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!