Thursday, January 26, 2012

you are not gonna believe this...

...because I still am not sure I do. Well, for those who have been reading my blog for a while now, you may remember a few years ago when I was helping my sister with addiction and often felt like I was on an episode of Cops. Seriously, sometimes I would just stand looking for the cameras. Thankfully after all that dust settled (for the most part), I thought we would simply be a lively reality show, with our families craziness and my children's silliness. But as of late, things had gotten pretty calm. I think we might even be considered a mild family sitcom...bring on the cameras type deal. BUT, then a little over a week ago things changed and I am almost certain we are now the newest candidate for a Lifetime movie special, I'm just hoping it doesn't end like alot of those movies end.

So, seriously, this subject I am about to embark on isn't a laughing matter (I don't think), but I needed a segway that wasn't so melancholy. So take it for what its worth. I have been swirling this post around in my head for a while now and I can't get it to come together, so I am typing now with no real intention of posting, but if you are reading that means it came out ok. We shall see. So back to reality...

Let's back it way up...lately, the Lord has really been laying it on my heart that to be used by Him all I need to do is be open to it. I have been preaching it to my softball bible study girls and I have been praying it to Jesus. Well, He has been so faithful to use me. But I had no idea where He was going to take me, how far, yet how close it would be.

So, we pull into our neighborhood last week and there is woman by our tennis courts just standing there staring at me when I pull by. She has on a traditional muslim head wrap and she looked sad. We have quite a few different women who walk in our hood with headwraps and flipflops, apparently its all the rage, so I wasn't really surprised by her. I went back to yelling, I mean, talking to my two and unloaded our clown car and attempted to get them to sleep. A few moments later there was a knock on the door. I answered and there stood that woman. She starts crying and talking, talking and crying. She is from a foreign country, married our neighbor directly across the street from us 2 months prior, is very scared, can't figure out if she can get out our gate, can speak surprisingly great english, has ALOT to tell me. So much there is no way that I could type all of the words we had that day, let alone in the days since then. I don't usually open the door, to strangers, at naptime, but something made me want to. I also prayed the whole time this woman was talking for God to help me to empathize with this woman and for Him to give me wisdom as to what her need truly was. We are so raised to be so skeptical and there is just no guarantee that I wasn't being duped. I also could only think about the last Dr Phil I watched on Mail order brides' and feared that my new neighbor was indeed just that...

I was so overwhelmed by her sadness and confusion and her story that I didn't have much to say. She kept saying "I know, this is a lot, it is alot to me" The kiddos were by then starting to grow restless so I had to say goodbye. I promised to pray for her and to see her again. I shut the door and tears ran down my face. Micah and SadieJane wanted to know why our new friend was crying and why I was so upset too. I put them to bed in a daze and then tried to make sense of her situation. I called Taron, who immediately put a plan into action for me to go back over the next day. While, I was busy processing, she was busy making plans. Thankfully together we talked things out and I figured out what I was concerned about and how I could help my neighbor....if she indeed needed any help at all.

All sorts of fears for my neighbor cropped up because I was so concerned for her safety and regretted not talking to her more the day prior. Before I go any further I know the Jenny in all of you is going "Why'd you open the door?", "Are you crazy?" She could be dangerous! And yes, I am thinking, I have thought of all these things and I am doing the best to both balance my need to do what God wants me to do to help a friend in need as well as do what God wants me to do to protect and be there for my family. Slippery slope indeed. But just because it is slippery doesn't mean it isn't worth me going down it, with God's guidance.

So thanks to Taron's peptalk and lots of prayer I headed over next day to check on my new friend and find out what got her so upset at my door. For those of you like Jenny, I also left the children with Taron too:) We talked for what felt like a few minutes and it was over an hour. What I found out is that she isn't in danger(that I can deduce at this time) but in dire need for friendship. She had been in her house for so long and had very limited contact with Americans other than her husband. She is unbelievably intelligent. A devout Muslim and a very kind woman. Who just so happened... is the exact same age as me. I have yet to meet her husband and have lots of questions and confusion as to what is going on there, but intend to keep my focus on being a friend and helping a sweet girl adjust to a very overwhelming new place. One thing that stood out from our conversations is that she feels just as strongly about her beliefs and love for God as I do. Sadly it isn't the same God. But that doesn't change my need to love her and show her Jesus through word and deed.

Never have I had God literally plop an opportunity at my front door. But now I have. I am unsure as to what the purpose of all of this is, but I can see and feel that it is way bigger than me. I can also see it wont be easy and that it will be a long road. There is much much more to this story now and I am sure it will continue to change. But I can see God's hand in each part and pray that I continue to yield to Him and do the right thing. That I both love others, love my family and teach both to do the same, without putting anyone in danger.

As usual this isn't just a post to help you mind my business it is one of conviction both for myself and possibly for you too. Or maybe not. This situation is a very very very complicated one and all the facts about it aren't really the issue. I could give you a play by play of all my concerns, questions and thoughts on it, but that doesn't really serve a purpose. I am trusting and praying for God to work at this situation and ask if you are reading this to please join me in that. Truth is it could be a total fluke...some kind of cruel joke I guess. But what does that change really, did Jesus tell us to check people's stories before we shared His love or before we offered help. The good Samaritan that I taught my 3 year olds this week, didn't ask the hurt man on the road what happened or get worried he might get his donkey dirty, he helped him. I also know he didn't bring him into his house and ask him to babysit his kids. So I will just keep reading and praying and trust God gives me wisdom to do the right thing. So, I encourage you to be a "neighbor" if God "knocks" on your door somehow sometime soon. What struck me most about this situation is how much the world in me and the cautiousness told me to back out of the situation. To shut the door. To wave curtly the next time I saw her, even if it were a month. To not "get involved". Sadly or not, that is/was my initial reaction. I also know God gives us an intuition when something is truly dangerous and that isn't what I am talking about, I definitely don't think we should ignore that or walk knowingly or blindly into a dangerous situation. I'm not advocating stupidity or even anything that truly makes someone uncomfortable. God moves us all differently and allows us to help in different ways. But as I prayed about this situation I knew that wasn't what God wanted from me. A woman was crying and shutting the door on her fears would be cruel and heartless. Having someone to talk to gave this woman hope and eased her fears. It wasn't "me" so much but just something this woman needed. God used me to help meet her need. Had I shut the door it would've been me that missed out on a blessing, a new friend, an opportunity to live out our memory verse for the week, teach my babies and to feel God's blessing. I'm not encouraging anyone to seek out danger but I just know I spend so much of my day looking inward that I rarely look around me the way that I should for others in need. One thing that my new friend said was "I have seen you come and go". (in some ways a little freaky), but mostly a parallel of how so many of us live coming and going without noticing or knowing about someone 50 feet away in great need and fear. It challenges me to look around me and to share Jesus' love more boldly.

As a complete sidenote...I took my new friend to have food from the chicken apartment today and she LOVED it! Definitely a God thing right:)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Many Faces of SJ.

Oh. my. stars. This girl, she is gonna be the death of me. She is a big curly mess of cuteness and sassiness all rolled in to one. And there are days lately where I am so thankful for those curls and cuteness...were it not for those...well that is enough. This child seriously is unfairly also a strong willed child. I have mentioned I find that a cruel joke from the Lord to bless a family with more than one of those special gifts. I see my need for refinement, really I do. But aside from all that mess she just makes me laugh and laugh.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


For some reason over the last week my blog wouldn't let me in. So, I had planned to keep up my writing better and I know you are all sick of looking at my way too looooong post. So here are some cute pictures from our Christmas card. Taken by one of my bestest, Brittany. Love them and this family. And just so you know another loooong post about our week is coming soon. If I told you, you wouldn't believe it, and no we aren't pregnant:( Nothing like that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Getting A Bonus Year

Well, we have done it. Mick and I have agreed on something. No, seriously, we agree on most things. But, we are indeed two very different people and usually when it comes to the kiddos we are more of the tag-team type. I think this is good and he thinks this is better, so we put those two together and have a pretty good plan. It works like that alot of the time. While that works for us, it does feel at times we usually have to convince one or the other to come over to our side. Whether it be homeschooling, public school, spanking, or sports one of us usually feels stronger than the other and we just defer to the other. Not sure if that makes sense to you all but for the most part it works for us. BUT, there are times where I wish God would just spell it out for both of us, same time, no questions, no disussing, no "coming to Jesus", just BAM. That's it. Lo and behold. God is about that too.

I was having a meeting with my chicken apartment boss and she has some strong views(on family and children, not chicken). Some I agree with, others I do not as much. Either way I really value her opinion and her relationship with the Lord challenges me. Although I might not agree with all her views, her record holds that what she does works, as she has four children, and they are all pretty incredible. Proof is in the pudding type stuff going on for her. So, we are talking chicken, but I can't bare to have a long convo with her without gleaning a little bit from her while also getting paid to do it. (notetoself: God has a plan) Remember I knew He did, but just wasn't quite believing it 6 months ago. I believe now. Anyways, she was giving me free advice and I was soaking. it. up. (actually she was paying me to listen:)) Ok, ok, I just get caught up in how good God is "for such a time as this...". Soooo, she starts asking me why we are sending Micah to school next year?? Ummm, he is going to be five and that is when you go to kindergarten I respond a little perplexed. She goes on to tell me that she held her boys back and it was the best decision of their lives. I hadn't even thought about this option. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach about sending bird to school, but I assumed I would have that everytime I took him to some place new. BUT everything she said made so much SENSE for us. That bad feeling started to go away, but then I told her I would need her to call Mick later because there was no way Mick would let me "hold Micah back". Then I resolved to pray and approach the issue myself first. I mentioned it to Mick and he seemed to brush it off. I didn't want to fight the fight for something if he wasn't for it because it would indeed be a big decision. I kept praying for God's guidance and Mick had scheduled a date later that week. I thought I'd get my proposal ready and present at our date. So, at dinner I get the courage to bring it up, ready to plead my case and Mick simply states "Oh yeah, I've been thinking about what you said, I think that is what we should do." BAM. Just like that God brought us to the same page at the same time. We talked over each other about all the ways we felt like this was God's plan for Micah's life and the ways that it would change it. It felt right and was just so crazy that it happened that way. There are a great number of reasons that we listed but bottom line we think for Micah another year of growth, maturity and a little more time at home will benefit him now and especially in the near and far future. When things come easy I always get nervous. But with this I really felt like God was at the center of our decision and that we had made one the way He wants us to. Ahhh...not a feeling I often get when I have to remember to pray about a decision already made. So, after discussing with a few trusted educators and friends we feel that we will hold Micah back. But, I will say the only problem I have is I don't really like the I am starting a new catch phrase that we are giving Micah a "bonus year"...whatcha think?? About the term, not our decision:)

So, we are going to send Micah back to our beloved ELC next year to go 5 days a week (he's only going 3 this year), and then we will at this point send him to public school. Gasp! (obviously our plans could change so don't hold me to my writing...who knows what God has in store:) We made this decision for a variety of reasons that are so right for us, our family, for Micahbird's personality and makeup. It makes sense for him and will prayerfully benefit him for the better. We could not think of one negative of making this decision for him and it was a special feeling, when so many decisions we do; not knowing if it will really be best, but with this one, God willing it is.

All this to say, our decision is indeed what is best for Micah, I am in no way saying or judging what others do with their children, it is just what works for us. So I am not saying this is a decision for everyone or that I will question others decisions for their children. Had to disclaimer this post in fear of judgement from others misunderstanding what I am saying here. I am partly posting about the decision making process than the decision itself anyways. I wanted to type out my thoughts and the story for myself and to hopefully get our decision out there, like I said I don't feel it is the decision for everyone across the board, but I do know people have been making these decisions for a while and I had no idea. I figured there might be some questions too, when Micah re-enters Pre-K, so this should head those off at the pass:) We haven't told him our decision yet, because we want to be absolutely sure, but barring any major changes it is the route we are taking.

Lastly, the one thing that kept me from sharing this news most was my concern for what others would think...would they assume since Mick is a coach we are just doing it for sports? or would others think that we are sheltering him and literally holding him back? and maybe people would think we think this is right for everyone and by doing it, makes us stand in judgement to others? But again God uses every lesson for a lesson for me too. My security is in Him and so is yours, I hope. So if this is true you and I can make totally different, OR even exactly the same decisions for our children and be confident in ourselves and our relationship with Him. And if we looked at things this way, we would all be a lot more content and less anxious...myself included. Which in turn would free us up to spend a whole lot more time encouraging each other, rather than second guessing ourselves. I speak all this to myself more than anyone else, but it is so therapeutic to type out.

I know this is my first wordy post in a long time. You all thought you were tired of the pictures:) So I apologize but my "writerself" needed to post something substantial. So there.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So I KNOW I Can Dance...

Mitchell from last season with April and I.

...I didn't say I could dance well, I just said I could dance:) This post will not be interesting to all, or even some probably but it is a post that MUST be written. I love the show "So You Think You Can Dance"! I've watched every season, when possible, and it tends to be a predominately acceptable show for my kiddos to watch (with the exception of some bump and grind, but they'll see that at the prom soon enough). Well, I got word through facebook of course that you could actually watch their auditions, In ATLANTA, at THE FOX!!! I was beyond excited and quickly secured some "tickets". I wasn't so sure it would be legit as it all just seemed so easy and accessible, but they were and we did! April of course was in, but had little knowledge of the show (shhh!), shame shame I know. But Katie, another friend is diehard like me and I just knew she'd be in. She was! We had planned to take another friend who couldn't go at the last minute so Katie's sister Maggie came along.

To say we had a BLAST would be a gross understatement. I seriously could type alot about this day, and I think I will. There are very few days that you just feel God's physical presence and His blessing, but I know you'll think I am crazy but He was so there. I know He shows up when we need Him in crisis and sadness, I feel Him most often in those times. I also know He is always there, but I do think/feel there are days where His presence is just more profound or known. Strange I know that He shows up on SYTYCD but He did. Our day could not have gone smoother and while I know if it hadn't God was still big and on His throne, but since it did it felt like He was saying to us, I love you, even in the little stuff, like the booty shakin'. (maybe He wouldn't/didn't say booty shakin'). But seriously, everyone we encountered was so kind, generous, accomodating...and over and over in the stories of the dancers there were stories of redemption, salvation and beauty. Some of them acknowledged and gave to testimony to the Lord. Others talked in generalizations but it was still a presence that seemed to pervade an unlikely event. Even the judges made spiritual comments. So while we didn't "have church" in the fox, and there were some icky songs, and times where I surely wasn't thinking about the Lord, He still prevailed. So that was our overarching theme of the day...the rest I need to do in bullet points or this could really get out of hand...

~I went with 3 incredibly godly women and was just spurred on to love on people and to worship Him by our conversations. This might seem strange to some of you, but I rarely get more than 5 minutes total in real conversation with friends, in between "Momma!" and "Did you just teetee in your pants??".
~The judges were incredibly kind and spent a ton of time with each dancer. I assumed from the show that they didn't do this with everyone, but they did!
~We sat behind some friends and family of dancers so hopefully we will make it onto tv.
~Katie and I also went on stage AT THE FOX and did some line dance (I'll use that term loosely). I had no idea what I was doing and once on stage I got so excited I am sure I did somethings that indeed did not bring glory to the Lord. Lesson of exactly why God did not make me an exceptional dancer. I couldn't handle it. God should have the spotlight, not me and if I were actually good I might forget that:)
~They really pick great dancers and keep some terrible ones for laughs. That part was sad and made me nervous for them.
~Felt convicted to pray with one of the dancers and April prayed with a belly dancer in between breaks and hopefully both make it through ...and hopefully they give God some credit!
~Mick and Nana kept the kiddos all day so I could stay and watch all day. I didn't worry at all. Definitely a God thing as I hadn't left the kiddos for that long in months.
~ I met Courtney, my absolute favorite dancer from a few season ago. It was so surreal. She was so sweet and tiny!!
~ I attempted to meet Nigel, but was caught about one row from him by one of the producers. Stink!
~I love dance.
Ok, so if you are still reading you must love some SYTYCD. Or you are bored. Either way, this was a day to be remembered for me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our Dark Dancin' Rockin' New Years Eve

Possibly two of my favorite family pics. SayJ's face above makes me laugh hysterically.
We spent our New Year's Eve as a family at our usual Longhorn's dinner and then back to the house for some dancing and partying with SadieJane's new kitchen. Which obviously ended up being the location for our latenight photoshoot. Micah and SadieJane like to turn off all the lights and "dark dance" to our stereo upstairs. It makes me laugh. Micah and Sage also did some table dancing too. Wild night I tell ya. Mick and I both were asleep at 12:05 but were proud we made it til then!

It's gonna be a great and exciting year! There are alot of people I love turning milestone numbers this year!! April and Taron are turning 30! Gasp...I finally wont feel as alone in my thirties when I am out with them:) My Grandmama turns 90!!! Can't wait to throw her a big bash! (Shh...don't tell her) Last but not least, Mick turns the big 4-0!! On, 12-12-12 nonetheless. I know God has big things in store for all of these people and lots of others too. So thankful for all that God did last year and can't wait to see all He has planned for this year too. Happy Terribly Late New Year to Ya'll.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pink Piggin' It.

After Christmas we FINALLY made it to the Pink Pig. I have written about it for the last few years (I think we missed a year somewhere in there), but our first trip, since I was a little girl was when Micah was 6 months and Haydee was around 3 or 4. It was a fun trip then and way more fun now. Mick was apparently our personal photographer as he wasn't in any of the actual pictures. We had a fun family day and I am so sad that tomorrow is Mick's last day at home with us...
I will say I would love to see them redo the REAL pink pig and have that ride again. I mean it is cute and fun now, but nothing compares to the real deal. I still have great memories of Rich's and riding that Pig.