Monday, March 31, 2008

My dog snores

Well, it's Monday - I love Mondays. I don't have to work on Mondays and I usually have a quiet house all to myself on this day. nice. But, as I sit on my couch, I hear my dog snore. Loudly....and consistently. She always snores. She does this at night too. Sometimes I wake up thinking Kevin is snoring...but no, that is just my dog who sleeps with me on my good, 500 thread count sateen sheets. She is spoiled, but we love her! She is a member of our family. We talk about her and her funny habits and personality. We worry about her if she seems to be hurt or sick. The boys love her and we can't imagine our family without her. She turned 9 this past February. She is even turning a bit gray around the nose but don't tell her we've noticed. Ladies don't like that.

Abby is our dog's name. She is a Miniature Dachshund who is not so miniature these days. She truly has a place in this family. We miss her when we are away from her. Every time any one of us see a picture of a dachshund, you can bet we'll all Awe and talk about how cute that dog is. We are just dachshund people. I love the soft side I see of my boys when they are with Abby. They show kindness and gentleness when they talk with her or snuggle with her. They can play rough with her too, but more than that, they love on her! She in turn, looks forward to 3pm each day when the boys come home. She knows.....she will get some attention and she has had plenty of time to rest while they have been gone.

When I work from dog is happy. She loves the company. She loves knowing I am with her. Don't get me wrong, I know that she is a dog.....and does not have people feelings. But, I know when my dog is happy or sad and when she is having a good day. a good day.

Here are a few things I've actually learned from Abby;

1. Never get so busy that you do not enjoy a fun Sunday drive in the car with the people you love. Ride along if someone asks...It can be fun! What else do you have to do?

2. Snuggling on the couch is the best. Why would you ever sit apart from someone who can keep you warm?

3. Don't ever try to hold back your excitement when you see people you love. Wag your tail....or in our and offer happiness when friends and family approach you. Let them know you are so glad to see them. Get up and greet people when they enter your home or yard! Be happy!

So deep on a Monday morning! I guess I still need more coffee.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

We totally ran away this weekend!

Wow! It is Sunday night and I feel totally refreshed. That is not hard to do when you've had a weekend away. Kevin and I left Friday to have some total adult time. We are blessed with family and friends that don't mind looking after the boys so we can leave occasionally. The boys feel like they have special weekends too!

We excitedly left Birmingham on Friday afternoon. It only took us about 30 minutes to unwind and put on some driving music and totally.....check out mentally for 48 hours! We met Kenny and Kelly at a resort in Florence, Alabama overlooking the Tennessee River. It was awesome. We need to do this every so often!!! You know what I mean? As parents, we are better when we make time to refresh and be just with our spouses. Being with other couples is good too because sometimes, those other couples bring out good things in us. The picture above is from our movie night. We all piled up on the couch in our jammies and just enjoyed a movie! Total fun. Not the most amazing picture of me....but that is totally fine. I looked much cuter earlier that day when we were shopping around in Florence. This is me 'looking totally comfortable with who I am and where I am'. I LOVE THOSE TIMES! Ken and Kelly bring that out in Kevin and me. They are good for us that way.

Too often we feel guilty if we leave our kids for time alone with our spouses or friends. We feel we are taking time away from them. But we need time away ever now and then to recharge and be refreshed. When we get away, we are also showing our kids that time alone for mom and dad is important. We also show that the love between a mom and dad is important and requires time alone together. This is one of those things that can help set examples for our kids showing them....this is what you need to do when you get married. We want that for our kids right?

Do you ever wonder what your marriage will be like once your kids are gone? Sometimes I do. I will be quiet...or what will we talk about? Getting away with Kevin, is an encouragement to me. Weekends like this remind me that when that day comes, we will be just fine. We'll laugh, play cards, take walks...and just enjoy each other like we did this weekend. So now, I encourage you to take some time, go away for a night or a weekend with just your husband. Take another couple if you want, but no kids. They'll be fine.....and they won't miss you as much as you may think they will!!! Don't wait - our days and years go by quickly and we must make the most of every day.

Psalm 90:12 from The Message translation reads;
Teach us to live wisely and well! Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.

Lord, help us live each day to the fullest as each day is truly a gift from you.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!

My friend Pam volunteers at Save A Life. Each week she has an opportunity to talk with girls who find themselves in a situation where they think they are pregnant. Some are...others find out they are not. The one thing that most of them have in common is that they are seeking to abort their babies if they are in fact pregnant.

The girls come in scared, but after the volunteers talk with them, pray with them and show them a sonogram of the life growing inside them, they are awakened to what is happening inside them. Life. Last night the speaker told us that 9 out of 10 girls will choose to keep their baby once they see it on the sonogram. When they see the baby, they see that the baby is moving....and it is a real baby. Not just a pregnancy.

I was so proud of my friend Pam last night! She is the mother of two very active kids, the wife of a busy Doctor, a leader in her church, a leader within my Tres Dias organization, a friend to many (I mean one who does lots for others!!) and she still finds time to volunteer each week. She says that she can't imagine NOT volunteering. The Lord truly fills her each week that she gives that time to the girls...and to Him. That encouraged me to be sure I am finding my areas to serve too!! How about you? :)

The most staggering statistic I heard last night was that two thirds of all abortions in our country are from girls who are professing Christians. We are talking millions of babies. Why? Are they scared about what their parents will say? What their friends will say? Has Satan really convinced them that killing a life inside them is better than getting in trouble or re-arranging their life plan? Oh, I want to just hug these girls. They need's going to be hard for them. If you know someone who has been through this, love on them....share God's grace with them.

As I listened last night, I thought about all the teenage girls I know. That my sons know. As I thought about them, my heart began to ache, thinking that one of these girls I know could end up in a situation like this. You see, as I get older I am astounded at the people I know who have been through this situation. It touches all of us. You might not know it...but it does. I remember vividly a friend of mine, from a good Christian home, that had an abortion 17 years ago. She was engaged, but scared of what her mom and dad would say. Her dad was a deacon. I can tell you that it is still hard for her. She has been blessed with beautiful children now, but each time she sees my son - who will be 16 in May. Her heart aches, and she remembers. I remember with her. What could have made a difference back then?

Psalm 139:4 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

God creates life - Satan does not. He destroys. Do our kids really understand that God creates life. It doesn't just happen because of a sperm and an egg. He ordains and makes....every life that has breath. If we share this more with our kids, would they realize the value more? Would teenagers that find themselves in early pregnancy situations be more inclined to see their problem pregnancy as another person?

I want to talk with the boys more about how they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Though it's not talked about as much, there are teenage boys who will grieve later in life because of an aborted baby. The clear answer, is for our teenagers to not have sex. Period. Let's all be sure we preach that first. But let's love them through their difficulties and create atmospheres where even in the hardest of situations, they can hopefully come to us for help and they always reach for the grace and love of their Heavenly Father who will never leave them or forsake them.

I am now going to make breakfast for my boys, who are most fearfully and wonderfully made. I will tell them this too!! They'll roll their eyes I am sure....and laugh.....and say 'whatever mom'. But I know, that when I place God's word before them, it enters their minds and their hearts. The word is always at work!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Who makes the cut?????

Ok.....this may sound harsh, but our kids have got to cut their list of friends. Looking through their myspace and facebook pages last night I see we've added new friends! I ask my son, do you know that girl? No...they are a friend of so and so I am told. Oh....why are they listed as your friend??? My son asked me if he was just supposed to tell the person no, I will not add you to my friend list. I very quickly told him yes...that is what you say. But our kids feel mean telling other kids no. Are you in this same situation? If you are, please tell me what you tell your kids. I've tried to explain the dangers of online predators, and how we have to keep our online friend circles small. But my kids have heard this so much, they just tune it out. It's just mom being mom. They feel they have a perfect online world because danger has never touched them directly. I've shared stories I've read with them and they've also heard things from their DARE officer at school or the school counselor. But still.....they are different. They always are, aren't they?

So...if you have extra time, look through your kids friend list today. Take a moment to look through the groups they have joined if they participate in Facebook. And....maybe some of the page elements they have added. Did you know you can add a feature to your Facebook page that is a survey of "what drug you are" or "Your Stripper Name". Yeah...all kinds of fun stuff. Kids think they are being funny. They don't see the slow process of desensitizing that is going on. Remind your kids, those things are not necessary. They don't belong on THEIR pages. The written page on a myspace or facebook account should still reflect the heart of someone who knows Jesus, and believe me.....Jesus would not be asking what their drug of choice would be...or for goodness sakes what their stripper name would be....if in fact they were a stripper. For the love.......

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How do you teach your child to lead?

You know, this one is for me today. I think about how I want my children to grow into strong leaders. Young men who make good decisions and influence others in the right way. Even when it comes to manners and so on. You putting spoons on our noses when we are all dressed up in a nice restaurant. Just kidding....that is who we are as a family! I can dress us up....but we still get silly and have fun. So, that is not what I am talking about right now. I am talking about the decisions we make that affect our witness or ability to speak to others about God. I read a verse this morning that spoke to me about this.

And here you yourself must be an example to them of good deeds of every kind. Let everything you do reflect your love of the truth. Titus 2:7

How straight forward. How perfectly written. How perfectly written for me. As I teach my kids to be leaders and examples themselves, I too need to be sure that I am living as an example of someone who does good deeds....of every kind. I need to be sure I am reflecting MY love of truth in all that I do. ALL THAT I DO. We never stop learning, falling and receiving grace. Thank you Lord. We all need to strive daily to walk right, walk with the Lord in all things. Every day is a new opportunity. I am so thankful!

While we teach our kids to be one thing.....let's be sure our lives are showing that one thing we are teaching. Like I said, this one is for me today. Maybe you too. If we are teaching our kids to be courteous to others....are they hearing you gripe in the car when someone pulls out in front of you? Do we (me) drive the speed limit? Not everything is a big choice....some ways to be a good leader and an example is to pay attention to the smaller things! Yep.... good deeds of every kind. Let everything WE do today reflect our love of truth.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Morning Send Off

I wake up pretty early. It's how I'm wired. If I don't have my quiet time and soft music, coffee...whatever, before others wake up, I don't quite feel ready for the day. I'm pretty grumpy if things don't happen that way. I admit it! I need that time just for me. The other hours of my day can be chaotic and are filled with people who need me to do something. So, I wake early, while it's dark to find an hour that is just for me. I offer that one hour to God, and he totally gives me what I need to face my day. My husband is somewhat the same. So, after I've been up a while, I wake him so that he can enjoy his coffee while he reads his chronological Bible. That allows him to wake up too. Because I know this, I make sure he has enough time when I am organizing my morning. I can do this....because I've been up. :) Being a mom can be hard. Why should we have to wake before everyone else? Huh? That does not seem quite fair. Some days....we want to sleep through the snooze. Been there? I have. Well, those days never go very well. They are the days that are rushed in the morning, I'm grumpy, the kids are just tired and frustrated and there are few joyful words spoken. I don't enjoy or want those mornings. So, my choice is to make things different for me and my family because I love them. I love my God too.

I encourage you today, to find a way to make your home the most peaceful it can be each and every morning. The mornings I wake early in our home.....are peaceful times in our house. I know that God honors obedience to him. When I wake up, get out bed and have time with Him, He pours himself into my heart and mind. I am then ready to take on my day, and the problems that may come with that.

I encourage you to find a time that works for you. Set your alarm clock so you can wake an hour before your family needs to be up. Take time to have your coffee and spend time with the Lord. Play soft piano or praise music. Read a devotion or a passage in your bible. If the Lord speaks to you through writing....take time to journal. I can tell you the mornings are my time....they fuel me. I would be a crazed maniac without them. I NEED them and now that they are just part of my daily routine....I crave them. If you are not already doing this, please try it. I can guarantee He will bless you with a morning of peace in your home. Your spouse and kids will also be blessed and they will be able to start their day without the frustration of a rushed parent. Imagine that! Our attitude can determine their day. Have you ever noticed that? I want to try hard to send them out with joy and love. It's hard enough for them as it is. Share with me how you make your home peaceful for you, your spouse and your kids. I want to find other ways that create time and take away stress from my family. We have enough stress.....let's get rid of what we can!!! So please, comment if you have a suggestion!!!

Colossians 3:12 "As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience"

Sunday, March 23, 2008


What a beautiful Easter Sunday!! I hope the weather was as beautiful where you were as it was in Birmingham, Alabama. I have enjoyed every part of this day! The entire weekend was good. We had Kevin's parents come for a visit. They arrived on Friday and we enjoyed a wonderful Good Friday service. Saturday we enjoyed family time and some competitive Triaminos. And today, a wonderful Easter Service together. I also have say that also on Saturday night, we had good family time as we colored our Easter Eggs. Egg decorating was wild this year. As the boys get older, it's less sweet and cute and more about who can make the craziest egg. Or, who can smash the other brother's egg first. But...even with all the craziness, we are making memories. That...brings me to tradition.

My son Scout talked alot today. He liked talking about the many things that we do year after year at family gatherings and holidays. Actually, my dad arrived carrying a gallon of Milo's tea and that pretty much started his rant. Scout said that I never buy Milo's tea unless we are having a family dinner or it's some holiday. I guess he's right. I am not sure I ever noticed that small fact. But he sure did! But while noticing, he noticed many other things we do as tradition. What is tradition really? Here is the definition I found for tradition;

Tradition - the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.

Without written instruction, that intrigued me. While it intrigues me, it also inspires me. I feel like that is what we are doing! You know exactly what I mean, don't you? The way you do things during holidays is the way they are suppose to be done...... right? Like, if you go to another home for a holiday, and things are done differently...there is a part of you that kind of feels like it's just wrong. Admit it. We've all been there.

Our family traditions are important to us because in some ways we count on them to take us back. Back to fond memories, familiar places and feelings of security. That is what my son was saying today. He was enjoying all the many traditions of our day. Some of those traditions are food related. Others are decorating eggs and having certain decorated eggs year after year. I found it kind of funny that as we were decorating our eggs, Scout was not good with Kevin deciding to forgo his 'traditional' spider man egg. Scout decided he would make one and proudly proclaimed that he would carry on the 'Johnson Egg Tradition'. Even as I type this, I realize how many things he has pointed out over the last two days that are special to our family.

You know, there are certain things that I count on as 'tradition' as well. At Thanksgiving, I love my mom's cornbread dressing. At Christmas, I enjoy my stocking from Kevin. He knows exactly what I mean by that. It's always special for me. On family trips, I love stopping at a gas station and getting my Diet Dr. Pepper and some Fritos BBQ Twisters (that is my road trip tradition). There are more...but I won't bore you with those. I am just trying to make the point that we all have things we consider tradition that we look forward to and we hold dear to our hearts.

Traditions make our homes feel special. They are also what make our home different from others. I could see today as Scout was talking about our Easter traditions and family traditions in general that he found comfort and joy in those things. It is something he is sure of. I hope those memories are things he'll remember and smile about when he has left our home. I want our home to be a safe, fun, loving place where they will one day leave...but will enjoy returning (OFTEN) for holidays because he loves his family traditions.

As we raise our children, I think traditions are one of the best gifts we can give them. Customs and examples, handed down from one generation to the next. I really believe that when we take the time to make these moments happen, not only our children, but our spouses and family members feel special and grow closer together.

Today, why not ask your family to share their favorite family traditions. It can be for any holiday. Just ask. If they have a hard time coming up with one....don't feel bad, just start one. When is the next birthday? That is a perfect occassion to have special traditions that are unique to your family.

I love my family and have had a wonderful Easter Sunday with you all! Thank you for such a special day!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Teaching our children about Easter

Today is Maundy Thursday. For all you baptists out there.....I didn't know what that was until I married Kevin. His dad was a preacher within the Methodist church for 40 years. Believe me, they know what Maundy Thursday is. I know the Easter Story - and the timeline. I was brought up celebrating Palm Sunday with palm branches handed out at church and then the week previous to Easter being a week of reflection. Then, Good Friday takes us into the Easter weekend right? No....we first come to Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper. The time where Jesus washed the feet of his diciples. The Maundy part comes from the mandate that Jesus gave at the Last Supper. John shares with us this mandate when he wrote the words of Jesus in John 15:12 "And now I give you a new commandment, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you love one another". That means even when it's hard and even when their feet are dirty. He washed his friends stinky, dirty feet.

I must admit I run through Thursday of Easter week usually checking my list to ensure my kids and family have the right attire for Easter Sunday. I don't want to be at the mall this weekend. There are way too many people getting Easter outfits and shoes. A couple of years ago, I found myself approaching Easter weekend and I had yet to go buy a new dress or anything new for my boys. As I was stressing out over this, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and say 'It's not about new clothes, it's about new life. Have you forgotten that?'. I had. I get wrapped up in the man made traditions I lose sight that the new clothes and easter baskets are tradition....but the Event....My Saviour rising from the dead....that is what I celebrate. He doesn't care that I have a new dress or that my boys wear color coordinating shirts. That is about me. These situations are where I have to think, Shannon - are they going to remember how they celebrated a risen, living Saviour or how their mom freaked out trying to make them look perfect? They will notice these things, you know it's true.

Today, I will make a point to remind my boys about The Last Supper. We'll talk over dinner. If you have the movie The Passion of the Christ, or anything else that depicts the Easter Story, watch it as a family. We need to be emotional about this week. We need to feel it....not just hunt eggs. A father gave his that we could live. He doesn't care about new clothes or new shoes. He wants us to receive the gift. The gift He willingly gave all because He loved us so much. The gift of new life. Our kids need to see that thankfulness in our lives so they understand the holiday is about so much more than what Target or Walmart tells us.

Let's give a gift to our children and share that message with them. If you feel adventurous, visit a church that has a Maundy Thursday service. There are plenty out there.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I am so thankful for His gift. Have a wonderful Maundy Thursday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Romance & Love......sigh........

Yesterday, Kevin took the boys to Blockbuster. They were so excited to bring home a movie just for me. My boys know I love any movie about 'love stuff' as Max would say. Enchanted is now out on video and if you have not seen it. You so need to. It is cute and so funny. My family and I went to see it while it was in theaters. I laughed....almost cried...and walked out saying...Was that not the best movie ever??? I sometimes forget I am in a family of all boys!! Like all girls, there is a part of me that was created for romance. I love it...long for it and am totally swept up by it. There is a scene in the movie where the princess (who has found herself thrown into New York - away from Fairytale world) is singing and dancing Disney Style in Central Park. As she twirls in her gown and tiarra, she sings the following song;

How does she know you love her?
How does she know she's yours?

How do you show her you love her?

It's not enough to take the one you love for granted
You must remind her, or she'll be inclined to say...
"How do I know he loves me?"
"How do I know he's mine?"

Well does he leave a little note to tell you you are on his mind?
Send you yellow flowers when the sky is grey?
He'll find a new way to show you, a little bit everyday
That's how you know, that's how you know!
He's your love...

Man sings...
You've got to show her you need her
Don't treat her like a mind reader
Each day do something to need her
To believe you love her

Everybody wants to live happily ever after
Everybody wants to know their true love is true...
How do you know he loves you?

Well does he take you out dancin' just so he can hold you close?
Dedicate a song with words in
Just for you?

Because he'll wear your favorite color
Just so he can match your eyes
Rent a private picnic
By the fires glow-oohh!

He's your love...

That's how she knows that you love her
That's how you show her you love her

That's how you know...
That's how you know...
He's your love...

I took out some of the repeating words...but I think you get the picture. I love this! I can just imagine all the girls who watched this thinking...."YES! That's what I want!!!". Then, the boys thinking, I am so not doing that! Whatever THAT is.

Just hearing my boys talk, and ask me questions reminds me that I have to be able to talk with them about romance. I can help teach them what romance is. I am their first inside look into a woman's heart. They can learn from what I share with them. Why shouldn't I give them that advantage? For instance, my boys have learned that women like to be complimented. Just this past Monday, Kevin and I were going to a concert so we were dressed to go out. As we were saying goodbye, Max said "And where are you going mom, looking so beautiful?". I had to laugh...but I was quick to say thank you! Reaffirming that great behavior! Always tell your mom she is beautiful! Right??

Anyway, I have a book to recommend for raising boys and helping them learn to be good dates as well as husbands. Preparing Him for the Other Woman by Sheri Rose Shepherd. A Mother's Guide to Raising Her Son to Love a Wife and Lead a Family. The book challenges us as mom's to think about the type of husband that our sons will be. The book shares how we can help him learn to become a hero, express love, the art of affirmation, respecting a woman and much much more! There is also a chapter on how we can prepare ourselves for that other woman too. (Um...that means how to turn him over.....COMPLETELY) I will probably re-read that one over, again and again until it happens. I feel I might need some help with that one!

We all want to live happily ever after - the little girl in us is still there. I have a sign in my bathroom that reads, and they lived happily ever after. I've told you...I am a romantic. I love the fairytale ending...not to mention tiarras. I believe if we can raise our sons to recognize that romantic desire in their future wife, their role as The Prince will be a bit more defined!

God created romance - and He longs for our hearts as women. I love this verse. It captivates me. Read the whole Psalm if you can. But this particular verse....since the first time I read it, I can't forget it. Christ loves me and because he so loved me I will live..... Happily Ever After.

Psalm 45:11 The king is enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Spring Break Experience 1990 - MTV Daytona

It's amazing what a difference 18 years can make! When I think back to what my life was like this time 18 years ago, I can't help but think how the culture has changed. MTV is a great example of that. In March of 1990, I was living with two girls that were going to Samford University. Both of whom I met at my church. We had a great group of friends, and I still see one of those girls ever year. I wish it were more often.

Anyway, Natalie was one of roommates and her parents lived in Daytona Beach, FL. Can you say Roadtrip? My other roommate had a convertible so that was definitely part of the trip. We thought we were something. We packed up (over packed) and headed south with a car full of girls and a car of guys that followed. We all stayed with Natalie's parents. All 9 of us. Natalie's mom loved having a house full and we enjoyed her cooking and the fact that she did all of our laundry before we left. that I think about it, that was pretty amazing.

At that time, Daytona was the location for MTV's Spring Break show. We were so excited because on stage that week was Salt 'N Pepa (you know you remember them) Chaka Khaun and Vanilla Ice. We had a blast and kept all our clothes on too! Hmmmm, what a concept.

Fast forward, and a change of scenery. MTV now sets up camp in Panama City, FL. I can't even imagine the lives that are being changed this very week because of some bad decisions that will be made. Kids, making adult decisions and not having the ability or desire to see what is ahead of them. Some, will have guilt, shame or even physical consequences due to activities they involve themselves in. Some kids will be hurt or worse, somebody will die because of carelessness while under the influence. A very dark week I am sure.

I was talking with my oldest son about how things have changed. It was an actual, back in the day conversation. It all started with us talking about his friends that are at the beach this week, and some things they've talked about. His confused feelings on why they are doing certain things, how his friends are changing and then the all important friendly debate on cussing. I told him that 'back in the day' I could probably count the times on my 10 fingers that the F word was said in front of me, either in person or at the movie theater. Not that people didn't cuss, but that there were limits what words you would use. Today, that word is a favorite. Go to any locker room and you'll hear it over and over. Nick says that you hear it so just DON'T hear it anymore. Oh...that hurt my heart. Then, with much emotion he shared with me that he feels weird about about some of his friends and how they view girls. One of his closest friends has a new girlfriend of only one week. The guy shared with Nick that they 'made out' this past weekend. Nick said that he talked to his friend about rushing things and that making out after one week was probably a bit fast, etc. But, his friend pretty much told Nick, he was good....pretty much liked the arrangement. Yes...most teenage boys would.

I can see the battle raging within my son. The one who created him is calling to him. The one who wants to destroy him is always present. Waiting for an opportunity to hurt, wound and derail. It is serious.

As a mom, I can pray for him, love him, talk to him, laugh with him, discipline him and provide a safe place and loving home where he knows who he is, and who he is called to be. I can be consistent in what we allow to come into our home so that I reaffirm standards that he is testing out and evaluating right now.

What I DO NOT need to be is a wavering parent. I do not need to try to be his friend or give in to things that I know are not good for him. He needs a parent, not a friend. Goodness knows he has plenty of those right now.

The culture is different now than when I was 15. But I know there were dark things around me back then too. I am so grateful when I look back and see how the hand of God has been present in my life. The people God placed in my path to rescue, encourage and disciple me. I sometimes have a fear that comes over me when I think that my kids will mess up and make the wrong decisions that will bring hurt into their lives. One day, I was expressing that fear to God. I think it was more like, "God, what if they mess up and walk the other way from you?" As sure as I am sitting here, I heard him speak to me. He so sweetly said, "Then I will be here for them, just like I was for you". calming that is for my mama heart. A heavenly father, who will never leave them. Who loves them more than I can ever try to love them. That is amazingly hard to fathom.

The culture may have changed and the peer pressure may be greater and more intense than it was 18 years ago. But our God has not changed. Aren't we thankful?

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Movie Reviews Worth Reading...especially for boys.

Hello Friends! Just a reminder that at the bottom of this blog you'll find some great links to timely, informative information. There are a couple of reviews that would be good if you are looking for spring break entertainment. I was somewhat surprised by the review on 10,000. I know this one is of major interest to my boys, and I think after reading the review, an ok movie to see.

We saw Horton Hears a Who this past Friday night. As we entered the theater, I saw a friend of mine with her family. She went on to tell me that she recently heard an evangelist speak on the spiritual aspects of Horton Hears a Who. I laughed. I reminded her, it was after all Dr. Seuss, don't get too deep with it.

While watching the movie, I became overwhelmed with the spiritual parallels within the movie. Though funny and entertaining, this is one movie that could definitely spark conversations with our kids as to how God sees us and who we are in the big scheme of things. So....go to the bottom of the blog - learn something new this week.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Do you even know why we wear green? I didn't...until now!

Hey ya'll! It's St. Patricks Day!!! I almost forgot.....I guess because I've been at home today, I've avoided the "Are you wearing green" comments. We are going to a concert tonight...and I am sure I will see a plethera of green. I will wear something shiny and gold to be different. I just tend to enjoy that. Ok, my sis-in-law does not know that I am copying her blog, but I so enjoyed it and I thought you would too. It's good to know where this holiday came from. You'll enjoy her writing. She is VERY talented - beautiful too. Visit her blog for other creative writings that are sure to inspire you!!

Monday, March 17, 2008
Why do YOU wear Green today?…

Today is March 17th. Saint Patrick’s Day. Those who don’t want to be pinched will don their green attire. The Chicago River will be dyed green. There will be many celebrations tonight. I personally will be wearing my favorite green sweater, and shamrock earrings - not just because my parents decided to name me and my brother Irish Names: “Kelly” and my brother “Shawn Patrick”!

But, why??? Today, I celebrate “Saint Patrick’s” Day differently than most. March 17th is about a man. A humble, godly man. St. Patrick was born to Christian parents, around year 385. At age 16 He was captured and sold into slavery and sent to Ireland. Although he ignored the faith that his parents brought him up with, those seeds his parents planted came to fruition during his time as a slave, where he began to pray around 100 times a day while spending lonely days as a sheepherder.

After a dream gave him a plan to escape, he spent the last 30 years of his life evangelizing, preaching the gospel - saving many souls from a bleak eternity, and planting churches.

Because of this man’s love for the Lord, love for people, and a desire to see people set free and know real truth, Ireland was fully converted into Christianity and was the only country in Europe to Christianize peacefully.

Here’s an excerpt from Saint Patrick’s “Confession of St. Patrick”: I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, and that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth, just as he once promised through his prophets: ‘To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, “Our fathers have inherited naught but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.”’ And again: ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth.’

Wow. St. Patrick isn’t just a small man wearing short green pants dancing a jig on the cover of a Lucky Charms cereal box! But he is a man that we can model ourselves after, that gives us inspiration.

I will wear my green today in remembrance of the same gift, the same call that God gives to all of us.

Being Different

We are just home from a great trip to Atlanta with our youngest son and his buddy Cameron. It was a great trip. Lots of fun stories as you can imagine with both Max and Cameron all weekend. As we drove into Atlanta, we were shocked to find that a tornado had ripped through downtown (where we were) the night before. Much devastation and was kind of surreal.

Luckily, we had good weather the rest of the weekend. Today, was perfect as we spent it outdoors in the sun and enjoying Stone Mountain Park.

When we got home, Nick and Scout were eager to talk about their Winterfest Trip. Scout was talking mostly about his walking around Gatlinburg time with his buddies. I so remember that. I did that same thing when I was in the youth group. Total Dejavu when I hear him talk. Nick talked alot about that but also the sessions and his take on what the Evangelists had to say. He also talked about what he disagreed with and how he felt that some was not exactly what he believed etc. You know, he has a grounded faith. Well, let me rephrase that - he is being grounded in his faith. I am glad to know that he thinks and really evaluates what he hears. He is usually pretty willing to discuss things he questions and talk about his feelings about the Holy Spirit, his walk with the Lord or if he feels far from the Lord. I like that he questions when something does not sit right with his 'soul'. I want him to seek truth and find answers in the Bible along with talking to me, Kevin and his youth leaders. It is my desire that he feels it is ok to ask WHY we believe specific doctrine and WHY WE DON'T believe other doctrines.

I'm reminded that as a parent, we have to give our kids space to grow into their own person. Meaning, I don't want to force all of my opinions on my boys and expect them to make them their own. If my kids just accept my thoughts, they don't really have their own opinions do they? That includes things of a spiritual nature as well. I don't want him riding on the hem of my spiritual walk. That in itself will not develop into an authentic, personal walk with the Lord. They need to have their own walk. He talks to them, just like He talks to me. They have to learn to hear Him.

So I am learning, it is ok if they disagree with me. However, they must obey and respect me. (A Biblical Command) But...I know there will be things they don't agree with or that they will have their own ideals about. I want them to learn to express who they are as long as it is rooted in truth and is accurate to what the Bible tells us, I'm good.

This photo reminds me of just how different my kids ideals can be when placed next to mine. This picture was taken last year. Like every year, we sat around the table to decorate Easter Eggs. It is a MUST that everyone participates. Corny...but the mama in me has to have it! I love this time with my kids. We have the egg decor standards that come back each year. Among our decorated eggs, you will find Spiderman, Spongebob, the cute egg with flowers and a monogram (ok, that one is mine) but they are always representative of our family in one way or another. I remember Nick doing the eggs in this picture. When I saw them I thought....KISS....are you serious....I have KISS decorated Easter Eggs on my table??? But then, I remembered...the Easter Egg is not Holy, in fact, it is something fictitious that we hide in the grass and yard that we may or may not find during the hunt. My son...had a KISS fascination last year. I'm just glad its over now. He thought the eggs were particularly cool. In fact, I remember how proud he was of his art work. At that moment, I needed to remember we don't have to sweat the small stuff. It was really ok.... He was participating in a family activity, and HAVING FUN! That was a good thing!! Sometimes we have to look at things differently and don't react negatively just because it was not our first choice or what we would have done. Not everyone will decorate with flowers and monograms! Thank goodness. As our kids grow into self thinkers...they WILL challenge us. But as parents, we need to look at their hearts. What is there? Is the right thought there? Maybe at times our kids just need a little help navigating the way, and we can help them get there. It may not be the way we would have done it, but they can sometimes only learn through their own experience.

The crazy KISS Eggs - The thought was the same as my own or his brothers - we were celebrating family time during Easter. That in itself is all good.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What's in your jammies?

Today is Palm Sunday and while we are still out of town, I wanted to take a quick moment and put this up for anyone who might be interested today. Another borrowed piece from my friend Shelley. Please let me know if you visited her site! I am sure she would want to know as well. I love this's like God created this situation so that we could have a visual of what it means to be armed in the Lord.

This is something visual especially for boys. I think about how my oldest Nick is very in tune with visuals concerning weapons and fighting. You see, a part of him thinks he wants to follow in Kevin's footsteps and join the USMC after highschool. Gulp...can't think of that right now. Anyway, what I am saying is that we need to remind our kids daily that their struggle is not one they can win on their own. It is not a fight they can win with weapons. This fight can only be won by His spirit. Are we teaching our kids how to be armed? The armor of the Lord - maybe it's time to bring out that scripture again. When was the last time you read that to your kids?

April 10, 2007
Fight the Good Fight!

It’s Easter morning and my 2 year old son is padding down the hall in his footed pajamas… so cute and sweet and quiet. Until I hear this clunking sound. It’s not the cats, it’s not the gerbils, it’s coming from my son’s pjs.

I quickly stop and kneel down to his level, “what are on earth is going on?” I wonder outloud. More clunking. As he walks there is this noise with every step he makes. I immediately unzip the footed pajamas… he exclaims, “My weapons!” All this stuff falls out. I mean, a BUNCH of stuff. He had slept all night with random household stuff shoved in his pjs, as he stated, his weapons from whatever bedtime game had been going on 12 hours earlier.

At this point, I am just cracking up. He was so serious. How uncomfortable had that child been as he slumbered? How did I put him to bed with all this stuff in his pjs? Crazy. Just absolutely crazy! As I thought about this and continued laughing about it (honestly, his expression was INTENSE when it came to these “weapons”) another thought occurred to me. What weapons do us grown ups have stashed in our footed pjs… the uncomfortable ones that we tolerate because they seem to offer a great deal of therapy to our hurting souls? Alright, we all know the Sunday School answers here… gossip, backstabbing, drugs, sex and rock and roll. But really, what else are we toting around, ready to use to our advantage when the opportunity presents itself? Many people see the way they were raised, their life circumstances, or their emotions as being just too big to overcome. These “things” quickly become weapons, fighting off any good that might come from these situations. They are classified as strongholds that keep us in a gridlock, anticipating the battle but never allowing it to be fought.

I believe spiritual battles are fought over random household stuff we stuff in our jammies. They are only won when God unzips us and offers freedom a fighting chance.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

Something Borrowed

I've asked my friend Shelley Shaw if I could post something 'borrowed' from her blog. I have enjoyed her blog for a couple of years now. I love the way she writes and I always find myself encouraged in the Lord from her words. She and her precious family live around the corner and we used to go to church together at Hunterstreet Baptist. Shelley teaches Ladies Bible Studies as well as many other things....she has a sweet way of seeing what is important in any situation. So, as you read this.....I hope you hear what I heard as I was reading it for the first time. Savor every day with your children....they grow up way too fast!!! If they are still pretending.....jump in there with them and take captive every moment. Here you go....Enjoy! If you want to read more, she's got lots. Please go to the link for her blog at the bottom of the page.

May 16, 2006
Growing Up Sassy
Filed under: kids, Real Life Stories — Shelley @ 10:12 pm
So, Melodi came into the world knowing how to talk. She very soon learned the art of imaginary friends, to be honest, she couldn't’t have been more than two and a half when Sassy came on the scene. In fact, our precocious child named her imaginary cat friend Sassy… Sassy was the one who always seemed to be in trouble. She did lots of things and mysteriously disappeared, leaving only Melodi to answer to Mom or Dad about what might have happened. We have laughed about Sassy for a long time now but she’s still an active member of our household. Now she is held in high esteem as Melodi tells tall “tails” about where Sassy might have been, what she’s been doing, how famous she is becoming. Seems like she’s not the scapegoat she used to be (we have a brother to do that job now) but rather Sassy is living the life all little girls (and big girls) dream about. She is fun and never out of fashion and can do the most amazing things!

We recently had to come to grips with the death of our family cat and somehow Sassy came up in the conversation. We commented on the fact that Sassy is still with us and always would be… I mean, imaginary cats don’t die right? Leave it to the precocious one to point out the obvious, “Well, Mom, you know the older I get the more Sassy does go away.” I wonder if Sassy heard my heart break in her imaginary world.

Tonight Melodi Jayne Shaw proudly danced on the stage in the BJCC Concert Hall. She was at her recital dress rehearsal and decided the best part was being backstage. I’ve cried about alot of big (and little) steps this wonderful child has taken and tonight was no exception. There she was way up there and there I was in that big auditorium wondering where Sassy the cat was. Instead, I saw a young girl who was fun, never out of fashion and doing the most amazing things. It was Sassy dressed like Melodi. Or maybe it was Melodi dressed like Sassy.

Sugar Babies Rock! :)

I have to say, that today…it's kind of rainy….and usually I LOVE those days. Today…not so much. But, I am smiling because I received an awesome picture from one of my sweet sisters ( we are known to some..The Sugar Babies - a story for another day) This picture just made my day. The picture was from a girl's night out that ended up in a slumber party at Mel's house. What fun! We had a blast. Receiving this picture reminded me I am thankful for good friends. So today, if you are kind of blah because its all rainy….think about your friends and smile.

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” Henry Ford

I am glad to say that I have 7 girls in this picture that bring out the best in me! How blessed I am…… thank you girls!! You mean so much to me!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

True Reflection

I ran across this picture of my boys and found that I was totally enthralled at how accurate this is for my two oldest boys. This was from Thanksgiving Day when we played a huge game of flag football in a field behind my brother and sister inlaws house in Nashville. We had a blast - there was hot chocolate, plenty of food and much fun going on. For those too cold...the parade was on inside. Something for everyone!! So when I saw this picture, I immediately had fond memories. But then, I began to look closer at the fact that Scout and Nick are truly racing. They are running with purpose against each other. I wonder what they were thinking. The look on Nick's face is one of determination. He IS going to block his brother. I am sure this was probably right after Scout caught a pass and ran it down the field for a touchdown. That was sweet for Scout. Nick and Scout always seem to be running against each other. At times, we see them enjoying each other for a bit. But on most days, you'll find them on opposite sides of the field. I know there is competition between them. And, as I've said before - they are VERY different. I wish I could get them to understand (Um...we've tried many times) that they truly are wasting years of memories when they don't take advantage of the time they have together right now.

Sometimes, Scout can say NOTHING right - and other days Nick is the meanest brother Scout can imagine having. They each complain about the other one. To other kids, they are both amazing friends. They are giving, patient, considerate and other people. But to each other, they withhold those emotions on most days. Why?

1 Corinthians 13:4&5 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.

If you know me and my children, please feel free to remind them that love does not seek to harm or ignore others. Love does everything that 1 Corinthians 13:4 & 5 says. It is a challenge teaching siblings to love each other. Sounds crazy, but sometimes it is true. We are committed to reminding our boys of this and we will take any help you can give!!!

Wow....could this picture speak any louder? Let's just hope they don't get they get older! In all seriousness, they are GREAT boys. I just want them to realize the friend that God has given each of them within each other.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Mom, did you know Zoey is going to have a baby?"

That was my answer when I asked Max how he was doing the other day. I've actually been meaning to comment on this. Truly, wondering if any of you with girls have been answering questions from your sweet girls out there. Max was totally appalled at the thought of a teen movie star having a baby. Quite frankly (because we did not discuss the logistics) I'm not certain if he knows exactly what happened....just that she should not be having a baby...while she herself is still a baby. He seemed much older than 9 asking me this question. Was not embarassed in the least! It was just the way it was. Anyway, after I told him that I did hear she was going to have a baby and that I thought it was sad. I told him she was probably feeling scared too. I don't want to just judge in front of him. I was thinking it was a good time to teach some empathy too. You see he has jumped on this train of judgement (that I jump on too from time to time) but need to be reminded that yet by the grace of God and some smart choices.....I could be where any other struggling person is. I've been that struggling person at times too. So, I want to be careful about throwing those stones! So as I was sharing my compassionate thoughts with him, he said, "Mom, she is going to turn out just like Britney". Good grief....I'm thinking....What all does he know about Britney? He is only 9 and we don't have her stuff in the house! So, I ask the question, "Max, what do you know about Britney?" He replies, "Mom, everyone knows she does drugs and she does not want to be a mom anymore". Again...sadness. We talk about that for a moment. I also want to be sure I am careful when I address these situations because I want my kids to learn kindness to everyone, especially those who need it more than some. Some day, it may not be a celebrity who's doing drugs and who is pregnant before its time. It might be their best friend or a family member. I need to teach them through these situations with media the ideal of how we should handle situations like this as Christians. In all things....we are teaching. Basically, I am reminded that my kids know more than I think they do and they have conversations when they are away from me that I would probably never dream of. I need to constantly ask the question, did you know...and did you hear. I want to be the one explaining current situations with them. Just because he is 9, I can't assume he does not know these things. I remember Kevin and I having to talk to Nick about sex in the 3rd grade after he asked a girl in our neighborhood if she had sex with her boyfriend. We were totally shocked! After talking with him, he thought that sex meant kiss. Oh....that at least made us feel better. He felt more empowered too. After our conversation, he proceeded to tell us that Joseph had no idea what he was talking about! We need to be the source of correction and knowledge for our kids. A great resource that we have used is a series of know your body books from Lifeway. You can start as early as 7. Sex and all issues related should be something that you talk openly about in your home. If we don't, our kids will constantly turn to their peers and they'll think they have the correct information. Open communication. That's what we have to keep open. Even when they ask us something that TOTALLY shocks us....pretend it does not...don't react crazy. Just take a moment, gather yourself and choke out the best answer you can...with a smile of course. Then, go grab your spouse or a friend and totally let go if you need to.

Oh, to wrap up the conversation with Max - we finished our chat on Jamie Lynn and Britney Spears. We are walking toward the door of the restaurant and Max says, "Mom, I guess Jamie Lynn might be ok, but what are they going to do about Lindsey Lohan? You know..the girl from Herbie??" I love being a mom!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Back from Birmingham Tres Dias #18! What a great weekend!!!

I am just back from a Tres Dias weekend. If you aren't familiar with Tres Dias, I URGE you to visit my local Tres Dias Group website. The website, is kind of dated - but the group is nothing short of authentic and totally amazing. So, just get past the cheesy clip art! Anyway, Tres Dias has truly been an anchor for me in my spiritual walk. It's not magical - Tres Dias itself does merely a tool that Christ uses to make an impact in the lives of Christians. Like me! I love these weekends! We spend quiet time with God - We are silly - We are crazy - we dance....yes DANCE late at night and just have a ball! All while we learn to put into practice the many calls' on our lives when we become Christians. I think you get's just 3 amazing days with God. Anyway, my 15 year old will be serving at his first Vida Nueva weekend this coming April. Vida Nueva is a Tres Dias weekend for teenagers. Nick made his walk back in the fall of 2007 at Birmingham VN #4. Our Tres Dias community started our VN community about 4 years ago with the help of an already established VN community in North Georgia. I can tell you that Nick is so excited to serve. He will start his team preparations meetings in one week.

I was thinking about how some of my closests friends have come from this community. Kevin and I made Birmingham Tres Dias Walk #2. I can honestly say Tres Dias has given me not only a closer walk with the Lord but friends, that are irreplaceable. Friends I know...I'll have for a lifetime. I am excited that my son will have this too through VN. I encourage you if you have teenagers to look into VN. In an age of playing church, our kids need to find other kids who practice authentic Christianity. I believe VN is one of those places.

If you want to find out more about Tres Dias or even Vida Nueva, please let me know!!! I would love to talk with you more.....

Alright....I've been out of town for a few days, there is much to do.....I better get going!

Psalm 138:1 Lord, I will thank you with all my heart; I will sing to you before everyone!

Lord, I do thank you for an awesome weekend. Thank yor for all that you have done!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Two in one day....but good grief

Ok, this will be quick - but I am at home - getting ready to go on a church retreat and listening to a news show. The subject - the latest American Idol buzz about two promising YOUNG stars that have scandalous photos of them roaming around the internet.

Ya'll - we cannot tell our kids enough that what they put out on the internet is NEVER private. Pictures that seem fun at the moment and among 'friends' are NEVER a good idea. The book I talked about a few days ago, Logged in and Tuned Out talks about just this. The author, Vicki Courtney explores the idea of how kids posting things on Myspace and Facebook or where ever can come back to haunt them when they apply for jobs, (recruiters now search applicants on Google images and stuff like that to see what comes up) or even run for office or win beauty pageants. We've seen the controversy there too many times!!

Anyway....let's just keep checking their myspace and facebook pages and THANK YOU to all my friends who tell me from time to time what they find on my kids pages or about my kids on other pages!!! Let's keep each other informed!

That game is insane!!!

Before I start this blog....I have to say, I am laughing because I just looked through my photos to put with this blog. I had intended to put on of Max playing Guitar Hero that totally cracks me up....and then i found this one. Kelly is my sis-is-law and she is totally crazy! I love her....and this just made me smile. I think I am going to know if she reads this blog - because I'll hear from her I am sure. If my phone starts singing 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA - I'll know she read it! But in talking about video games...this is case in point that we all love them!! Right? Kelly, we won't even talk about the fact that your 9 year old nephew can beat the two of us with his eyes closed. What fun we had!!

Alright, on with the blog of the day! How do you feel about your kids video games...or do you totally trust what is out there?? I look at some of the games my kids play...and some they want to play....and there are times I just cringe. I wish I could ask the makers of Guitar Hero 3 why the girl guitarist can't seem to find jeans that fit her. I could help them her.....just get her some jeans that are long enough to cover her thong, or put her in a thong especially for low rise jeans...they make those. I am sure they are very comfy with the jeans that you really can't sit down in anyway. Total picture of comfort...but anyway, they are out there. There is never a need to show everyone what kind of underpants you are wearing....ON PURPOSE!! Anyway......that was my rant for the day.

Game of choice among Nick and his friends - Halo 3. They like to play online together. The XBOX live deal. It totally amazes me....seriously. The fact that you can be playing with your friends while you are in 4 separate houses.....that is so Jetson's. You know? Very cool. But there are other games, like this new Bioshock game. I'm not a fan. Very similar to the Halo game...but some creepy stuff as far as the characters, voices,graphics and story line. I wanted to find out more so I went to James Dobson's website From there, you can look for links to movie/game reviews etc. I also encourage you to sign up for a free newsletter that is from Plugged In. You'll get some great free information on this site and within the newsletter. Sign's free. Anyway, follow the links to game review and you'll see one for Bioshock. I'm not a fan. Here is a piece of the review;

Yes, in an era in which the majority of games are developed, marketed, sold, played and discarded with nary a deep thought of any kind entering anybody's head, BioShock is exceptionally stimulating. That doesn't make it exceptional, though. Far from it. To deserve such an accolade, a game must have more than artistic vision and engrossing gameplay. It even has to do more than merely make you think—or grapple with the differences between life and death.

Constant drug use, obscene language, high levels of violence and gore, warped spiritual worldviews ... and the perverse idea that one might be able to benefit from murdering children: these are the kinds of things that are often ignored when people—be they grizzled game reviewers in dim cubicles or fresh-faced teens hanging out after school—get to talking about video games. BioShock vividly reminds me that they shouldn't be.

I put the link within the on that to read more!

The game choices that are out there vary. Some are fun and our family really enjoys them. The Wii has great game choices and it seems to be more family oriented. For XBox - they always seem to be pushing the envelope. I feel we have to be on our toes and really look at what is coming into our house. This Bioshock game crosses many lines for me and I thought you might be experiencing the same thing. Especially if you have a teenage boy in your house! Unfortunately, this game has been in my house for a couple of weeks now. I was told... my son that it was really just like Halo. Not true. Needless to say...this game is leaving my house. The story within this game is dark and has some whacked out seeds that are being sown into the minds of way too many children. Read the review. Tell me what you think. I want to know!!

You know, there is only one way to look at this and other things we are faced with daily. It's so hard...and I guess it really shouldn't be. But as parents, we want to give our kids the latest and greatest stuff, don't we? it really great for their spirit man?

Phil 4:8
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The End of an Era.....sigh.......

Well, you may have heard the sad finally happened. Brett Favre retired from The Green Bay Packers. I am somewhat shocked at how this made me sad. I joking predicted this event before last season. Kevin and Scout were very quick to tell me that would not happen, and they were right. To their delight, we enjoyed a wonderful 2007 Green Bay Packer Football Season. It was awesome! If you did not see the playoff game at Lambeau Field where Favre was covered in snow and loving every minute of it....truly missed a game!

For our family, Packer games are cause to celebrate. We even go to early church sometimes just to be sure we are home for kick off on Sundays. Seriously! We love getting together with Kevin's brother Ken in Nashville along with Kelly and our nephew Alec. Kevin's parents enjoy the games too. If we can get everyone together...that is big. One year for Superbowl we all met in Atlanta for the weekend just so we could all be together for Superbowl Sunday! What fun! The tailgating food is flowing....brats for everyone! It's a good time.

After school today, I broke the news to Scout. He was so sad. Emotionally, it took him a moment. He was hoping for one more season. He would and he has defended Brett's abilities against other QBs. After Scout heard the news and composed himself - I handed him a stack of Favre football cards. You see, when I heard the news earlier today, Kevin told me that Scout had looked at some cards at the trading card shop the other day and it might be a nice surprise to go pick a few up for him. So, after work I stopped by the shop to see what I could find. I introduced myself to the store owner and reminded him I was the mom of the boy always looking for Favre cards. His face lit up as he said, "You're Scout's mom. Wow, I thought about him when I heard the news today". I was shocked he remembered Scout, but then again, we are there quite a bit...usually looking for one player's card. Go figure. Anyway, he went into the back and came back with a stack of cards that he said he didn't think Scout had. He then told me I could have them all for $20. That was a deal...I took them!

When I handed the cards to Scout, he was so touched. He gave me a big kind of mushy and so appreciated the gift. I knew he connected with the thoughts that went into that gift. He felt cared for and special.

I was reminded today that even though I may not totally understand the depth of emotion one of my kids may feel for something, I can give them my attention and care about their feelings and situation. Scout doesn't know Brett, and this is not a life changing ordeal we are walking through. But Brett Favre was my son's favorite...and he is really bummed right now. If I can't care about the little things my kids walk through and get sad about, how can I be effective in the big things.

Showing our kids we love them and truly care about them means that we walk through their hurts with them daily and that we take them seriously. We know they'll get through these situations....but at that very is everything to them. The Proverbs 31 woman knows this. She takes time for her kids and her husband too. She speaks kindly to her children with understanding, she doesn't discount their feelings. I have to admit, I don't always live up to this. Today, thankfully was a good day. I hope for many more good days to follow.

Proverbs 31: 25 - 29

She is strong and is respected by the people. She looks forward to the future with joy. She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind. She watches over her family and never wastes her time. Her children speak well of her. Her husband also praises her, saying "there are many fine women, but you are better than all of them".

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Manly Things

I love manly things. I do! What I mean by this is that I love that my boys like manly things. I enjoy seeing them totally get into hunting and stuff like that. Maybe it makes me feel more feminine...I'm not sure. I truly embrace being a boy mom. Maybe because it's all I know....or maybe because God has placed that passion inside me. I'll go with that answer. My friend Julie and I talk about this alot. You see, we both have a house full of men. It's always loud and crazy and neither of us would trade it for anything! We enjoy paintball days as we watch our husbands and boys shoot each other and try to steal the flag from the other team. It's so much fun. I actually need a paintball Saturday sometime soon! It's almost getting too can Julie and I drink coffee and watch them play if we don't have at least a small chill somewhere! I'll have to talk with her soon about this!!!! Anyway, this past weekend Kevin took Nick on a pheasant hunt with some other men from our church. It was great. Not only did they come back with 6 pheasants, but Nick came back with so many stories and memories. He loved being with all those men. I am thankful he has respect for men that are his elders and that he recognizes their authority over him. With each of our boys, I want to be sure we are teaching them to have respect for their elders. I find that the younger generation is truly misplacing the ideal of respect. So many young adults feel respect is something you give only after you've received it. Something is wrong with that. I want my kids to give it freely to others, even when at times they may not deserve it. Sometimes you have to give respect in spite of age, position or anything else that you feel should go along with the courteously of respect. You know? When I think about that, one of my most favorite verses in the bible comes to mind.

Philippians 2:1-4
If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (The Message)

I love that! Could this be any clearer? I mean, it says it so plainly. If Christ's love has done anything for you.....anything!!!! Put yourself aside - how awesome is that? I want to teach my kids to do that...I want them to see that in others too. Lord, help me to show that each day as I live. Sometimes it's hard...but because you have done so much for me - it's the very least I can do!!!

Looking for a good book?

Hello Friends!!! Let me first say I am having MUCH fun writing these fun little blogs. I also enjoy your comments whether you are posting them or emailing...thank you! I wanted to get something out today regarding the resources some of us have been talking about. There are a bunch of books out there....but I have a few favorites. Vicki Courtney is an author that has written many books on raising her children. Mostly girl related...until she wrote a book not too long ago called Your Boy. One of the first books I read that made me think yeah.. this is such good stuff that can actually help me in raising my sons. She gets it in my opinion and has a parenting style that helps us all learn to parent in today's world. I like her. Well, one of her newest books,
Logged On and Tuned Out
is perfect for learning about your kids generation. It covers everything from myspace to facebook and other online opportunities. She even talks about text messaging. I definitely recommend that one. check that out when you have a few moments for more information on all of this!

If your child is going to have a Myspace or a Facebook - this pretty much means that the parent also has one. If they are posting things for everyone in the world to see, the parents definitely need to keep up with it too! We've told the boys that they need to represent themselves as Christian young men at all times. So, if we ever find anything that is to the contrary, they can lose all privileges. They are responsible for telling their friends the same thing. Meaning - if they have friends that insist on posting foul words, pictures, or anything we disagree with, they will be the ones to endure the consequences. We want them to feel responsible for telling their friends that offensive behavior will not be tolerated. We also tell them that nothing is private on the Internet so do not publish words that are hurtful or harmful about anyone. Even if they might be joking - you have to be extra careful because posted words are words that reach farther than you probably ever expect. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face....DO NOT TYPE IT!

A basic rule - that we figure our kids know...but a good one to check and brush up on is check the information that our kids are giving out. For example, Nick has used Myspace and Facebook for while now. We've been over the basics. Looking at his page about 6 months ago I guess, I found out what color hair he had, how much he weighed, his city, school, after school schedule etc. I was shocked! I told Nick if I was a predator, I would know exactly where to find him and what he looked like! He changed it, but to be honest with you, there is a part of Nick that thinks I am ridiculous when I bring up stuff like that...because he truly believes that could never happen to him. He is invincible remember.....aren't they all? So, that just means we have to keep thinking for them at times in situations like this and stay on top of what they are putting out for the whole world to read. Remember, its our job to teach them how to use it....they'll be out from under our roof soon enough and we have to make as much stick as we can.

Well, that is all for today - pick up the book - or at least visit Vicki's webpage on being logged in and tuned out! It's a good one.

And you know what? If your kids are always logged on..... log everyone off one night this week and play a game as a family! Laugh until it hurts....and remind them that they have fun parents!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Teaching a boy to love a girl....

You know as parents, we teach our kids the right manners, obviously right from wrong...and the spiritual truths of course. However, as my boys grow up I become even more aware of how we teach them to be future husbands and fathers themselves. We all know that they look at us as authority and we hope role models too...but what kind of role models. I don't think of it often - though important - that when my boys see me, sometimes they that what a wife/mom/woman is supposed to look like? Now, of course they will marry someone they fall in love with, but if we as mom's model good examples of who we are called to be, they will look for the right people and something inside them will click if they become involved with people who aren't necessarily good for them.

Having boys, we are focusing more on the side of how to cherish and respect a girl. How to treat her like she is special and all those things. In our home, our boys see this firsthand. I am blessed to be loved by an amazing man. Those of you who know him, know what I mean. He is crazy about me and never passes a chance to tell me so. Sometimes I think that because he is always that way...I forget that is not the norm. I have had eternal displays of love for me etched in wet cement at many gas stations, on church stage name it. It's actually a game during musical season at church. Four letters and a symbol.... KJ (heart)SJ. That is what he paints/draws, reminding me that he loves me. I see this at a gas station on Acton road - right by the pump - Kevin loves Shannon. How fun is that for me? I am not that crazy...but I do leave notes for him on an old mirror in our bedroom. Our boys see this - they roll their eyes. But they know that their dad loves their mom. They see us cuddle on the couch, dance in the kitchen and have date night. That is so important. Now, I could tell you something else...but I am not sure it stays within the realm of things you should post on a blog for others to see, but it would be quite funny. But, maybe Max singing that awesome song Viva...something....just wouldn't be appropriate. You know, I wish they wouldn't make catchy songs about crazy products....anyway, let's get back to the subject at hand. What I am trying to say as I get caught up in ways my husband shows his love for me is that our boys see that we have fun and that we love each other. They in turn, look forward to getting married and plan to have fun. I hope they see that when they get married, they are to keep pursuing their love and keeping romantic gestures a part of their life. I don't want them to think that once they 'catch her' the chase is over. As women we long to be pursued. That is how we are wired, I am thankful I have a chaser.....

Scout, Max and I were home alone last night and we enjoyed my latest show of love from my man. I have begged for a long time to have a TV in my room. Just to enjoy a movie or some quiet tv when Guitar Hero 3 is blasting in our family room and flows into most every other area in our home. That's all.... Anyway, before Kevin went on a hunting trip with Nick - I received a wonderful flat screen TV that is pretty enough to kind of fit in my girl room. So its Friday, Max, Scout and I are all cozied up in my bed. All Max said is, Mom, I am so glad Dad is in love with you. He gives you good gifts. You know, he is right! He does.... and I wonder if Kevin knows he is giving our boys a gift. The living example of a man who loves his wife and truly cherishes her. Kevin is teaching them daily how to be a wonderful husband.

Kevin and I love to go to bookstores - and just read, drink coffee, look around. Well, around Christmastime, we found a devotion book for couples that we bought. Songs in the key of Solomon. It is written by well known Anita Renfroe ( women of faith) and her husband John. Inside we found many romantic devotions that remind us and married couples to connect in romantic ways each day. I am reminded that I need to do that more. I want our boys to continue seeing a love that has sparks in their parents marriage. What about you? If you are not getting enough....oooo you two.....that is gross comments from your 9 year old....maybe you need to turn up the romance too. :) Just saying.... Read the scripture below, if this is not something you want to read with your spouse.....take a heart check and go away for a weekend alone - no kids. A healthy marriage is just as important in your home as keeping your kids away from bad movies, language, drinking and drugs....I promise! :)

(The man) Oh my dear friend! You're so beautiful! And your eyes so beautiful - like doves!
(The woman) And you, my dear lover - you're so handsome! And the bed we share is like a forest glen. We enjoy a canopy of ceders enclosed by cypresses, fragrant and green. I'm just a wildflower picked from the plains of Sharon, a lotus blossom from the valley pools.

(the man) A lotus blossoming in a swamp of weeds -that is my dear friend among the girls of the village. Song of Solomon 1:15-2:2