Freedom! 

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “The secret strength of a nation is found in the Faith that abides in the hearts & homes of the country.” ~Billy Graham ~ My prayer is that these two precious gifts continue to grow in their faith and hope in God. That they also continue to grow in their love for our great country. My heart is warmed every time that I see them just naturally stand up without any prompting from us, when they hear our National Anthem being played. I pray that they understand that our freedom is not free, that it was bought with a price. I want them to know that even though men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice and still today pay the ultimate sacrifice to allow us to have the freedoms and liberties that we have, it was Jesus who paid the ultimate of ultimate sacrifices for not only our freedom but our salvation too. Jesus died on the cross to save us of our sins.  “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

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When Flour Leads to Prayer

2016-04-22 10.07.14When being out of flour leads to talking to your four-year-old about praying. We never know what God is going to use as an instrument for teaching about him. That is exactly what happened Friday. I had told Taylor that we would make some chocolate chip cookies that he and his sister could take to have at their MawMaw and DaDa’s house for the weekend. This mommy was doing good, I had the butter sitting out to get to room temp while I prepared the kids pancakes and sausage for breakfast. After breakfast I went to get the remaining ingredients for the cookies and that is when I realized that we had every ingredient except the flour. At that moment I knew that the trip to the store was a must and let’s face it……… all us Mommies know that a quick trip to the grocery store is never just a quick trip when kiddos are in tow.

I think we were out the door in record time, I think partly because it looked like it was going to start pouring rain at any moment. So we are loaded up in the car and to Walmart we head. On the way to this really quick trip to Walmart, if there is such a thing as a quick trip to Walmart…….anyways this mommy starts going over the expectations at Walmart. Listening Ears, we are only getting the few things on the list, we will not be walking out with any toys. Then this mommy starts talking God and asking please let the rain hold off till at least until we get home or let it rain while we are in the store but stop let it stop before we leave to get back in the car. Then all the sudden I hear Taylor in a sweet little voice saying “Jesus, please don’t let it rain!” My first thought was they do listen to me ha ha, but I knew in that moment this was the perfect opportunity to talk about how God always answers our prayers according to his will. That sometimes God’s answers are not always how we want them or think they should be answered but that his way is always perfect. We just have to simple ask God for his will to be done. God hears our prayers no matter how big or how small that they may be.

Well God heard our prayers and he answered them, the rain held off! He even answered this Mommy’s prayers and the Walmart trip went great. There were moments of asking for things which is fine but I am just thankful that the dreaded answer “No” did not trigger complete full blown tantrums……this time!!! The rain even held off on the way home from the store. On the way home we continued our discussion on prayers because Taylor says “Mom, look it didn’t rain!” Yes, Taylor God answered our prayers about the rain and God will always answer our prayers but it will not always be exactly how we want them to be answered. Sometimes God’s answer will make no sense to us and we will not understand why and that is okay. God’s way is always right, perfect and for his glory. We need to give God thanks in all circumstances.

 

The Blessed Moments Mom

I needed That!

Today was one of those days that as a mom you are crying on the inside because your toddler is teething and nothing; I mean nothing is going to console her. She wants you to hold her, no wait a minute she wants to be put down, she wants something to drink…….oh not in that cup……..yes that cup…………wait this is milk not juice. I need to nap……………wait no I want to get out and play, oh the life of a teething toddler!  Oh but let’s add in 3 1/2 year old that is loving testing the boundaries and pushing the limits to see what he can get away with. Yes, it was one of those days! Mommy just wanted to escape for a few minutes. A teething toddler meant she took an earlier nap than she normally does. Since she was napping earlier, I decided to have her brother go down a little earlier than normal, since A. he woke up earlier than normal and B. this mommy wanted at least a few quiet minutes to herself. Okay, let’s be honest a few minutes to clean the house. No such luck within 30 minutes of Taylor going down for nap Emersyn woke up. Fixed her lunch and then we were going to play. Apparently, she thought we were going to play outside because she brought me my flip-flops and said “Outside”. She was a little disappointed when she realized we were not going outside and really upset when I blocked of the hallway to keep her from being able to her brother’s room. Yes, she loves to go in his room and wake him up, ah, she just loves to go in his room and climb in his bed. Well she could not make her way to his room, but she managed to wake him up with her screaming. Yes, screaming…..not crying because there was no tears, not even the first little tear. So here, it is 12:15 and on a normal day both of them are napping or about to fall asleep and not one but both of them were wide-awake. I knew in that moment it was going to be a long long afternoon! Later that afternoon when my husband got home, I told him I need just five minutes to myself; I just need to be able to hear myself think. Something all moms can relate too. Into our bedroom I went, closing the door behind me. I went sat in the rocking chair in our bedroom. The Oh so comfortable cushioned oversized rocking chair that I had rocked both my babies in. I grabbed my 3 Minute Devotions for Women book. I decided at that moment, I was going to just close my eyes and pick a random page to read. Well I was thinking I was randomly picking but deep down I knew that it was God’s way of picking the one that I need in that moment. God never fails us and he didn’t fail me in that moment, he knew exactly what I needed to hear.

With joy, you will draw neat water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3 NIV) The prayer at the end of the devotion said “Lord, thank you for saving me. Thank you for being the living water, my continual source of peace, comfort, strength and joy. Cause me to remember that my life is hidden in Yours. Amen

He knew that is just what I need to hear in that moment of being overwhelmed and needing a break. We can always count on the word of God to fill us in the moments we feel empty. Therefore, moms when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or tired turn to the word of God. He is the only one that can fill you up on what you are missing. His word is what gives me strength and it will give you strength as well.  Leaning on the word of God is what gets me through my day.

Mama, Mama, MAMA………I Need You!!!!!!!!!!

Moms we all know those days……..those days where we here Mama, Mama,, MAMA, I neeeeeddddddd you! I’m hungry, I need a drink, find my shoe, I wanna snack, and the famous word Why…….a zillion times a day! the house was still quiet. It was strange not hearing the “Mama Mama, Mommy, I neeeeedddddddd you, I need a snack, find my red race car, here hold this!”  Let’s be honest hearing that a zillion times a day does seem to be irritating at times, but I quickly realized how much I missed that sweet little voice during the day when he is off spending time with his Grandparents. Mom’s savor those moments of hearing those little voices say Mommy a zillion times a day, because it will all be gone way too soon!May Mania 2015 130

Every morning it seems that my two precious children have grown so much over night and not just physically but mentally and spiritually. The deep conversations that I find myself engaging in with my three-year old blow me away at times. A few weeks ago when we closed on the house we had been renting, I had left the house earlier that morning with Taylor and Emersyn to go to the bank and to the grocery store. The conversation that I found myself in with Taylor completely caught me by surprise and blew my mind away with his awareness of the love of God and Jesus. Taylor loves school buses and even pretends my car is a school bus at times. We were passing by the medical office building where Taylor’s “New Maw Maw works, (yes, this is what he calls one of his grandma’s) when Taylor said, “look at that red school bus!” I explained to him that red bus was the blood mobile and that people go on that bus to donate some of their blood. That when people donate their blood it can help save someone’s life. He responds “like Jesus?” Talk about chills coming over someone, Wow that just came out of my three-year olds mouth, I couldn’t believe he was able to put that together and associate it like that. I know I had never even begun to think of linking someone donating their blood to help save a life to the saving that Jesus did for all of us. I told him he was exactly right, Jesus saved us all by the shedding of his blood when he was nailed to the cross. I knew at moment, my husband I were definitely doing something right as parents. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)  Parents, our children are very much impacted by our actions and what we have them engage in……….we need to make sure we have positive impact on our children. We say a blessing before every meal. We hold hands when we are blessing the food or just in prayer together. At bedtime, we read Good Night Devos 365 Bedtime Devotions for Little Boys. The book can be found on Amazon, Barnes, and Nobles.May Mania 2015 102

Children learn from the example that we set and how can I expect my children to walk with God if my husband and I do not demonstrate walking with God. Parenting is not “do as I say and not as I do” We must demonstrate with our actions how we want our children to behave…..key word “want”. Now even when we set a positive example, our children will still make wrong choices and that is okay because those are also learning and growing experiences. There are numerous challenges that face parents. My goal with my children is to do my best to raise Godly children that has the ability to discern the challenges that the world will throw at them. It is our job as parents to teach our children, it is not the role of the world to teach our children.

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I am amazed daily at what God teaches me through my children, especially with my Taterbug. I mentioned early the Good Night Devos that my son and I read at night before bedtime, well the other night the devotion was teaching me patience…literally!  We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT) The devotion was on patience and God’s timing. Taterbug always wants to read the Baby in the Basket, the story about Moses, in his Bible stories book. That night I suggested that we read a different story that night. Now our nightly devotion had just been about patience and timing, well Taylor was taking Taterbug timing picking out a different story to read. God was putting the devotion into action that night because he was testing to see how well my patience was going to be. We never know when God is going to test us. Patience, Patience and more Patience is what parenting requires!!!!!!!!!! The mamas, mama, mama, MAMA that I hear thousand times a day test my patience.

Taterbug: Mama

Me: Yes, Taylor

Taterbug: Mama

Me: Yes, Taylor what do you need?

Taterbug: Mama

Me: WHAT TAYLOR, just tell me what you need to say or ask, PLEASE!!!!!!

Taterbug: Mama…… I luv youuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk about feeling very low at that point. Patience, Patience, Patience when the Mama, Mama, Mama, MAMA comes.

When The Path Doesn’t Make Sense………….It’s God At Work!

The only thing that I want to remember from February is celebrating our sweet Ladybug Emersyn’s 1st Birthday on February 6th. The rest of February I want to forget because it was filled with double ear infections, colds and finally with me having the Flu the very end of February and first few days of March. As we, all know when Mommy is sick the world falls apart…….well the home! After missing several Sunday’s of church and small group class, I was ready to back at Warren on Sundays. Our small group class was doing a study on Gideon and my first Sunday back in class was as if the message was speaking right to me. The discussion of how it was not that Gideon did not trust God; it was that he just wanted reassurance from God that what he was doing was what God really wanting him doing. We are all like Gideon I know I am. This lesson had me doing a lot of reflecting on the events that had taken place recently in my life. Back in November of this past year when I was let go from my job of 9 years, was a huge shock and our family was turned upside down. The lesson that Sunday on Gideon had me reflecting and made me realize that ever since I had gone back to work from maternity leave, I had struggled internally with being away from my children ten to eleven hours a day, five days a week. Other people always told me that, I was lucky because my children were at the school I was working at but that is the perception. Yes, my children were right down the hallway, but the day-to-day details of being an administrator consumed my day. By the time I got home in the evenings, it was time for dinner, bath and bed with Taylor & Emersyn. I had no time to just play with them. I can recall many nights after my husband and the children were sleep that I would just sit in the living room asking God, “Do I need to be looking for a new job? Is this what I am supposed to be doing? Please Lord; give me a sign of what I need to do.” Just like Gideon, I needed reassurance from God. Well I got my answer when I was let go from my job. God’s answer was not in a way I was imagining, but that’s God…when the path does not make sense………its God at work! While it was upsetting being fired, (the first job I have ever been fired from) I have a confession……I honestly had a sense of relief. Yes, I had the questions of oh my goodness what in the world are we going to do financially, we have two children how are we going to survive, a million “how are we going to” went through my head constantly but even through that I still had that sense of relief. Yes, I missed the children at the school, my teachers at the school and yes even the parents at the school, but I still had a sense of relief.

God’s path did two things for me. First thing God’s path did for me was allowed me to be with my children as a full time stay at home mom, something I had prayed about. The second thing that God’s path did for me was because I was home with my children and was not bringing in any income, it made fully put my faith and trust in him and lean on him to know he was going to work everything out for good.

Now I thought that the message in class that day was speaking right to me, but the message this past Sunday was screaming to me. It was as if the message was written just for me. Now remember this was only my second Sunday back in about a month and this was actually the first video of Priscilla Shirer’s study of Gideon that I was watching. The moment she started talking in the video, it was as if the video was designed especially for me. She talked about how we all have something we are struggling with, whether it is finances, our job, our spouse, or even “God I have my Master’s degree and what you want me to stay home with my kids.” My mouth just about hit the ground when she spoke those words. I had chills run through me when I heard her say that. Here I am with a Master’s Degree in Education and home with my children struggling to determine is this what I am suppose to do or am I suppose to be still looking for a job outside the home, will my husband’s new job be enough for us to financially make it with just his income. That was one of those moments when God was speaking to me through Priscilla Shirer’s video session on Gideon. In this video, she talked about how you know it’s God’s plan when it does not make sense, which is exactly what God did with Gideon. In that moment, God gave me my answer, the answer that deep down I already knew, but like Gideon, I just needed God’s reassurance. I know it is going to be hard and we are going to have to work at it daily but with God and through God, being home with my Children is where I am meant to be. Yes, this mom is about to say this, I never thought being fired from a job would be the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I did not know it at the time, but I know it now……I am right where I need to be and that is home with my two beautiful children.

Shenanigans 2015 008(Big thank you to my cousin Kimberly Patteson for taking this amazing picture.)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8 ESV)

God does amazing things in some of the most craziest ways. We never know who God is going to use to speak to us and give us the answers to our questions and our uncertainties. When the Path Doesn’t Make Sense……..It’s God’s at Work!

When a New Door Opens!

IMG_1145Storms come and go and when one door is closed, another door is always opened. What we don’t know is how long it might be before the other door is opened. God teaches us to wait and to wait patiently on him and his timing. Another thing that God teaches us is that when it comes to families the door may close on one spouse that affects the whole family but the next bigger and better door opens on the other spouse that benefits the whole family for the better.

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:25

No matter how we map out what we think our plans are, God has a bigger and better plan that we may never understand. This past weekend was the Women of Warren’s, Women’s Retreat in Hilton Head. I passed on going to this for two reasons; the first financially and second, yesterday was a big birthday celebration for Aunt Marion at her church. Well I missed out on both due to being bit by the flu bug and this flu bug bit me hard. I knew I need some rest but the Lord’s plan of me getting rest was not the plan I would have chosen. This is one plan that God had that I don’t understand, don’t think I ever will, or ever want to know. 

 The Lord opened a new big and better door for our family that begins today. My husband Joseph starts a new career move with a position with Club Car. Now if you had asked me, did I think this new career move would start with our two children at their Papa T’s & Mama T’s house while I recuperated from the Flu…………….my answer would be “No?” That is exactly how this new door was opened and how we walked through it today. This will definitely be a day I never forget as long as I live. New career move for my husband, me recuperating from the flu and our children quarantined at their grandparents, yes, God has a sense of humor.

The Lord hears our prayers and he will answer our prayers, it will just be in his perfect timing.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

 Blessed Moments Mom

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What I learned from a Cake!

We decided this Christmas to start a new tradition to make sure that our children understand the real meaning of Christmas and that is the birth of Jesus Christ. Our new tradition is to bake and decorate a birthday cake to have on Christmas Day to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Everyone needs a birthday cake to celebrate birthdays.  What I did not expect is that what I thought was going to be a teaching tool for my children, turned in to a teaching tool for this Mommy.

God always chooses unique and interesting ways of revealing something he wants to teach us. Well my learning experience came through baking the birthday cake for Jesus’ birthday. I got all my ingredients together to make the cake…….an actual homemade cake with cake flour, not Betty Crocker or Pillsbury box cake mix, but an actual homemade cake, homemade even down to the butter cream frosting for the cake.

So here, I was ready to make the cake. I followed the directions on the box of cake flour. I coated the pans with that non-stick spray, the spray that says for baking because it contains the flour. My perfect looking cakes were baking in the oven, while I was finishing wrapping some Christmas presents. The timer went off and my beautiful golden-colored cakes were done and just need to cool off. I placed the two pans on the cooling rack for a little while before I removed them from the pans to finish cooling off. The house was filled with the heavenly aroma of fresh-baked cakes. The time had come to remove the cake to from the pans to finish completely cooling off.  Now, I had used that non stick floury spray many times when I baked and never had a problem, not even once.  Well, I’m not sure why that day, but that is the day God decided to teach me something that I was not expecting. The non-stick spray that had always worked, did not work that night. Well at least it did not work for one of the cakes. The first cake came out of the pan with no problem. The last cake decided it should split in to two pieces. Here I was trying to bake the perfect cake to help teach my children the true meaning of Christmas and it had split in half. I was fighting back the tears.  I covered my three cakes, (yes I said three cakes remember my nonstick spray was not so non-stick and my cake split into two pieces) so that I could put the homemade butter cream frosting on the cakes the next day. I think I will never forget that night.

The next day I made the butter cream frosting. Good thing I forgot we had two bags of powdered sugar in the pantry and bought a third bag of powdered sugar because it was going to take a lot of butter cream frosting to salvage this cake. Well if it could be salvage. The butter cream frosting became glue to hold the split cake together. I frosted the bottom layer of the cake. It was time to place the second layer of cake on to the bottom layer of cake. Here’s where the mounds of frosting comes in. There was so much space between the two layers of the cake. I used the frosting to fill in those gaps. If anything, this cake would make someone go into a sugar coma with the amount of butter cream frosting.

I finished frosting the cake and decorating it with red and green sprinkles. I stood back in amazement of what this cake revealed to me. That cake represented what many people do, myself included. Many of us feel broken inside from time to time but we do not show it. We dress it up, we put make up on it. We put on an image that everything is okay and beautiful. Looking at the cake that I had baked and decorated you would never know that the bottom layer had broken into two pieces.  While we try to hide our brokeness from everybody, there is always someone who knows it is there and that person is God.

This cake me realize that I am just like it, broken.  If I am to be honest, there are parts of me that are broken and are in the process of trying to heal. With it being two months since I was let go from my job, there is still a lot of raw emotion that is trying to heal but is frosted and hidden from the world. Behind the makeup, hair and clothing my heart is broken.  A job I had for nine and half years came to a screeching halt. In those nine years, I watched children come in as infants and graduate out as middle schoolers. The biggest hurt in all of this is the confusion and frustration it has caused Taylor. He had been at school since he was six weeks old and several of the children had grown up with him.  Now all the sudden he doesn’t see them every day. Bring on my frosting again, I put on the image of I am doing okay, but the truth is I am broken and I am angry.  Getting letting go from my job did not just hurt my family financially it hurt my son emotionally. While I’m in the kitchen, I can hear him in his playroom pretending to be teaching the class. Another time he was sitting at the table eating his lunch with his dad and I heard Taylor tell Joseph “he and Baby Emersyn need to go to school, yeah that’s what we need to do” This mommy was laying on the couch because she was not feeling well. All I can say is after hearing that, the tears started flowing.  Letting me go did not just affect me it affected my children. Wow God is powerful in his teaching. A simple broken cake managed to teach me about how many of us walk around with the persona that everything is okay. I once read, “God can only be in control, when we are out of control.” I know that he has big plans in store for my family and I that will be revealed in his timing. Psalm 27:14 (ESV) Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in your Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. This is going to be my motto for this year.

It is important to know you may never know the storm that someone went through or is going through. We should never pass judgment because we never know what storm the God has just brought some one through. So if you see me or anyone else with our hair done, makeup done and dressed up,and that we have the image of everything is great, you will not know what our family have went through or are going through. Philippians 4:6-7 (ESC) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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The cake that you would never know is broken into two pieces on the bottom layer.Christmas14_NewYear15 006

The Blessed Moments Mom