years, and he has become part of me. These young girls do not have that bond nor do they need it. What they need is to grow into ladies who love the Lord more than anything else and trust God to provide them an excellent spouse at the appropriate time. They don't "need" to be heartbroken and hurt beginning at age 12 with a repetious cycle continuing through their young adult life. Just my soapbox. Now, I'm all about the date to homecoming and the harmless "going with" boy that you never actually go anywhere with, but I want to clarify that the moment our kids "NEED" a person in order to be happy, we better stop and look at what we're doing. You think I'm kidding... I drive lots of carpools, listen to lots of conversations with kids and read lots of texts. Stop and listen and you'll be amazed by what you hear.

I'm preaching to myself here. The Lord has shown me what I "need" so many times and taught me patience along the way. I patiently waited for Chad. I didn't have lots of boyfriends in highschool, and I know it's because I was waiting on Mr. Perfect. The Lord has brought me to a point before where I needed $600 to pay my house note, and patiently waited until the Lord delivered at the last minute. I lost my first baby, and patiently waited on the Lord to provide me with kids. It wasn't easy, and I wasn't feeling patient at the time, but I see now where he was working on my patience and showing me what I truly "need". The list goes on..

Anyway, I just want us to remember that it's not always about pushing forwarding for what we want. I see us all doing that, yes, even me.. and it scares me. If my kids want the top of the line best thing now, what do they have to look forward to working for? And yes.. I say this as I'm wrapping Miss Me Jeans and other things that we do not "NEED" and putting them under the tree.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is it really you and Dad?

Last Saturday Clayton woke up early and while the other kids slept in, we decided to have a date to go see Santa at the mall.

I'm trying very hard to remind myself that Clayton is still young and that he still likes doing things his siblings find "uncool". So, we got dressed cute and took off to see Santa. On our way there, here's what happened in the car. ( I'll be writing it just as Clayton said it.. although I can't reproduce the cute voice, I can reproduce the grammatical errors :)

"Mom, is Santa real? I think he's just your Mom and Dad putting out gifts."

"Well, Clayton, you know Mommy doesn't like to buy toys, so what do you think?

"Well, I'm just being real. Let's just think about it, how many people lives in Texas?"

"Wow.. I'm not sure.. alot"

"Well, how many hours is it dark at night?"

"About 8"

"And, kids have to be asleep, right mom? Let's just think about this. How can Santa go to all the kids's houses in all of Texas in 8 hours in one night" AND.. How can he eat all of those cookies by himself and not feel sick?"

"Well, Im not sure, Clayton. Since I'm not Santa, I'd just have to say it's Christmas Magic"

"Christmas Magic is not real and think about it... reindeer can't fly. They don't have wings and NO animals can have a glow on their nose"

"Well, they just push their legs back and forth so they'll go fast, or maybe there's a motor on the sleigh.. and as far as the glow, I think maybe it's just the way light shines on Rudolph"

" There can't be motor because it would burn the reindeers and light doesnt shine up that high and then how can the reindeer see the food we put out? And another thing, was Rudolph the lead reindeer when you were little?"

"Yep, Rudolph has always been the lead reindeer"

"Well, then I know this can't be true. There's NO WAY Rudolph could still fly if he's been flying since you were little. He's WAY old"

" And another thing.. how can Santa fit EVERY kids toys on one little sleigh. I mean, I get big stuff. There's no way it all fits in that one little sack on a sleigh."

So, the good questions continue and we get to the mall. I'm sad at this point thinking that my youngest no longer believes in Christmas magic..

We get to the mall and see Santa. He's the REAL Santa! REAL beard, REAL stomach.. Real outfit.. GREAT Santa. Clayton sees him and excitedly waits his turn in line. We get to the front and Clayton climbs up on his lap. Santa asks, "Have you been a good boy this year".. looking at me. I fib a little because he had honestly had the worst weekend EVER. I smile and say, "Oh yes, he's a good boy". He tells Clayton that he thought so because he didnt see his name on the naughty list. Clayton's eyes light up and a huge smile comes over him. Santa asks him what he wants for Christmas and promises him a Christmas visit.. the whole time looking at me for approval. So, Clayton hugs Santa good bye.. walks out and looks right up at me and says, " Thanks for tricking Santa and telling him I've been good"...

So after all of that, I think we still believe.. even though my smarty pants, inquisitive child still has lots of unanswered questions. It's fun to keep it that way, and fun for mommy to still have Christmas magic alive :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Blessed Are the People Whose God is the Lord...

This year we made the decision to head to Baton Rouge for Thanksgiving. It is a long trip, but it's so worth it once we arrive. This year I found myself thinking about my family.. my extended family. As the youngest of four and now almost 40, I look back and see how I was raised, and how things turned out... with all of us. All together that's 26 people. Sure, no one is perfect, but the Lord's hand on our family has been obvious.

My dad has always been a true Godly man. TRUE.. as long as I've known my dad I have never heard him say a cuss word, never seen him drink alcohol, never heard him make fun of anyone... never. What I have seen is him praying for our family, supporting us financially, and loving my mother. I firmly believe that the blessings that the Lord has bestowed on our family are because of my dad's faithfulness to follow Christ and my mother's ability to always put family first, no matter the cost. What you see is what you truly get where my parents are concerned.

When I think of my siblings and their families, we've been so blessed. We have 16 healthy children between us, four marriages still intact, and our kids are good kids. Now granted, some are still very young, but we have kids who work hard, are not ashamed of the Lord, and who want to do right in all situations. Now, I'm not going to say that none of us have made mistakes, because that wouldnt be true, but to see right win over wrong is encouraging.

Along with all the good,I've seen many hurts our family has endured.. the heartbreak when a baby was lost by miscarriage after years of infertility issues, the loss of a job, leaving a family without work for months, struggles in marriage, depression..on several occasions, a premature birth, unexpected pregancy, health problems, a business falling apart, lots of tears, and lots of other heart breaks that just dont get mentioned. But, what I can see and know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the Lord's hand of provision has been on this clan for many years. Somehow, He has always worked things out in his time and with His plan in mind, and continues to do so. He has been so good to us! In all of these circumstances, the Lord has reached in and healed hearts, guided decisions and blessed families.

I have truly seen this Thanksgiving that God is so good. He has blessed our family in more ways than we can ever appreciate. It

makes me realize the realness behind "How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord" Psalm 33:12. There were plenty years where hurt seemed so deep and it seemed like God wasn't there, but looking back, it's so obvious to see that He was holding us the whole time.. and He will continue to. We are still trusting Him for complete healing of my sister's Parkinson's Disease. I believe He will do that too!

Just thinking about the song "Blessings" by Laura Story. The last phrase of the song says " What if our greatest disappointments and the aching of this life is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy. What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise." Amazing, strong words. Sometimes it takes stepping back, and really looking. God is so good.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy 14th, Kate Lauren!

Kate, I'm sitting here thinking about when you were born. YOU made me a Mommy. YOU were my first born. I remember quitting everything, because suddenly nothing mattered. I would literally sit and rock you all day. I knew the daily order of all the talk shows and didn't care if you slept through your whole nap in my arms. I LOVED it.

Now you are turning 14! Wow... time flies. I love you so much, Kate Castle!

My 14 Favorite Things about You... in no particular order.

1- You are always willing to be my right hand man. You are a second mother and you bless me daily by serving your siblings.

2- You give everything your very best.. your schoolwork, your orchestra, your friendships, Bibles study.

3- You care about others..genuinely. This is a learned thing for most of us, but I honestly think few are born with it. You are.

4- You turn to God to help you with things. You allow Him to be the Lord of your life, even when it's not the popular thing.

5- You are so much fun to be with. You talk freely with me and make me laugh all the time. I LOVE shopping days with you!

6- You love your siblings. I see you interact with Clayton and see you be patient with him when no one else will. One day you will be an excellent mother.

7- You're Caroline's best friend and confidant. I love watching you take care of her, and her not even realize it. I'm so thankful she has a Christian sister walking along besider her and watching her back.

8- You're beautiful.. but don't know it. I love that you are as pretty as you are, but act like you're just anyone else. On that note, sometimes you need to see the beauty we all see. Inside and out..

9- You are a friend to everyone. I have seen you take in people that others wouldn't.

10- You strive to do what's right. Not just the Christian what's right, but what's right in all matters.. and if ever you mess it up, you fix it and make it right. Love that about you.

11- You set your mind on a goal, and work your very hardest to achieve it. This goal setting will truly help you as you continue through life.

12- You made me a mommy. That is certainly a favorite thing about you.

13- I love how you support our family. You don't like missing others soccer games, baseball games or gym meets. You're all of our cheerleader.

14- And last but not least.. You are truly my friend. I have to remind myself often that I'm your mom and not just your friend. Thanks for giving me that spot.

I LOVE you with all my heart. Here's to a great year as a 14 yr old!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Caroline

Well.. it's birthday time again. My girls are both having a birthday this weekend. I can't believe they are 12 and 14. It's crazy!

Caroline had her bday party this past weekend. She did a Halloween/Birthday party. She was unable to narrow her list down and had 56 kids at her party.. Boys and girls. It was a TON of work, but crazy fun for all. The kids loved it and Caroline was on Cloud 9. Even though the girls share a birthday, I'm going to post their birthdays seperately... So, here goes...

My 12 favorite things about Caroline Grace.. in no particular order..

1- You have serious determination.. I mean.. serious. You never give up and never let something get the best of you.

2- You are friendly to everyone.. even my friends. I love that you love them and in turn, they love you back.

3- Your sense of style is so fun. You love to wear your personality.

4- You are resiliant. You just take life as it comes living each day to the fullest.

5- You have an old soul. A maturity that most kids your age don't have. It's fun to watch you as a little adult.

6- Your smile is gorgeous.. It shines all the time and shows your love for others.

7- You are extremely protective of those you love. You aren't about to let anyone hurt your siblings, even though you would never admit that to them. The way I've seen you stand up for them in situations has been beautiful to me.

8- This one is not too sweet.. but I think it's impressive that you can not study, be in all GT classes and have straight A's.. Makes that part of parenting easy for me.

9- You compliment your parents in front of your friends. That makes me feel like the best mom ever.

10- You're fun to hang out with. You make me laugh and can have full conversations with me. I love it.

11- You love Jesus and aren't ashamed to show it.

12- You love and care about your friends by honoring their friendship and protecting it.

Caroline grace, here's to your last year as a preteen. Live it to the fullest.. Stay a little girl as long as you can and keep living for Jesus.. We love you so much and are so glad Nov 5, 1999 happened!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

9 of my favorite things about you.

My handsome little son is quickly becoming a big boy. I remember the day I discussed with Daddy that we should have another baby. We had two adorable little girls, but I always wanted lots of kids. As I was trying to convince daddy that we needed another baby, I remember him saying.. " I just don't know. We are living tighly right now and I don't know if we can afford another child." I explained to Daddy that we won't always be living on such a tight budget and that we should not let today determine our forever. He agreed with me and about ten months later, you were born. We didn't let that day determine who we'd be forever. God has blessed our family and we are truly grateful.

So, today, Cort.. Since you are turning 9 years old I want to tell you 9 of my favorite things about you.. in no special order!

1- You live life to the fullest everyday.. enjoying all that you do.

2- You are an encourager to others.

3- You are super polite and kind.

4- You love your sisters, even when they don't treat you with love. This is called unconditional love.

5- You truly know how to make me feel like I'm doing a good job as your mom by appreciating me and making me feel special... even if this means informing random people that I am already "taken". :)

6- You remind me of how much I love your Daddy. Looking at you is like looking at him. In your personality, appearance and your heart.

7- You are ALL heart. You play ball like you mean it. You give it all you've got and always try your very best.

8- You love Jesus by doing what is right and listening to the little voice in your head reminding you that He's the most important part of your life.

9- You are the best big brother EVER to Clayton. You make him feel like a superstar at anything he tries to do. You protect him from others and always stand by his side.

Happy Birthday, Cort... Here's to many more great years.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Conversations with Clayton

Today I had the sweet pleasure of about 10 minutes alone with Clayton in the car driving kiddos to and from. I just wanted to give a run down of how this sweet time went...

Momma... Who do you think will die first? Me or Reagan?
Well, Clayton you both are very young I bet you will both live a very long time.
Hmmm.. when I die who do I give my money to? I know, I'll give it to you, Mom. Wait... no that won't work.. You'll die before me because you're old.. that won't work. I guess I'll have to give it to Cort. That sounds good.
I take this opportunity to be spiritual and hope for a divine moment...
You know Clayton, when you die you will go see Jesus, but you must ask him to come live in your heart.. like Cort did when he got baptized.
Oh Umm Yeah.. Ummm Mom... how does our car run?
Well, we have to put gas in it.
What is gas?
It's a liquid that makes our car run.
Where does it come from?
Ummm Not sure.
Oh well. is it under the car in bottles?
Well, kinda its a tank that allows the gas to run through the car.
Where does it go after it runs through the car?
It evaporates into the air.Oh...
Mom, Do you think roadrunners can fly?
Well, I've never seen one fly, but I can't say for sure.
Why is it a bird if it can't fly?
I'm not sure, Clayton..

Well, why do they call it a road runner if it's sitting in my front yard?
I don't know baby. Somethings just don't have an answer...
Mom, is Dad home.. I need to ask him the stuff you don't know.. :)
Love me some sweet 6 year old boy! An inquisitive child is a good sign for sure!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some things never change...

Last night I came across these pictures and BOY!! did it make me sad. My kids are GROWING UP. As I was looking through them I started noticing a pattern in my pictures. It seemed like in all of these pictures Cort was either holding a ball, throwing a ball, watching ball or hitting a ball. Then Caroline was either hanging upside down, running around in a leotard, or standing on her head. It made me think about the passions they were born with.

I spend my life trying to help my kids pursue their passion. I know we all do as parents. It's what we love to do... see our kids excel in what they love. From the day Cort could talk he said "Ball". Literally, it was his first word. He just wanted a ball. Ask our babysitter, Sarah Dalton, what she was paid to do. Of course, she was paid to make sure our kids didn't kill themselves or somebody, but pretty much she was paid to pitch a little ball back and forth to Cort for him to either bat or catch. He was born with a passion to play ball.

I also remember Caroline being on the playground as a little bitty girl and another mom saying " Ma'am, Your daughter is flipping around that bar". At 3 years old she was scaring me to death trying to swing around bars over concrete. I knew she needed a safe place to flip, so we started gymnastics and she was in LOVE. Gymnastics birthday parties, every fun day there was, extra practices... the gym was her second home.

These two still have that passion inside them. They both still love to play. When a game is going on, Cort just can't drive past and not take part, or watch. Caroline is the same way. While there's not always a gymnastics meet in town, the athlete in her wants to play whatever is going on.

I spend my time reminding my kids to "Commit your way to the Lord, trust HIM and he will do it" Psalms 37:5. We spend a lot of time talking about how we should commit our gifts to the Lord and ask Him to give us the best He has for us. We pray with the kids before games or meets, even if just a whisper in the ear, for the Lord to do a good work in them to HIS glory. Even when we have our down days, we remind them that God has a plan even in that.

More than often I feel judged by other people for keeping such a schedule. But even though other parents don't understand my willingness to drive to out of town tournaments, make the effort for the extra practices, sit out in the burning up hot each Saturday, run like a mad woman in the afternoons trying to make it happen and live in a modest house so that I can afford all of this, it's all worth it to see my kids living out their passions. I hear so many comments and opinions from other families on how busy we are, and how we just need to say no, or how they would never run all over like we do... but as I try to defend myself all I can say long as my child still has the passion for their activity, gives it their all, makes the best of their opportunity and keeps up with their schoolwork... what have I to lose? Shooting for the end result of winning a tournament, perservering through the hard work of achieving a skill, and learning to work together as a team are all excellent skills that will help my kiddos their whole life. Watching them do their thing is the highlight of my life. I guess.. that is MY passion :) Now.. here's to a crazy busy fall. May I please stay strong... in the name of Passion :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

To drink the caffeine or not drink the caffeine.. that is the question

This blog for me started out to be a memory book for my kids, but I just sometimes get inspired by something that I want to write about that is not necessarily a "memory" for my kiddos. But, you know, I figure that this is my blog and it's quite possible that by the time my kids actually care that I have a blog, they'll be mature enough to maybe learn something from their old momma's insight. So... here I go with my "thoughts from Kes" moment.

So I was recently reading a magazine that had lots of self help articles in it. That's kind of my idea of a good magazine. I'm not into who is dating who in Hollywood, or if Brad and Angelina have gone to Uganda again... whatever.. I just like to read new tips for food, recipes ( not that I plan to cook them), and new exercises. Well, this particular magazine had an article about how to naturally make your breasts bigger... Hmmmmm this is interesting.. do tell..... and in the next few pages there was an article on how to get rid of cellulite naturally. The cellulite article caught my attention because I was just rejected by Chad when I suggested that I go try out the new laser system that supposedly zaps all your cellulite. Chad was..."ummmm.... no.." when I suggested I go try the new methods. So, I'm reading along and there are several methods.. one of which is to drink lots of caffeinated drinks and use caffeinated lotions. Apparently that will act as a diuretic and will rid your legs, buttocks, arms, etc of cellulite.. Hmmm I'm thinking about this as I turn back and begin to read the article on how to naturally increase your breast size. Laughingly I realize that the main goal there is to avoid all caffeinated drinks as retaining fluid will make your breasts larger... Ok.. so I'm sitting there thinking, well, there's a decision to make here. Do I want less cellulite or larger breasts.. I'm guessing if we're talking self help methods, I have decision to make.

This just got me thinking. What difference does it make? I mean, honestly... Chances are if I asked Chad what I should do.. drink caffeine for thinner thighs, or avoid caffeine for bigger breasts, he'd probably say.. whatever gets you to bed earlier. He just wants ME.. What does it have to take for ME to just accept ME.

If you know me at all you know that I've spent my life struggling with self esteem. I'm pretty sure it stemmed from the kids in my Christian private school calling me Elsie because I was a little cubbier than the other kids. This is one reason my kids are in public school. I had some seriously mean kids growing up in Christian private schools. Left a bad taste in my mouth.. Anyway, here I am at 39 years old losing sleep over things that just don't matter.

Last week was a tough week for me. I feel like Satan was sitting on my shoulder reminding me of what I am not. Or better yet, trying to convince me that I am not. I was suffering pretty bad and just miserably trying to find myself and what it would take to make me happy. Trust me, Satan knows my weakness. If I open any little door for him to sneak into my life and talk down to me, he will. This is unacceptable. I will NOT let Satan convince me that I am anything other than who God meant for me to be. I will NOT let Satan sneak into my marriage and whisper in my ear that my husband won't like me if.... or won't accept me if... I won't do it.

So, here is where I am... Last week I was praying for the Lord to heal me from these awful thoughts of failure and comparisons to others. I was asking the Lord to speak into my heart and remind me that the earthly worries don't matter. Would you know that within two days my precious 8 year old boy walked right up to me and whispered in my ear " Don't change anything about you, Mommy. I like you just as you are". Moments later my friend wrote on facebook " More of Him, Less of me", just a few moments later I was in my car driving my daughter around and the song "Beloved" by Kari Jobe came on. I PROMISE that the volume turned up so loudly when Kari sang "you're beautiful to beautiful to me". That is honestly the only part of the song that I heard. God reminded me that "Greater is He that is in Me than he that is in the world." How about that? How about the Lord just simply reminding me that I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. It was awesome and a great slap in the face to the Satan who tries to remind me that I am not.

Guess what I am. I am a mother who is devoted to her children. I am a friend to many. I am a wife to my husband, who loves me as me. I am a daughter and a sister. I am an example to my daughters. I am a woman of God.

This life is so short. I picture myself lying with my husband years from now when one of us is heading to Jesus and I see myself regretting all the time spent worrying about appearance and wishing back any moment I had to embrace this woman that God made me... loving me for me. Living my life to the fullest.. being the best God can help me be.

So, my decision about the caffeine... who cares? No one.. that's who. The King is enthralled with your beauty. Honor Him.. for HE is your God! Thank you, Lord.

Cort's Baptism

What a sweet moment! Cort was baptized! It was absolutely precious. Chad baptized him with all of his family present. It was darling and a gorgeous moment for our family.

Kate's Dance Recital

This year Kate danced in SIX dances.... One of which was her competition Dance... and Ohhh so cute. I was so proud of her. All of her family came to watch and cheer her on. She was incredible!


I just have to laugh when I think about bluebonnet pictures. It's just something I have to do every year. This year the bluebonnets were not very pretty. They were just dry and crispy and few and far between. The kids complain something terrible about taking the pictures every year. They whine and gripe the whole time and act like I'm just killing them. But... funny enough... the first thing they do when we get in the car and drive off is fight over who gets to look through the camera first, then complain that "there's no good ones of themselves". Well.... maybe there would be if you'd just hush up and smile instead of complaining :) One day I'll be out there with their children and maybe they'll thank me for it then.

Easter 2011

I'm just catching up on my blog a little. Easter was great this year. We had the Durands in town and boy, it spoiled me. I miss my Shan so much and Cort sure enjoyed having CJ. We took a girls day and went shopping in Round Rock, then on Thursday Shannon and I took the boys to the new Legoland in Grapevine. It was great fun.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If I only teach them one thing...

As a mom there are soo many things I do wrong. Most nights I lay awake and just think about opportunities I missed, things I said, you know, just the normal mom worries. Well on Monday I was reminded of something I must have done right!

Monday afternoon Kate had an orchestra audition for school. In Midway, it's a dog eat dog world. You have to truly earn all of your spots because it's just such a big school. Kate was wanting to be a part of the Chamber orchestra next year. This is an advanced orchestra that is audition only. She did not make Chamber orchestra last year, and was disappointed, but faced the year with Symphonic orchestra and did great. I contacted all of my family and had them praying for Kate on Monday at 1:30 as was I.

Monday after school Kate got in the car all smiles and said " I know I did good mom" . She told me that she walked in and saw the music she had to sight read and immediately got nervous. She told me that she prayed a prayer in her head that God would help her. I'm just listening this whole time... then she excitedly told me that somehow her fingers just played the piece and when it was over, she was like WOW.. I think I got it right! Mom... it was weird. I felt like God was helping me.

Can I just say what my heart did at that moment? Just to have my daughter tell me that she followed the verse we've always taught her and felt it! Psalm 37:5 " Commit Your ways to the Lord, Trust Him and He will give you the desires of your heart" WOW.. WOW ... WOW... I'm sooo proud of her for remembering that, acting on it, then sharing it with me.

There are so many things I do wrong that make me an annoying parent. I dried her very favorite sweater and now it fits Caroline, I embarrass her in front of her friends all the time, I don't always speak in love, and I leave her to babysit her brothers far too often, but if I only ever teach them ONE THING and one thing only ... teaching them to call out to God is it!

These days there are so many things that I can't control for them. I can't protect them like I could when they were babies, and that is scary. Everytime Caroline leaps over that beam I panic that her foot will slip and she'll be injured. EVERY TIME!! Not to mention flying over the vault upside down and swinging like a monkey around a bar over and over. I just have to trust that she's commiting her acts to the Lord and that He will protect her.

Each time Cort goes out to play a game, my prayer for him would be that he would learn to use his talents for the Lord and with that what could be against him? And Clayton... well, I'd just like him to memorize the verse at this point :)

Thank you, Kate, for reminding me this week that I'm not all that bad and through my errors as a mom... God is still working for good :) And...I'd like to Announce that Kate will be a member of the Chamber Orchestra next year. SHE MADE IT! Congratulations, Kate.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just As I Am.. flip flops and all

This weekend has been absurdly busy. I mean... spring has SPRUNG amongst the Castle Family. Yesterday the boys had 3 baseball games, 2 soccer games, a birthday party and Kate had dance and K life social. I also had tickets to take the girls and a friend to Gotta Sing Gotta Dance, so the day was just crazy. Well, two of those baseball games included a tournament which continued today, Sunday.

Last night late we got the email that Cort's Select team, The Midway Missiles, would be playing this morning at 9:00 am. When I see those kinds of emails I just get a funny feeling in my stomach. I wasn't raised to miss church on Sunday and especially train my kids to believe that their sports are more important than acknowledging Christ in worship on Sundays. It's just a conviction I have.

Coach Davis and Coach Castle aka, Dad, share my conviction, I'm sure, but also have the conviction of my son completing what he started which means finishing out his baseball tournament with the team. Plus, he's a crusher and a team player who couldn't feel right about leaving the team down one. These tournaments are few and far between at this point, so it's not like this is the decision every Sunday. Regardless, it's still tough for me.

Today the Missiles played hard, but lost their 9:00 game. So sad that they lost, but this left me plenty of time to make the 10:30 service at church. YEAH! I rush away from the field, head to the car, get to church, park, am rushing in and look down and realize.. OH dear... it's Sunday morning, I'm in the choir, and I'm wearing my comfy jeans, a Midway Missiles Spirit Shirt and flip flops. What to do? Well, I'll tell you what I did... I walked right in, ended up on the front row of the choir and worshipped my heart out.. And all because I know God loves me Just as I am.

That's such a great feeling... to be loved just as you are. In a world where so many of us pass judgment on each other, sometimes without even realizing it, just to know that God sees straight to our hearts. He ignores the clothes, the make up, the hair do, and just sees our hearts. Not comparing us to another, and not counting our faults... just loving us. Gorgeous thoughts, I'll tell you. Just to know that God loves this busy, proud mom with a heart for worship just as I am. Flip flops on and all. Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

We're going Skiing.. Oh Dear!

Tomorrow morning we leave for a LONG LONG drive to take our kids to Pagosa Springs, Colorado to go snow skiing. This is their first experience, and we're looking forward to it.. But, It is not their momma's first experience.

I have terrible skiing stories.. all three times I went! The first time our church youth group chartered a bus and drove down to Santa Fe, NM. About 2 days in, a friend of mine fell and injured her knee terribly. The poor girl was is so much pain on the way home. She was laying in the floorboard of the bus the whole way back with her knee up just praying through every terrible bump that we hit. It was awful.

The second time I went skiing our youth group loaded up to Crested Butte, Co. My grandad was the pastor of our church and he and my grandmother decided to come along with the youth. Well, as soon as we arrived, my "Padre" fell to the ground and had a massive heart attack because of the altitude. He was taken to the hospital, but did not survive. Our entire family... devastated... took a flight home together and said goodbye to our precious Padre.

The final time I went skiing was when I was newly married and Chad and I went with some friends. I did the greens the first day and was feeling pretty confident. Chad talked me into going up a double lift.. in Taos... and ended up on a blue. I couldn't get down... spent 3 hrs on the mountain crying with my husband of only 6 months and was finally taken down by the ski patrol. I remember crying as our friends were all watching us from our ski in ski out condominium window. Totally embarrassing.

But, this week, I'll be putting on the skis one more time and doing it in the name of my children. I think they deserve the opportunity to try out skiing and decide for themselves if skiing is for them or not. Let's all hope that this opportunity is my first postive one. Lord, be with us :0)

Why are "I'm Sorry's " So hard?

So once again it's 1:26am and I can't sleep. Could it be the Pepsi Max that's currently in my refrigerator? While I'm laying awake and the house is quiet, I'm just thinking and praying and having some good ole soul searching time. I just started thinking about I'm sorrys... You know, the I'm sorry that you're hurting or I'm sorry I was late.... just the meaning of I'm sorry.

To me, I'm sorry is so powerful. Sometimes it's just what we need to hear to get a feeling of peace instead of dread in of our hearts. And it works both ways. Everytime I've ever delivered an I'm sorry.. It actually felt GREAT too. It's amazing how an argument just can't continue when I'm sorrys are delivered.

I can think of a couple of times as a little girl when I got fussed at pretty heavily by my mom, went to my room crying, and a little while later had my mom come find me and say " Kes, I'm sorry. I went too far. " I can't tell you what that meant to me as a little girl. And now as a mom, thinking about the example that set for me is priceless.

Recently, Caroline received a text from her friend that was something to the affect of "That was really not nice what you did at lunch," Well, my Caroline.. and love her, I do... often times doesnt even realize she's upset a friend. She's just programmed a little like her Daddy and sometimes her sensitive side doesnt show up. She just doesn't even realize. Well, as soon as this text arrived to her phone she told me about it. I asked her what she did and she couldn't remember.. but clearly she never meant to hurt her friends feelings, and obviously it was bothering her friend. Caroline simply texted back.. with some mom coaching, "I'm so sorry I hurt your feelings. I would never mean to. Please forgive me." Those words are so powerful if you think about it. She kept her friend.

Last week I sorta blessed out the director at Clayton's Pre K. She slipped a note in his lunchbox telling me I owed $10 for a late pickup. Well, I couldn't for the life of me remember picking him up late, but it's probable with the life I lead. I went in and asked about it.. she got defensive, I called her bill pathetic and walked rudely out.. in front of others. I KNOW>.. totally embarrasing. Well, it bothered me all day. As much as I tried to justify that I was right, it still bothered my heart. I knew that I should have handled the situation better and really didnt honor Christ with my words, so later that day I called her and apologized... with all of my kids in the car.. totally embarrasing, but honestly, I couldn't live with myself until I did. It felt great!

I always find myself apologizing to Chad too. I'm sorry I ran the debit card out. I'm sorry I didn't wash your undershirts... I'm sorry I got a speeding ticket in your new truck ;(.. which reminds me... The I'm sorry with the Police officer got me NOWHERE... Any way. Sometimes apologizing to the ones closest to us is the hardest.

Last week Caroline had a friend say, "My mom said I have to tell you I'm sorry.. so, Sorry". Some would say that wasn't heartfelt and forget it, but what I say is Kudos to mom for teaching her daughter the importance of I'm sorry... being humble and precious before a friend and making a wrong situation right. Teaching our children to have a heart for others and not always for ourselves is so important. It speaks volumes.

So, I guess I would say all in all... if your heart tells you that you need to, just say I'm sorry. You'll both be blessed :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Telling one on my guy... Happy Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm going to tell a fun story about my husband :) Chad and I met through our roomates our Sophmore Year at Baylor. He asked me out, we did Homecoming and it was great. But, I didn't really see a future with him, so we opted to just be friends. We were GREAT friends. He was my FAVORITE friend as a matter of fact. We set each other up on dates and would even double date with different dates. Kinda funny for sure. Well, suddenly one day about a year and half later, I decided that I actually thought of him more than a friend. We discussed it, kissed, and a dating relationship began.

Well, Chad.. bless his sweet heart.. doesn't have a history of being the best gift giver. Thankfully, he's improved tremendously over the years, but in 1993, he had serious issues.

It was Valentine's Day. I, in my usual sentimental state, had worked long and hard on a picture collage of the two of us at all of our events and was planning to present it to him on Valentine's Day. He worked late and I finally got word that he was home from work at his apartment. Over I went proudly with my Valentine's gift. All wrapped... all done up... all proud. Of course he graciously accepted my gift.

About 2 hours later he came knocking on my door holding a 3 foot tall Cornplant with a red bow around it. Yes, my friends... My now husband never considered Valentine's Day until it was almost midnight. At which point he went to the Baylor florist moments before they closed and bought what they had left. No roses... no teddy bears... no candy... A Cornplant. :) But, I loved that Cornplant because it came from my Valentine.. My love.

Happy Valentine's Day, Baby.. But, please, no cornplant this year :)