Happy Birthday to my main squeeze, an open letter.

 

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Dear Jesse,

You turned 41 years old on Monday.  I’m so thrilled to celebrate your birthday.  Don’t worry, I am not at all concerned about the fact that I married such an older man.  41 looks so good on you!  Babe, in the midst of life, and my spiritual gift of being critical of you it may come across that I am not totally over the moon in love with you, or that I don’t get on my knees everyday and thank God we are together, but trust me, I love you more everyday, and I am so thankful for you.  I decided a good way to show you how grateful I am for you would be to come up with 41 things that I love, admire, and like about you.  I added like because as I typed 41 I thought, well that is a long list I better put like just in case I run out.  Now I will warn you, some of these you may read and think, “Is that a compliment or a roast?”  In those moments I will refer you to the 101 times you have “complimented” me by saying something like, “Yeah, I love those shoes they look like something Jesus would wear,”  or “Yeah that dress looks good, it looks like a couch.”  So let’s get started:

  1.  I love the way you love Jesus.
  2. I love the way you love me, and would do anything to be sure I am not feeling any stress at all.  (I do suspect that your devotion to this is more about your well-being than mine)
  3. I love the dad you are to Brock and Sydney, they hit the dad jackpot with you!
  4. I love that you hid behind “all those are Sarah’s animals” but I find you out with the dogs, chickens, ducks and goats more than anyone else.  It says something about the tenderness of your heart that you love animals.
  5. I love that I can let you sleep in on Saturdays, make sure no one wakes you up, and with that one day of sleeping in, you are a new man.  It is your recharge for the week.
  6. I love how mad at me you were when I told you I was kidnapping you this week to take you out-of-town for your birthday.  I love that you were so mad because you did not want to miss the first Monday Man Night at church because you were the one who organized it and you wanted to be there to be sure it all went off without a hitch.  It makes me proud of you when you take ownership of stuff, it means you give a damn.
  7. I love that when you take a shirt off a hanger you hang the empty hangers with all the other empty hangers in your closet.  This makes if very easy for me to put your clothes away.
  8. I love that you love cars, all cars; remote, muscle, fast n furious type, trucks and minivans.  But don’t every try to buy me a minivan again.  Lara Croft Tomb Raider does not drive a minivan.
  9. I love that your car is always so clean but your desk looks like the zombie apocalypse went by.
  10. I love how I have learned that it takes you two hours to wake up.  I now know that I can talk to you after 8AM and you will be sweet Jesse, before that you are jerk Jesse.
  11. I love how you thanked me the other day for asking the waiter to sit us outside because we needed to be away from the busy, crowded, kid filled restaurant.  I got your back babe, I know you don’t do crowds, I will protect your introverted soul.
  12. I love that you told me this birthday get away was your perfect birthday party.  Just you and me, and the quiet, with no schedule.  (Just a side note, that is not my perfect birthday please refer to Ashley, Kelly and Cheryl for more info)
  13. I love watching you fight for structure in your life.
  14. I love watching you try to figure out how to love the Lord, serve in ministry and find time to work on cars, fix up your shop and build and R/C track.
  15. I love that you ask yourself 100 questions before taking a step forward.  I will admit that I did not use to love this about you, but in the years we have been living life together I see how your meticulous planning has saved us from many train wrecks.
  16. I love how you approach money, budgets and family business.  You do it with ease because you know it all comes from God anyway.
  17. I love that saving money is more fun to you than going to Groovy’s and getting a new Umgee shirt.  I love that for you, but not so much for me.
  18. I love that you are always in the moment, always.
  19. I love that you never tell me no, but you say, “Did we budget for that?” or “Lets sit down and plan out how we would do that.”  These are also things I did not love about you for a while but now I see the value in them.
  20. I love that no matter the situation, the crisis, the problem you have a gadget in your backpack specifically for that problem.
  21. I love the mystery that is your backpack.  Is it Marry Poppins’ carpet bag or is it Pandora’s box.  I don’t know.  All I know is that it rides in the car with you buckled in like a baby.
  22. I love that you are always researching how to do things on You Tube, especially when you could have your own You Tube channel on how to do things.
  23. I love that when you got the job of Building Maintenance Man at church you literally came alive.
  24. I love your heart for our church.
  25. I love that you make sure everything is all set up and ready so that people have the best church experience they can have.  Example: Filling in the gap in the worship center doors so that the sound from the lobby doesn’t interfere with service.
  26. I love that you are so worried about Doug being hot on Sunday that you actually go up there on Saturday and early Sunday morning to make sure the thermostats are set.
  27. I love that it drives you crazy that you can’t get the church cold enough for 11:30 service.  It means you give a damn.  I love that you care.
  28. I love the way you talk to service guys on the phone.  You are so kind and caring even-though I am sitting next to you yelling, “NO IT CANNOT WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW TELL THEM TO GET THEIR ASS HERE NOW.”  That is most likely why people prefer to deal with you and not me.  Whatever, I have other gifts.
  29. I love the way you care about maintaining our house.  It reminds me of Papa Johnny.
  30. I love that you told me the other day, “Doug is going to have to bury me in the church because I am never leaving Cornerstone.  I don’t care if I have a job there or not, I’m still working there.”  I love that you love our church that much.
  31. I love that I got this text from Ashley after VBS:

    “Btw your husband was a total gift to me today too. He literally pushed a broom and took out trash all day. I love the way he serves! He just shows up and fills holes. Such a gift to me. Make sure he knows that. Didn’t know if that would be weird for me to tell him 😂”

  32. I love that you will do any job for any one even if it is taking out the trash.
  33. I love that you come home all the time and say, “Hey I heard _______ talking and he needs money to go on his mission trip, I think we should give it to him, where is the check book,” or “I was talking to _________ today and they need a car but I don’t want them to go into debt, lets help them out.”  You have become the most generous person I know.
  34. I love that you come from a banking family and you hate debt–YOU ARE SUCH A REBEL!!!
  35. I love that we share a love for all things Dave Ramsey.
  36. I love how you would pour yourself out to get people out of debt.
  37. I love how you have this ability to get people to do stuff without them even knowing you were insisting they do it.
  38. I love how much you love the people who come to our Dave Ramsey Classes.
  39. I secretly love that you tell me you are not scared of me anymore.  I love that you stand up to me.  Just don’t let’s get carried away with all that.
  40. I love that we share a love of all things Texas Tech and that you let me devote a whole room to Tech in our house.  Lord please be with the Red Raiders today as they play in the College World Series.  (And please be with the football team this year, cuz where were you last year?)
  41. I love you, just you.  Everything you are, all your idiosyncrasies, your introvertedness, your love of beef jerky, your love of Weird Al Yankovic, your love of the 80’s, your love of 80’s hair bands, and your love of  meaningless trivia.  I love all of it.  I’m so grateful you are mine.

Looky there, 41 things I love about you and I didn’t have to use “like” at all.  I love you Jesse Griffith, you are my favorite part of the day.  I wish you could see yourself through my eyes because you would be so impressed with yourself.  You have no reason to doubt yourself or to question yourself.  You are the bomb. com to me.  I love you babe.  Happy Birthday!!

Love from our much younger wife,

Sarah

Well, IT’S TWINS!!

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Introducing Cumulonimbus and Altostratus.  Nimba, the white one, and Alta, the dark one, for short.  They are twin two-week old Nigerian dwarf X Pygmy goats.  To say they have over taken our lives around here would be exactly accurate.  We are drunk on baby goats up in here.  They have to be bottle fed, take naps, and are living in our laundry room unless they are outside in the play pen.  Check out some of the play time….

 

There just is nothing like these little things. So why do we have these cutie pie little twins?  I’ll tell you!  Sydney got all A honor roll and I was trying to come up with a good celebration gift for her.  Also Jesse’s birthday is on June 18th and I needed a gift for him.  Now let me be honest.  I have been accused by my best friend that possibly gifting Jesse with a pygmy goat would fall under the “I wanted a pygmy goat and so I got you one for your birthday,” category.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I am just the best gift giver ever.  Jesse loves his goat.  (For all of you Jesse lovers out there, I did get him something else and I am taking him on a trip so shut up he is fine.)  These little cuties were born on Saturday, June 2nd.  I could have brought them home that week but I knew if Sydney saw them before she left for summer camp she would not go to summer camp.  She got home yesterday and we surprised her.  She was surprised to say the least and she has not left them alone since she got home except when we made her go to bed last night.

I am having flash backs to when I had my human babies.  My freezer is full of (goat)milk, there are bottle warmers on the counter and bottles in the dish drainer.  They eat on a schedule just like human babies and when they get hungry they go hunting for nipples.  They also make the cutest sounds.  It is too hot for them to be outside all the time so they take breaks in the dog crate I have in the laundry room.  However, they will be wondering around the house in no time at all because we got doggie diapers for them last night.  We have become “those” goat people.  (*update: in the midst of writing this blog the doggie diapers got put on the goats.  Because of certian anatomical differances that I will not take the time to explain, the diapers do not work for goats.  Sydney is lamenting this fact and is currently searching for information on goat diapers.  The babies are in the laundry room until then.)

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But also in all this cuteness I am reminded of our Good, Good Father.  In His word he compares us with sheep.  Now I’ll be honest, I don’t see much difference between sheep and goats.  There is a diffrence because at Tractor Supply there is milk replacer for lambs and a totally different bag of mild replacer for kids.  I don’t think the difference is big enough not to make the leap that sheep and goats act the same way.  So just for illustration sake lets say they are the same.  God compares us to sheep and says that he will leave the 99 in the heard to find the one that is lost.  He runs us down to bring us back to the safety of His herd.  He also calls Himself the Gentle Shepard that tends to the flock.  He says He is the Watchmen that stays at the gate protecting the herd. All these things come to life for me as I care for these little girls.  They are weak and helpless just like me.  Without me caring for them and feeding them they would die.  It’s the same predicament I am in without Jesus.

John 10: 7So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

8“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

9“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

10“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

 11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

13“He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

14“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,

15even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.

18“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. Print.

Really I sit in a position right now where I am just so grateful to God that we have property where we can keep goats.  Mostly because it causes this above portion of scripture to come alive for me.  Part of me loves to call myself a shepherd because it helps me identify with a small part of who Jesus is.  But as I watch and interact with these little cuties I see how uphill Jesus’ battle is to keep me focused on Him.  They are such “know it all’s” and “I want to jump up on that dangerous thing,” kind of animals.  And guess what? I do the same stupid kind of goat things.  Jesus is powerful enough to save me from myself.  I am only powerful enough to manage the carnage, and hope they don’t jump out of their play pen.  Thank you Jesus for always keeping me in the fold and leading me to greener pastures.  I love you Lord.

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Prepare to be inundated with pictures of these cuties.  This is what summer 2018 will revolve around!  I am sure there will be many “lessons from the baby goats!”

 

 

 

I survived May…..almost.

LAST DAY OF MAY!!!!  I feel like the “Eye of the Tiger” should be playing all day today!  Brock is already at school and Sydney is headed out the door in like 20 minutes FOR THEIR LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!  Last week I could not think of what to write about and still came up with 1000 words–no one who does life with me is surprised by that.  My friend Jeff calls these my “manuscripts” not blog posts–whatever, I have all the feelings and lots of words, and I just SURVIVED MAY, so buckle up buttercup I have some words to use!

First my daughter tried out for the A Cappella group at school called “Walk the Line.”  Am I living out Pitch Perfect dreams through her? YES YES YES!!! Was I more nervous for her than I was at any of my own auditions ever?  YES!!  But listen, my baby went in there, stood up in front of the judges, a bunch of high schoolers, a bunch of middle schoolers and SLAYED IT!!!!  I could not have been more proud of that girl.  I know what it cost that little body to move her feet, one in front of the other, to stand in front of the judges.  I know she took hold of the microphone even though  her hand was shaking.  I know she forced her body to sing, even though she wanted to simultaneously throw up and pass out.  I wanted to stand up and yell at the judges: “Do you have any idea how much she practiced this?” I wanted to grab them and say:  “Do you know what that just cost her?”  But I didn’t.  I just cried.  I cried because I was so proud of her.  I was so thankful to the Lord that she has this amazing voice and that He has been prompting her to step out of her comfort zone.  And I cried because I knew if she made the group I would be the best freaking A Ca Mom this town has ever seen.

WELL GUESS WHAT?????  She made it!!!!  There are two groups.  Walk the Line is the Varsity group and Sting is the JV group.  Sydney made the JV group. Now the choir teacher told us specifically not to call them that, but she is not my boss and will probably never read this.   (and if you do please don’t kick Sydney off for the sins of her mother) Sting will not be competing and will be doing a lot of community stuff.  I could not think of anything better for my girl.  To learn and get comfortable in a non-competitive atmosphere will be great for her.  It will also give me time to get my A Ca mom game going strong.

And in the midst of all the fun, and watching my girl walk through all the emotions and fear, I thanked God.  I did!  Because its moments like this that she and God develop a relationship that is all their own.  Every stinking time He shows up when she needs Him, she trusts Him a little more.  Every time she faces her fear and tells her flesh NO, she learns what He is made of.  It was the most precious thing in May for sure.  Capped off by this, as we are getting into the car Sydney says,  “Well that was totally a God thing because I could not have gotten through that if he hadn’t been with me.  I just wanted to throw up, but suddenly, when I started singing I was fine and I knew I would still go to heaven even if I messed up, so what do I care about making it if I am going to heaven.  Jesus loves me anyway.”  AND SHE LOOKED OVER AT HER MOM TO SEE HER RESPONSE AND REALIZED HER MOM HAD DIED BECAUSE HER DAUGHTER FIGURED OUT AT 13 WHAT IT TOOK HER 40 YEARS TO LEARN.

THE END

BUT NOT REALLY…..

I also wanted to record that I survived two award ceremonies with minimal feelings of “Not Doing Enough.”  I don’t know, maybe I became a little more mature in the last year.  I just sat there remembering how I am committed to becoming the mom that does life in a God honoring way.  In order for me to be the mom that is not screaming profanity at my children we have to have a “slower than most of Rockwall pace.” That translates into saying no to myself a lot.  I got so run down last week from the month of saying no to myself.  Telling myself NO to food I wanted to eat, NO things I wanted to buy, NO to things I wanted to do, NO to friends I wanted to help, and NO Netflix that needed bingeing.  Telling myself NO wears me out!  However, if I don’t say NO enough I turn into screaming profanity mom and disrespectful wife.  Also, I am an extrovert living with a bunch of introverts that need down time to re-coup.  That means saying NO to always running around doing stuff so they can rest.  Becoming a mom that my kids don’t have to survive is more important to me than anything else.  I know that now.  Everyday I get a tiny bit closer to not turning to rage to cope with stress.  I hate how many times in the last month I have unloaded on them and had to go back and say, “I am so sorry I yelled at you, I was mad about something else and I took it out on you.”  Pride stops me from apologizing because it tells me, “You are right, how dare they, look at all you do for them!” But I did it because Jesus wants me to, and He is more important to me than my pride.  As I walk with Jesus day after day and learn to be in control of my feelings, I will be able to stop myself before I unload, but not yet.  The month of May brought out the worst in me and it humbled me and made me realized I have made progress, but there is still a long way to go.  I just keep telling the kids that I will pay for their therapy.

I have also realized this month that the fight of my life will be to stay focused on the Lord.  I surprised myself this month at how quickly the Bible gets buried under paperwork on my desk.  I believe myself to be someone who is in love with God’s Word and I am often shocked when people say they think God’s word is boring or they don’t understand it.  I’m all, “Are you kidding! It’s alive, its life changing, it’s how you know who God is!!!”  I self righteously think, “Man, I could not go a day without reading God’s Word.”  This month I hate to admit that there were several days that my Bible got left on my desk without being opened.  It shocked me.  My self-righteousness came to roost, so to speak.  I was humbled and realized that this is no joke.  I shut down communication between me and the Lord for several days because I was “too busy.”  I use quotes around “too busy” becasue I find it funny that I used that as my excuse.  If I am too busy to read His word it’s because I have not said NO to enough stuff!!!!  But God, in His loving-kindness is always running down the lost sheep.  His word says He would leave the 99 to find the 1 who had strayed and gotten lost.  At church this weekend I heard this quote, “Base your choices on what God’s Word says, that way  you are thinking like God and not thinking like man.”  I was like, “Oh heck yeah!! That is so good!”  God gently whispered, “How do you think like me if you think you don’t need to be in My Word everyday.”  Oh, right, sorry Lord.  In order to be the mom that doesn’t scream profanity at her kids, to be a respectful wife, to teach bible studies to other women, and to over come depression and anxiety I have to be transformed by God’s Word.  The way that I do that is to read God’s Word, that’s it!  As easy as that!  Except it’s not easy, it’s the fight of my life.

I have had to sit myself down and say, “Self, you are super ready to get on Insta and FB, but you are reluctant to pick up your Bible.  That just shows me that Flesh Self has taken over Spirit Self and we can’t function like that.”  I have had to repent and ask God to help me focused on Him.  I can actually ask God for that!!! Isn’t that cool?  He know’s that I have to battle my flesh in order to sit down and read His word so He tells me to ask for help from Him!  My flesh doesn’t want to be exposed to God’s word because Flesh Self doesn’t like to have change and God’s word will transform me to be more like Jesus.  Flesh Self say’s “No thanks, I just want more of everything!”  Saying no to self, although it wears me out is where the battle is won.  Reading God’s Word teaches me to think like Him and not to let my feeling run the show.

So by, by May.  You were the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  By, by school year and hello summer! I have so many things I want to write about and I am hoping that summer means lots of time to write!!!

 

 

I can’t think of anything to write about.

I literally have no idea what to write about.  However, all the experts say that when you are learning to write you have to just sit down and make yourself do it anyway.  They say that developing your writing style is about consistency.  I am nothing if not consistent.  It is my “time” to write and I am just typing whatever comes to my mind.  Maybe this will feel like a roller coaster and you will get a glimpse of what goes on in my head.  Thrilling and scary as heck.

It’s not that Jesus isn’t teaching me and showing up in all different ways.  He totally is!  I am writing a bible study right now on the book of Galatians and He is showing me so much it’s almost like I don’t even know where to start if I wanted to write about it here.  I’m gearing up and in the planning stages of teaching a bible study this summer which is just about the most fun thing in the world.  The kids get out of school in a week and a half.  May is almost over! I am also really tired and overwhelmed and don’t know what to write about.  Plus I spent most of my weekend watching the royal wedding, and am having to play catch up now.  So I am in this joyful, tired, overwhelmed, allergy ridden, anxious state of mind.  And in this frame of mind I find it hard to think of something to write about.

Right now I am listening to the nonrhythmic pounding of a new roof going on my house.  I feel like this could be some form torture.  I mean if they all hammered in sync with their music I feel like this could be the beginnings of a musical.  “Sarah Faces the Day,” by Rogers and Hammerstein.  BUT they do not hammer in sync.  They hammer at random times, from every direction.  Let’s say this has been a challenge to my anxious mind.  My daughters dog, Abby the Labby, is likewise tortured by the banging.  She is hanging out in the goat pen with the chickens and the goats.  The Corgi’s are out there too.  I’m not going to lie, I have gotten considerable joy out of these creatures trying to navigate being together.

The goats don’t want them in their pen because who rules the world? GOATS  The goats want to do what they want to do and they don’t want anyone on their turf or in their food.  Now the Corgi’s are herding dogs.  So a herders going to herd.  This fly’s with goats for exactly 0 seconds before they turn around to head but the Corgi’s.  Then everyone runs back to their corners to come up with a new strategy.  When the Corgi’s get bored with the goats they go and see what the chickens are doing.  I think the Corgi’s feel super bad ass because the chickens run from them every single time.  This also never gets old, but the Corgi’s have to take a nap about every 30 minutes.  I think it is because their legs are only like 3 inches long.  Abby spends her time worrying about what is happening at he house.  She eats her feelings by snacking all day on the goat droppings.  Think of it as chocolate for dogs.

The ducks.  They come running up from the pond anytime they see a human outside of our house because they believe all humans carry kale around in their pockets.  So about every hour or so I have to chase them back to the pond for their own safety.  Also, they are super fat ducks that might make a good dinner for someone, if you know what I mean, and I don’t want someone to slip them into their truck.  Our General Contractor knows the only thing I really care about is the ducks and I told him to tell everyone who comes on this property to watch out for them.  He said he has nightmares about having to tell me someone ran over a duck.  Rightly so, don’t mess with my ducks.

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My sweet daughter got me this T-shirt for mother’s day.

I am about to have to go shower to take Sydney to the Orthodontist.  I never let them miss school for doctor’s appointments but its the second to last week of school and I am tired of fighting the appointment schedulers.  I also appreciate the schools sending out emails asking for the parents help to maintain discipline in the schools as we approach summer.  Listen, my heart is with the teachers for sure.  I really think school should end after the STAAR test is over, but no one listens to me.  It’s all I can do to get these kids up and into the school building to be counted present.  I am normally such an inspirational speaker in the morning.  This comes with the territory if you are morning person like me.  I’m all “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” and “the best preparation for tomorrow is what you do today!”  But right now the inspiration has left me.  I’m actually sleeping in until 6 am right now.(my friends are gasping right now because I usually get up at 4:45)  I don’t even know myself anymore.  I’m like “I don’t care if you want to go, you have to go or I get arrested, goodbye”  We go get Sonic drinks everyday after school just so they will have to slurp their straw and not complain about their day.  So basically we are winning around here.

Well I have done about all I can do here.  I’m sorry if you read this because you are probably in a bad mood now because of all my inspirational talk.  I had nothing to write about and yet still wrote 1000 words.  I guess the experts are right, you just have to do it. Here’s hoping we all make it to the finish line.  I’m holding on to the fact that my best most inspirational self will resurface in August, at back to school time.  I will leave you with a picture of a Gizmo the swimming corgi and my fat ducks, Downton and Cora.

May–a.k.a The Mom Olympics

Do you know why they put Mother’s Day in May?  So that the moms would not pack up and run away halfway through the month of May.  Seriously, I do not get it.  This month trips me up every year.  No matter how much I plan and prepare by the time this month rolls around the wheels have long since fallen off around here.  This month is full of obstacles waiting to trip me up.  I fully know they are coming and yet it still requires bandwidth to overcome them.  I am writing them down this year so that maybe next year they will be lessened.

#1 The End of Year Award Ceremonies.  First, let me say that my kids are amazing.  They are the coolest, smartest and funniest people I know.  I don’t know how we got such amazing kids because we have done nothing but made life hard for these little people and they rise from the ashes like Phoenix’s.  I have no worries about the fact that these kids of mine will change the world….until you put me in an awards ceremony.  Then I get all nervous and worried that I have not pushed them hard enough or I have somehow failed them because they did not get the “Texas All State Best Student in the History of the World Award.”  I panic when I see someone’s kid has made some amazing team, or made it to State, or got elected president.  From the vantage point of my front porch where I am writing this I now that this is stupid.  I know that we don’t have to get every award and I know that my kids love the Lord.  But then I find myself in an Award Ceremony and realize I am actually contemplating stealing some poor kids trophy and I have to stop and remember, “Oh Crap! May got me again!”

#2  The Morning Routine.  I am my best mom self in August.  I pack lunches for the kids that would make any vegan, keto, or organicky person take note.  I include encouraging notes.  I pray for my kids as I am putting their lunches together.  We study the bible together over breakfast.  We pray as a family and everyone sets out on the day ready to conquer the world, until May.  May makes the school lunches of “Chicken corn dogs” look really good.  I find myself saying to the kids, “You love chicken corn dogs, we use to have them all the time!” This is a really hard thing to say as you are throwing up in your mouth at the thought of chicken corndogs.  Bible Study time sounds more like, “Did you read your bible? Where is your bible?”  Prayer time sounds more like, “Get the freak out of my house and go to school!”  Then to have a morning like that and then end up in a stupid award ceremony–GOOD LORD, MAY GOT YOU AGAIN!

#3 Field Day, the day of satan.  Seriously, I think satan invented this.  He was deceiving Eve in the garden and after the curses were handed out, and they were all walking way he whispered to Eve again and said, “You think childbirth will be bad, wait until you have to live through a field day.”  Seriously, schools of Texas, PTA’s of Texas, and teachers of Texas if you are doing field day on my behalf, STOP right now!  I want teachers to get to the summer as soon as possible.  They are all sending out SOS right now because the kids have checked out!  Lets clip field day from the calendar and start summer a day early.   To be sure field day for kindergarten is fun.  But hang 5 years on that and the landscape is vastly different.  You are gazing out at group of kids who are unsure if they really need deodorant yet (that is a YES), who are all arms and legs and clumsy, who are LOUD and full of sugar, and who have checked out because May makes us forget that we are not actually animals but in fact human beings capable of higher thought.  It is two clicks away from a mob.  Do the kids love it, FOR SURE!  Is it my nightmare, FOR SURE!  Every year my kids talk me into coming to field day.  “Mom, I want you there, field day just isn’t field day without you.”  And I go.  And at some point I am reduced to covering my ears because of the cacophony, closing my eyes because someone is going to fall and get really hurt and plugging my nose because of the stench.  I crawl to my car when I am finally released and I realize, “DANG IT, MAY GOT ME AGAIN!”

But in this all God is still teaching me and doing things to make me remember what is really important to Him.  He knows this month is a battle field for me and He loves me so much that he doesn’t just leave me to fend for myself in the darkness of May.  Our theme for VBS this year is “Flipped.”  Ashley says our focus is to teach the kids (and me) that God’s kingdom is flipped from the way the world thinks.  The last if first and the first is last in God’s kingdom.  I am doing crafts for VBS.  One of the craft preparations I have to do is trace, “The last if first and the first is last” and “Jesus is our King” 200 times.  Do not think for one second Jesus did not know what He is doing there.  You know what will happen?  I will be sitting in an award ceremony and all these feelings will come up about my kids not being first and getting the award and He will remind me, “The last is first and the first is last.”  It will be fresh on my mind because of all the tracing. (note: I have a bunch of craft volunteers to help me so I will not actually be tracing all 200 myself but for the purpose of illustration I just put 200. Get off my back its May.)

To future Sarah: the only way to survive May is to look for those things that trip you up and line them up with scripture.  It takes a lot of bandwidth for sure.  But it is the Good Fight.  You have to fight for your focus to be on the Lord or else it is on everyone else’s Instagram, FB and awards.  That does not bring life to your family, but focusing on the Lord does.  The pile of so-called failures that you are left with at the end of the month mean nothing to the Lord.  The fact that you sold chicken corn dogs to your kids is not an eternal problem.  The fact that y’all did not have a scholarly sit down bible study does not mean that y’all don’t love the Lord.  The fact that you don’t love field day does not mean I don’t love your family.  You will survive May or you will die trying.  It for sure feels like the mom olympics, but future Sarah, keep going because it is worth it.

If you are a fellow mom olympian I pray for you to remember you are doing enough.  Your kids are great (they might need deodorant though).  Your family is focused on getting to summer not chicken corn dogs.  And hold on to this, your kids won’t remember half of what you think they will.  June is 15 days away……

 

 

Lessons from Kindergarten Sunday School.

God speaks to me in the most random ways.  I think He does that so I don’t get use to Him teaching me in any one way.  He is like, “Sarah, watch out I’m gonna teach you something here at this lacrosse game.  Hey girl, there is a lesson waiting for you in the grocery store.”  This is why I have to be on the look out, because He will use every opportunity and every circumstance to teach me who He is.  This weekend I was teaching the Kindergarten class, and boom, there He was.

The lesson for the day was “The Terrible Lie,” from the Jesus Storybook Bible.  I got everyone to sit down on the carpet for story time.  I was thinking, “Man I am going to read this with such gusto these kids are all gonna be saved and want to get baptized.”  But, that was not the case because pretty quickly into the story God was knocking at my hearts door and I forgot to read with salvation producing gusto.

 

This part of the story is a retelling of the fall of man.  How satan deceived Eve, and Adam was led by his wife into sin.  From that time every human born is born a sinner in need of salvation.  Don’t believe me? Have you ever met a toddler hell-bent on getting his way? Exhibit A: a sinner from birth.  I love the bible because from the fall of man, the entire story is the story of how God redeemed His beloved creation.

This story is you know, shall we say, dumbed down for kids to understand.  Or as it turns out, put into words that an almost 40-year-old can understand.  Take a look at this:

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I was so struck by these words.  I have always understood that Satan was attacking God’s character with his questions, but until I read this I never really understood the heart of the issue.  He is getting her to question God’s love for her.  I had to go back and look at the big pants, adult, grown up, scholarly text to compare it.

Genesis 3: 1-7

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’ ”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

As I follow the conversation here I see that satan is trying to get her to see that God is holding something good from her.  Satan is throwing ulterior motives out there.  The true motive was to protect Adam and Eve and test their faith.  Satan is saying, “How can you love and trust someone who is just trying to stop you from being as good as they are?  He doesn’t really love you, he just wants you to be lesser than him.”  And Eve bought it.  And so did Adam.

In the storybook bible it say’s that the snake’s words hissed into her ear and sunk down into her heart, like poison. When I read that I had like a moment where my life flashed before my eyes.  All the moments that I believed these words and they sunk down into my heart like poison.  My mouth dropped open, and I got choked up.  I looked up to see 10 little faces, and my own kids, Brock and Sydney, looking at me.  I wanted to scream, “Don’t believe satan little children!  He is such a liar.  He will kill you and take your life.  He will destroy everything you hold dear!”  I restrained myself and made a mental note to leave children’s books to other more kindhearted people.  So we soldiered on.  To this:

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Good God in heaven.  I can’t wait to talk to Dana, my counselor today and tell her I have figured out what my problem is and I don’t need anymore therapy! (To which everyone who knows me says, don’t cancel your future appointments yet.) Whenever the going gets tough, instead of trusting God’s word, I believe a lie that was born in the garden: God doesn’t love me.  It’s so simple and yet so profound.  The ENTIRE bible is about how God loves me and yet I trade 66 books of the bible for one lie that happens in the first book.  The crazy thing is I didn’t even know the depth at which I struggled with this until reading this book to some cutie pie kindergarteners.  This is at the heart of every conflict, every freak out, every committing to something to impress God and people, every attempt to feel worthy, every attempt to make God love me more.  I believe this lie and so I act like God doesn’t love and that I have to earn His love.

I have to come back to His word.  His word, the bible is true when my beliefs or feelings are not.  My mind is being renewed by the word of God.  In this process of renewing I have to line my beliefs and thoughts up with scripture.  If my thoughts are different then the word, I AM WRONG, not God.  That is the heart of submission friends, my favorite thing. (If I say that enough it will come true.)  Check out the following scripture:

Romans 8:38

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

Romans 5:5

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:8

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

John 3:16

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Understanding that He loves me is so important because it is what motivates me to follow Him and do what He asks me to.  If I don’t know He loves me than I am nothing more that a performing hippo in heals trying to impress God to earn His love.  Guess what, that gets old real fast.  Responding and doing things because He loves me is empowered by the Holy Spirit, that does not get old, ever, Yes and Amen!

One more thought.  IF God wanted performing hippo’s in heals, He would not have had to send His Son to the Cross to die for the sins of the world.  If we could somehow earn His favor and Love then satan was right in the garden, God doesn’t love us, we do have to earn it.  But He DID send Jesus to the cross.  He DOES love us.  He WANTS you to believe in His word and live like you are loved by the creator of all the heavens and the earth.  I want that for myself.  I want to live believing the 66 books of the bible that talk about how much God loves me, and NOT believing one stupid lie from dumb snake.

Girls Trip 2018, Yes and Amen!

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I’m not sure if I can even do this justice but I just got back from the most amazing trip.  Me and my besties went to Austin for the Happy Hour Live event with Jamie Ivey.  She has a podcast I love to listen to called The Happy Hour and she wrote a book we all love called If You Only Knew.  Anyway it was the perfect opportunity to load up and head out.  Leaving Rockwall turned out to be harrowing as we had torrential rain and the possibility of hail.  Do you think that is going to stop us?  NO!  Plus I was driving Jesse’s truck so why do I care if it gets hit with hail.  Pictured below are my friends Kelly (passenger seat), Cheryl (behind me), and Ashley (behind the passenger seat).

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Now here is the thing.  You know I have to be honest about the trip right?  Well the first thing that happened was Ashley ripped this door off the track.  Like literally.  Pulled it right off.  Which started a phenomenon know as, “Don’t let Ashely open doors.”  She somehow broke like 4 separate doors in all this weekend.  I’m not sure what is wrong with her.  Is it like a hulk thing?  Is it a frustration thing?  I don’t know.  We took care of opening all doors.

Next was dinner on a beautiful patio with my beautiful friends.   I just love them.  I also love my new top knot situation that we all agreed is good for me.  It is also good because I can live with my bangs if I don’t have to deal with them everyday.   I should pause and mention that I was the cruise director on this trip.  I planned every minute of the trip because by spiritual gifting is bossiness.  As it turns out this is a good thing because these jokers are ALL babies of their families.  Everyone knows younger siblings can’t plan anything.  I’m not sure if they liked all my plans because I never asked I just said, “Get dressed!” or “We are leaving at such and such time.”  Cruise directors don’t ask you what you want to do, they tell you what to do so you have a good time.  The end.

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For sure we must discuss the bat.  We were enjoying our lovely fancy-ish dinner in the heart of the hill country when out of no where, I mean NO WHERE, this bat does a fly by and perches on the wall right by our table.  Now Ashley and I pride ourselves on our animal understanding.  We know that if there are sayings associated with animals you pay attention to them, because that saying came from some experience someone had with that animal.  You know what saying is associated with bats?  I’m quoting Ashley here: “Ever heard of the saying, Bat Out of Hell?”  That’s right folks, bats for sure come from Hell.  So guess what.  Ashley and I are not going to fall victim to that flying rodent.  We swiftly put our menu’s over our heads to protect our hair and brains.  The other two are acting all PETA like.  “Oh, stop, he is so cute.  Why are y’all so scared of a bat?”  Now, I would give one of my children to have a picture of this situation, but sadly I don’t have one because I was defending my life from Dracula.  I am certain the wait staff at restaurant does.  If you see a picture of 2 women with menu’s on their heads on someones social media let me know.  All that to say, I yelled enough that Satan’s spawn flew away, back to hell.

The next day we got to enjoy the spa area of the hotel.  It was just what we needed.  It was still raining so we got to sit in the covered area and watch it rain for a long time.  It was quiet and peaceful and we all thanked God because He knew exactly what our hearts needed that morning.  We praised Him because He always knows what we need.

That night was the Happy Hour Live Event.  First off, my friend Kelly designed these shirts we are wearing.  Y’all, she is so talented.  She nailed us to a T.  We all try to live with a Yes and Amen kind of posture toward God.  I think it is beautiful.  It has to be said also that before the 4 of us left she sent them to another friend of ours, Stacy, who makes T-shrits and she printed them up for us.

When we first got into the event there was a photo booth.  I had to include the pictures of our time in the photo booth because never in the history of all photo booths have there been 4 women less clued into the timer on the photo booth.  I kept yelling, “Make sure you can see your shirt!”  Not until the end did we succeed.  In the trying, we look like we are trying to touch things that should not be grabbed at a Christian event…….Kelly, what are you doing to Cheryl???!!!!  After making quite an entrance we got to meet Jamie Ivey.

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Oh meeting Jamie Ivey.  Here is the thing.  I just love her.  Listening to her podcast helped me learn what it was like to be aChristian woman who loves Jesus, walk the Christian life after I got home from Bible School.  When I got home from Bible School all I wanted to talk about was the Millennial Kingdom, the Hypostatic Union, and the Dispensations of God.  Now, for sure these are my still things I totally geek out over, but she helped me learn that you can have a relationship with Christ and still be free to laugh, buy hair products and talk about Jesus all the time.   So did I share all this with her?  No!  I have had some bad experiences with meeting people I admire. We don’t have to go into them, but I was determined not to come home with a restraining order to my name.  So as soon as I felt the tears well up, I stopped myself and said the only thing that came to mind…”Ashley is rebellious because I keep telling her to show her shirt and she won’t!”  WHAT IN THE WORLD!  I was like Baby in Dirty Dancing, “I carried a watermelon.”  Oh my gosh.  I’m so embarrassed.  Then because I really wanted to communicate to her that I love her I am rubbing her back in all these photo’s.   So yeah, I totally nailed meeting her.

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After the event we went back to the hotel and found a nice spot on the patio to talk and eat some snacks.  I also made them make a goal that they wanted to work toward this year.  I told them we would all commit to pray for each others goals and on our next girls trip we would see what had happened.  Now, I can’t tell you the goals because what happens on the girls trip stays on the girls trip, but I can tell you that my friends are totally bad asses.  We all want to see the Lord move and do crazy big things in our lives.  It was a time where we got to share all the emotions and all the feels.  All the things we were really struggling with.  For me one of them is desperately wanting to be on the Happy Hour Podcast so I can tell Jamie Ivey I am not a weirdo but super cool and love Jesus.  But I digress because we decided I needed to move on.   My heart was over- flowing because I am so thankful they are in my life.  Here is why…

Ashley:  I see you Ashley, running after the Lord.  I see you holding your life up to scripture and rooting out the things that don’t line up.  I see your heart for women who need support.  I see your heart for Selah Creek.  I love your determination and your drive to get’er done.  I also love that you always, always have my back.  If you could see yourself through my eyes you would see a women who is passionate about the Lord, her husband, her family and teen moms who need support.  Girl, I love you and somewhere between 90’s rap and Proverbs 31 is you.  My life is better because you are in it, and I am thankful for you.

Cheryl:  I see you Cheryl, staring down fear and following God’s call.  Good Lord, I love how kind and loving you are.  When I need someone to feel something with me and tell me they are sorry for whatever it is, I call you.  Nothing about what you are doing right now is safe or guaranteed, and yet you go on anyway.  I wish you could see yourself through my eyes because you would see what an encouragement you are to me.  Your drive to seek the Lord and bless others is amazing.  You are the most non-judgemental person I have ever encountered.  The way you love people right where they are at is amazing to me.  I am so thankful for you, thank you for loving me well.

Kelly:  I see you Kelly, your weary body running after freedom.  Not to be dramatic but I think of the dear panting for the refreshing stream of the Lord when I think of the journey you are on.  You will not be quenched with lesser things, you are running after the ONE who will give you rest.  If you could see yourself through my eyes you would see a woman rooting out the slave-masters that don’t give life and a woman passionate about loving others well.  And because I am on a similar journey I thank God in heaven we get to do it together.  Your servant’s heart is amazing to me.  Your nature to let others go first, to serve others is inspiring to me. (I know I make fun of you for it, but its only because I am jealous of your willingness to take 2nd place.)  All this in one person AND I get to teach women’s bible studies with you!! What a gift from God you are to me.  I love you, girl.

And an alpaca.  This is what was funny with this though.  Ashley and Kelly ran back to the room for something when we were at the spa.   They came back and said, “There is an emu in the lobby!” I said really?  And Emu?  Why?  They said, “Don’t know, this guy was leading it around and you could get a picture with it.”  Then they said, “You, know its got a lot of hair and stuff.”  I was like, “Do you mean a Llama?”  They said, “Oh, yeah, it was a Llama.”  When I saw it myself I knew it was an alpaca but who likes a know-it-all, right?  Good call girls.  One is a bird and one is a four-legged creature with hair.  But whatever.  Later, Kelly and Cheryl got a pic with the Emu/Alpaca.

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And just like that it was time to pack up and go.  We had so much fun, we always do.  It is so kind of the Lord to give us friends.  Godly friends, to encourage you and point you back to the Lord when you lose your way.  To encourage you to choose love and not anger.  To enourage you to be yourself and not try to impress others.  To encourage you to run after the Lord.  I get so much from these ladies.  They all pour into me.  Do you ever feel like you could never repay someone for their kindness, yep, me too.  Thats how I feel about them.

Here is what I hope for you, who ever is reading this.  I hope you have friends like this.  I hope you have people around you that know Jesus and His truth.  I hope they tell you that truth when you need it.  I hope you invest in them too.  Godly friendships are so important.

Here’s how they start.  Go to your local church.  Get involved in something.  Every church needs volunteers.  (Check out the child care, every church needs grade school teachers because kids are just like puppies, after they turn 1-year-old, no body wants to deal with them because they lose their cuteness.)  Invest in people.  If you meet someone you hit it off with ask them to coffee.  Take your time, get to know people slowly.  It takes time to open up and share yourself.  It takes courage to share the good, bad and ugly about yourself.  There is freedom in relationships when you are really real with a godly friend.  Beware of the fast friend, friendship takes time and commitment.  Beware of people who don’t point you to Jesus.

If you already have Godly friends be sure your friends can speak truth to you.  With a personality like mine, people can not want to say hard things to me because of my affinity to throat punch and walk away.  I have to be wise and submit (my favorite word) to things they need to say to me.  They have to feel comfortable and like they can say stuff to me.  Why? Because we all need someone to tell us if they think we are off base on something.  God created us this way.  I am expert at seeing other people’s sin, but when I look at myself I think I’m doing pretty darn well.  So does it piss me off when these girls call me out on something? Yes!  But I am learning that this is one of the ways God protects me from myself.  Iron sharpens Iron remember?  It can’t be one-sided either.  They have to want to have truth spoken to them and you have to want to have truth spoken to you.  It goes both ways or one of you is not really in it to grow in the Lord.  Without these people in my life I would not be where I am with Lord because He has used them to grow me.  Thankful heart and very thankful girl to have these ladies in my life.  Here’s to many more Girls Trips…….