Thursday, October 24, 2013


People don't actually know how well our 3 year old talks.  In fact, they believe he doesn't talk at all.  He's quite shy and quiet in crowds and classrooms, but get him alone and he'll amaze you with his words.

After getting off the phone with his Mimi, Samuel turns around and tells Daniel,
"Mimi's busy right now.  We can't go there.  She's going to the firecracker.  Okay, Daniel?!"
Firecracker = Chiropractor

Speaking with his Daddy on the phone,
"Daddy, is Mema gone to Heaven yet?"
Daddy is staying in West TN with Mema until she passes.  Prayers appreciated.

Explaining what he'd like to do,
"Can I color?  I mean, with a marker.  That would be good."

Telling Daddy about his day,
"Daddy, Mills and Rowdy and Henry came to play, and I shared."

After tracing his letter Ff's, he decided to draw on the back of the sheet (with a marker), and this is what he said,
"Hmmm, what did I forget?  Oh, I see.  Ears.  (draws them)
Earrings too.  (draws them)  Hmmm, what else did I forget?  The sun.  I'll give the sun eyes and a mouth, and now, it can talk."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dear Mema

I can remember the first time I met you, Mema (pronounced mee-maw).  It was in February of 2007, and you were celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary to Granddaddy.  You weren't too sure of me, and understandably so, seeing as your grandson had told you just three weeks prior that he'd become engaged to a young woman at church who happened to be me.  We hadn't dated, and I'm sure your had your thoughts and opinions on that.  However, in our first meeting, I could tell you were an incredible woman.

As years passed, you proved my first thoughts on you to be true.  Whenever we visited home, you made sure to have breakfast on the table, clean sheets on the beds, and fresh linens ready for use.  You didn't talk much, but when you did, your opinion was blunt, honest, and sometimes, a little uncanny.  I learned that you liked things the way they are, didn't need anything new, and preferred your old bathrobe to any fancy, new one that we could purchase for you.  You liked pictures around your house, coffee in the pot, and your television always on.  You kept the house warm (almost blazing at times) and the stove full.  You said, "Hello," louder than I'd ever heard anyone over the phone, and you loved to talk about the rain, your crops, and whether or not we would be home soon.

Over time, I grew on you.  You became more excited to see us come, especially when we first learned we were pregnant just months after Granddaddy passed away.  You were anticipating that baby as much as we were, and when we lost it, I believe you hurt some too.  When I became pregnant again, you were ready, both in word and deed.  Your comments about my weight gain were hurtful and hilarious.  I could have lost a pound, and you would say I had gained ten.  You made me laugh by cooking my favorite foods, after learning that, although a country girl, I had no taste for beans, greens, or cornbread.  I could expect a full pot of mashed potatoes, a blue bowl full of green beans, and a dish full of sweet potatoes, fixed better than anyone could ever fix them.  You loved me in ways I didn't realize then.  When Daniel was finally born, I can remember you coming to visit just three weeks after he was born.  I was pretty "hefty" as you said, but you were smitten over Daniel.  I watched as you beamed with joy leaning over his baby swing.

You are a grandmother in every sense of the word.  You love your grandbabies and great-grandbabies with all you have in you.  You provide for them in every way you can.  You fix them their favorite waffles with tons of butter and syrup then make chocolate milk and keep it coming all day long.  You always have animal crackers and Cheerios for the little ones, and your closet is full of old toys to keep them entertained, although they are the same toys that have been there since I joined the family.  The old John Deere four-wheeler toy you have is a favorite of the boys (where is it as of lately?!), and you laugh so hard watching Daniel, Samuel, and Elias attempt to ride it around the house.  You love them, and they love you.

Mema, I realize that it's almost time for you to go home yourself.  You've proven yourself determined and strong over the past three weeks.  You suffered a stroke, were paralyzed on your left side, and were not swallowing, and yet, a week later, you decided you didn't want a feeding tube by ripping it out and then showed you were strong enough to go home by beginning to eat and respond.  You've been at home for a week and have done really well, so well in fact, that the boys and I came to visit you!  Daniel and Samuel had made you cards, and you thanked them for them!  The boys couldn't understand why you weren't able to get up, and Mema, I wish we knew for sure.

However, I know that God is getting ready to call you home.  I don't want you to go, but I don't want you to stay.  I hope you see Granddaddy, Thomas (your son), and Cindy (your daughter-in-law).  I want you to see the babies that we never got to meet here on Earth.  I want you to walk again.  I want you to smile and talk again.  I want you to be the wonderful woman I met 6 years ago on your 50th anniversary.  I want you to get to be YOU again, but in Heaven, you'll be an even better you, and I couldn't ask for anything more!

The memories I hold in my heart of you are precious, but knowing you'll soon be seeing Jesus makes me so excited I can hardly stand it.  Please, please, don't worry about us.  We'll be okay; you've raised your family in such a way that there's no way they wouldn't be.  They are strong, determined, and grounded in Christ.  Go home to Him.  Until we meet again...

Mema and Granddaddy on their 50th Anniversary
February 2007

Mema, Brian, and I at our wedding shower
March 2007

Our Wedding and Both Sides of the Families
March 31, 2007 

Holding Daniel for the first time
May 2009

Sweet Mema
May 2009

Meeting Elias
May 2012

Mema with all 7 of her great-grandchildren
July 2012

Brian and his Mema at his Master's Degree Ceremony
December 2012

Daniel loves his Mema!
Visiting May 2013

Brian, Samuel, and Mema
May 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How Do You Do It?

I have been asked this question three times in the last twenty-four hours, and I've given three different answers.  However, the truth is that why and how I do it is all of grace.

You see, I've been the recipient of grace more times than I recount.  I received grace from my little sister when I repeatedly stole the spotlight.  I got grace from my momma when I wasn't willing to clean my room, fold my laundry, or do anything in a timely manner.  I found grace in the sight of my daddy when I came home late almost every single night.  I was given grace as a ten-year-old girl by my Lord and Savior when I begged Him to save me from my sins.  I found grace 14 months after I had miscarried our first child and held our first born son in my arms.  I am completely familiar with what grace is.

It is how I live each day being the mother of three small boys.  It is grace that gets me through our crazy breakfast routine which consists of making three different meals.  It is grace that reminds me that the messes they make are temporary.  It is grace that beckons me when I've reached my patience limit at only 9 o'clock.  It is grace that helps me tie every shoe, wipe every nose, change every diaper, clean every spill, correct every disobedient heart, prepare every specific meal, fight for every minute of nap time, spank for every sinful action, and wash every single load of laundry.  Grace is how I do it.

But, there are moments when, in my sin-filled, human heart, grace doesn't seem to be enough, and I throw my own little fits.  You see, I'm imperfect.  I don't always "grin and bear it."  I tend to play the part that I have it altogether, but I don't.  I'm as flawed as they come.  I once cried out to God to bless me with children, and now I'm blessed with three of them and still begging God for help.  I expected my children to be exactly as I had envisioned them...  obedient, quiet, clean, mild-mannered, and perfect.  I wanted their clothes to match, their mouths to be filled with kind words, their manners to be inherent, their hair to lay flat and always be brushed, their hearts to be full of love for those around them, and all of these other things that were dreams I thought needed to be fulfilled when I had each of them.

I learned quickly that my visions of perfection weren't going to come true.  Perfect isn't possible in this life, and yet I pushed it on each of our boys.  I push hard.  I cry.  I act like a child.  I yell.  I criticize.  And, when I finally have their attention and my own way, I realize how ridiculously sinful I have been.

It's through these precious boys that I have seen my sinful actions and faults, and I'm constantly running to my Father and begging for just a little bit more of HIS grace.  What I do isn't easy.  I don't always have it together.  I get really stressed and frustrated, and I usually take it out on my children.  But, I don't ever want them to think that grace isn't enough.  Because it is.  I'm learning that it's okay to apologize to a four-year-old for not trusting him (when I assumed he'd climbed the counter for another snack when he hadn't).  I'm seeing that it's necessary to ask my three-year-old for forgiveness when I've yelled a little too loudly.  I'm teaching my sixteen-month-old to say "sorry" by saying it to him when my frustration peaks at his need for being right under my feet.

If I don't teach these boys what grace is by showing it to them, I'm afraid they'll never know what God meant when He said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)."  Year from now, when they wonder how their mom did it, I want them to know the answer.  Grace, God's glorious, unmerited favor, freely given to me.

How do I do it, friends?  It's only by HIS grace...  and these sweet faces are worth it.

Post-bath crazy hair

Toasting their ice cream cups

Playing in baby brother's crib

Proudly wearing his mommy's Alaska shirt

Full bath of boys = Full heart for Mom

Cheesy grin

Mischievous smirk

Happy boy

Eating "curly" chips at Taco Bell

Smitten with Taco Bell's rice