Friday, March 28, 2014

The fake smile.


What is fake?  I struggle with the idea of people being perceived as fake, especially in the church.  This has been on my heart for some time now and I had this whole thing typed and ready to post when I hesitated.  It sparked a long conversation between a good friend and I.  But I held on to my words thinking I did not need to share…until last night’s Bible study.  We are doing a study by Angela Thomas called “Living Life as a Beautiful Offering”  and what did she talk about this week?  The fake smile.  Yup.  How we have all gotten so good at it.  How we go through the motions and put it on so no one sees our truth.  Our brokenness.  Our hardships.  Our hurts.  We want so much for someone to see past that smile and just scoop us up and know what’s on our hearts but we bury our struggles for whatever reason.  Pride, shame, or for some, just not wanting to be a burden on others.  The point is, we don’t know what’s behind that smile.  We don’t know the driver behind why they hide their struggles.  Only God knows their pain and hardships and he wants them to come to him with it.  He wants to cut right through that fake smile and into their soul  and comfort them. 
So when I see that smile, I know it all too well.  Yes I smile a lot.  Heck I’ve got a lot to smile about.  I’m very blessed.  But I smile just as much because I’m pushing down a hardship too.  A hurt.  Brokenness. 

So what is fake?  Is it fake when you turn on a smile and take a deep breath and walk in a public place…anywhere, much less a church?  I say no.  Why?  Well because I don’t see a fake smile.  I see struggles.  I see real as real can be.  I see reality because at any given point I have been or may be right there in those shoes, with that same forced smile.  I see the single mother struggling to get homework done, supper cooked, baths taken, ball games, dance practices and bed times met,  I see the father without work trying to figure out how he is gonna make ends meet for his family this week, I see the woman writhing in pain over a disease that has taken over her young body, I see the addict that is struggling to overcome an addiction so he smiles as to not draw attention as he prays to God to take this from him,  I see an embarrassed mother dealing with a toddler in the middle of a tantrum,  I see men and women leaving their own families week after week to reach out to do ministries for other people’s children and other men & women just to try to make an impact and effect change in the lives of others despite illness and pain that is going on at home.  And all the while, I see smiles on these people’s faces…every.single.one.  Why?  Not because there is not hardships in their lives.  Because they are happy in Christ.  They have chosen to press forward.  To cast their burdens on him.   To not carry them on their own.  To not burden others with them.  To be a light to the world.   If that is fake, sign me up.   In my discussion with my friend they brought up a valid point, what about those that appear to be one in one environment (at church for example) and another way somewhere else (like at work)?  Well to that I say perhaps they are being who they strive to be, the best version of themselves at church or in the positive environment they are comfortable in and then when they are not in an environment where they feel  supported they don’t feel as strong.  They want to be but they are just not there yet…it doesn't mean they don’t want to or that they aren’t trying…maybe they just aren’t there yet.  We are all on our journey.  We all struggle.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The test


SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:
"Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty" -Job 5:17 (NASB)

You ever feel like God is testing you?  Even taking things and people you love from you?   That's not God, just the opposite actually.  That's the enemy, Satan.  And why does God allow this to happen to us?  To draw us closer to him...to make us open our eyes and look up.  Some may think your suffering is because you did something wrong or because you weren't living right but that's not necessarily the case.  Ever heard the saying "He's got the patience of Job!"  Well Job is a real dude...a blameless, God fearing dude according to the Bible and guess what...he suffered.  A lot.  Our God is a God of grace.  He just wants a relationship with us.  So when you are suffering just know that he see you.  He is with you.  Just look up.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Feeling Like I'm Failing...LOOK UP!

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will council you with my eye upon you."  - Psalms 32:8 NASB

Lately I feel like I've been failing.  A lot.  Feeling like despite my best efforts I'm just not...well enough.
Feeling like that as a wife, mother, homemaker and business woman.  I feel like I should be more.  Doing more.  Handling more.  But is "more" really better?  I keep trying to better maximize my time, organize and plan.  I just keep finding myself defeated.
But maybe God doesn't want me to do "more".  Maybe he doesn't even care ho much I get done.
God just wants our faithfulness.  Quality, not quantity.  He wants us to be smart with what he has given us.  That means being smart with our hearts and with our relationships and with everything we choose to do.  So when I find myself needing to be "MORE"...I need only look up!  He will council me with his eye upon me!


Monday, February 03, 2014

Make Peace...

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God" - Matthew 5:9 NASB

This morning our pastor did an amazing sermon on being intentional with our lives, our relationships, our interactions and communications. This resonated with me. This is something I've been working on diligently over the last year and I've found great fulfillment in it when I realized that I was indeed shutting people out. I was blocking out people. Not just on views I didn't want to hear and people I didn't want to deal with but just blocking out people in general because I was afraid that I'll be shut down emotionally. Recently I got to a point where rather than shut people out I wanted to meet them head on and be intentional with my interactions and see how I could be of use. See how God wanted to use me. How I could pour out in others lives and the craziest thing happened, I was happy. I was being filled. So why the verse I picked to go with this story? Well because often times we don't want to make peace. We like the war we have waged. We want to stir the pot and stand back and see the pieces fly. But what happens when they land? Are you happy? Are you fulfilled? It's on to the next war for a short lived victory. God tells us blessed are the peacemakers and it's true. We wage a war against humanity when we are afraid to face it. When we are afraid of rejection. Or perhaps we are afraid of what's in the mirror. Whatever the reason, we need to make peace. We need to be the peacemakers God has called us to be.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Decking the Halls...

This may be a new record for getting the tree up early this year!!  This year's Christmas decorations were hand picked from the Sanders Christmas vault by Zane! And he is all too proud;) His absolute favorite is the vintage Santa and a silver sparkle ball we got from a friend's wedding a few years ago!

Liam wast quite amazed with the lights as we decorated;)  There is nothing quite like seeing a child with Christmas lights for the first time.  
 And no sooner the tree when up...well then Fred the elf came and he brought back up!  

I love Christmas!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Just a little November Recap...

Just a quick recap to catch you up on November;)
 Made my usual meat pies but this year I made one for our church youth Thanksgiving dinner.  I was happy to share it.

We also celebrated my little niece Macie's 5th birthday.  She is growing up so fast!
Speaking of growing up so fast, would you look at my little pilgram?!  He has to be the cutest one ever.
 So we went to Z's school for thanksgiving lunch...he was so excited!!
As for our real Thanksgiving day lunch...we took a little family road trip and spent the holiday with my parents in Fairhope, AL.
We went eat at The Grand Hotel for lunch with my parents and my brother and sister in law.  We are not a big fan of such a fancy and formal Thanksgiving lunch...we much rather a home cooked family meal but to have our whole family together, including my brother and his new wife for the first time since I can remember...well I'll take it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Some Spooky Craftin'

 Z and I enjoyed a little spooky crafting for Halloween this week!

We even carved a mini pumpkin and put some little vampire teeth in it.  And guess what?!  He won first prize in his age group at school!!  He was so excited!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Even old ladies get hair beads...

Rockin' the hair beads tonight!  Zane gave me two of his tickets at the kiddle carnival tonight to get hairbeads for my hair!  I was too excited;)  I've never had then and you know all the cool kids were doing it!  So I gave it a go.  And what a bargin at only $1.00!  So there.  Even old ladies like me can get hair beads...at least at Jellystone they can.  And that's good enough for me!

Duelin' Yogis!

Yep we are Trick or Treating Yogi Bear style tonight!
Liam got to wear the very same suit Zane wore just last year!  what a big boy he is!  Zane wore his Yogi shirt and hat he wore for his birthday party last year and there you have it...dueling Yogis!  They were a hit at Jellystone as we did Trick or Treating around the campground for the Pumpkin Patch weekend;)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Pumpkin Patchin'

This was how I started my day today...in a pumpkin patch in Hammond with an amazing little boy that I'm blessed to call my own. I was brought to tears on more than one occasion as I watched him this year experience this very same field trip that was such a breaking point for him last year. What a difference a year and an awesome teacher can make in the life of a special little boy. God brought me to this day...and he brought me through it. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Super Hero?

Today was super hero day at school today...
So since we have a large selection of random costumes to choose from in Z's closet we just pulled an old one from his room and went with it.  One of his old favs was black spiderman...also know as Venom.  Now for you who are like me and don't speak comic book...Venom is a bad guy.  Z was obssessed with him.  Like crazy obssessed with him.  So we got him the suit and all last year.  We haven't really watched or discussed any Spiderman stuff lately so when the super hero thing came up I didn't even think about it I just pulled the suit out and went with it.  So he gets home and tells me..."Mommy, I dont' want to be black spiderman anymore...I want to be red and blue spiderman now.  I want to be the good spiderman."  Well yeah!  Sweet!  This kid is changing.  I'm one happy momma.  Happy indeed. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Zoo Date!

Today was a rare day...
Liam and I had a rare zoo date!  We loaded up and met some other mommies from the church with their kiddos and had a zoo date!  It was such a great break.  We both enjoyed the day.  Liam just sat back in his stroller and enjoyed the animals and the train ride and I enjoyed the company and conversation;)  We must do it again soon!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Do you Bento?

If you follow me on facebook you may be familiar with the after school snacks we do for Zane.  I've gotten lots of questions, comments and positive encouragement about them.  So I thought I'd share a bit more with you here.
We had purchased the Bento box to use for our outings as an easy way for us to carry inexpensive and healthier snacks so we won't have to keep buying junk and spending MORE money!   I started out doing one for him as a special treat on the first day of school since I already had the box.  I threw together some stuff we had on hand...peanuts, gummy bears, yogurt raisins, pretzel rods and peanut butter.  I added some of the cute food pics I had ordered to go in the bento box and presto.  Done.  Well when he got home he saw that snack and he was hooked.  To my surprise, my picky eater at it all.  Every bit of it.  Granted this is all things he normally eats (this time).  I saw this as my opportunity to slowly introduce new things into his diet and to keep his snacks balanced.  Since Zane struggles with weight gain I have to be on top of things like this and find creative ways to get him to eat.  I have to make food fun and interesting.  I had to figure out a way to make him enjoy his food...something he was not doing before.  My thought process was, if I can get him to experience his food then he will eat it and be more adventurous and hopefully keep some weight on.  After all, it was up to me.  I have no idea what he is eating at school.  When he gets home from school he usually can't even tell me what he had for lunch, this leads me to believe that he didn't eat it. 
Now, with these little hearty snacks...at least I know he has had this and it was healthy.  I've had some question why I spend so much time and effort on them (which really it takes minutes at most).  When you consider that sometimes this is my only shot to get some good nutrition in him without him knowing it.  If he didn't eat his lunch and may not eat very well for supper and I know he at his snack at least I know he has had something that will stick with him. 

The proof that it's working?  Well he has gained weight!  He is eating things he would have never eaten before.  He is eating food combinations and talking about them and enjoying his food experience (we referenced the animated movie Ratatouille in a discussion about flavor combinations during snack time one day).  Even his attitude is different.  You see Zane suffers from anxiety among other issues.  I've noticed some very positive differences in his attitude since we have started these snacks.  Like it's his little special thing.  One afternoon I was still putting his crackers in the container and had not put it on the table yet...when he walked in and he didn't see it on the table his whole demeanor changed.  He was a different child and was difficult all the rest of the day.  It was like I had forgot about him in his mind. 

Whatever the reason...it works for us.  On many levels.  And I hope our story helps you;)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Are You Ready to Play Dirty?

As most of you know...I'm sort of...well, more of an "indoor girl".  So when my friend Annie posted on facebook looking for friends to do the Play Dirty Mud run with her and her husband, I'm sure I'm the last person she though would respond!
 But we signed up...not really knowing what to expect.  I had every intention on going to the gym and preparing.  But that didn't really happen.  I just rolled with it.  When we got there we just went for it.  We ran.  We jogged.  We did our old lady in the mall speed walking thing.  We did a lot of laughing and surprisingly enough...not a whole lot of falling!  LOL!
 We climbed.  We we crawled.  We tunneled.  We did it all.  There was not one obstacle that we did not do.  I was so proud of myself!   I even went through the mud pit that had a snake in it!  Yes, there was a snake spotted off to one side of it and I quickly scooted through the other side while David stood watch!  LOL!
 The team work was awesome!
 We gave a helping hand when needed, a boost or a tug and we all made it through.
 And we even stopped and hammed it up for the camera;)
It was such a fun time!!  Something I NEVER would have though I would have done but I'm so glad we did!
 But the balance beam...I have to come clean...I tried...but had to step off and walk through the mud!  My legs were like jello by that point and I had NO balance left in them!

It was such a great team building exercise.  I truly recommend it for any couple or group of friends to do together.  It's a great experience!
 We had a blast and can't wait till next year!!
Here is a link to the video of what we did...we didn't make it in the video but it will give you an idea of what the event was all about!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Legomania

Zane's LEGO birthday party was a hit!  He loved it all!!
 I think his favorite was the lego board with the number "six"  that he got to help me make.  My favorite was the lego sugar cookies!!  I'm a sucker for a good sugar cookie and these were adorable to boot!  Even better...I didn't have to make these.  I ordered them from The Talented Cookie  on Etsy and it was SO worth it!!
 The favorite of the the kids was the cake!  They all had to pick which color they wanted;)
 
 I was kinda in love with the favors, the Lego shaped crayons...
 Then Zane and the boys did the Lego car races

 And there was lots of block building on the Lego table!




 Zane was so excited to have his BFF, Bobby there to celebrate his birthday with him;)
 So that's all for this year's party!! We had a blast!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Birthday Prep

Preping for the big Lego birthday bash tomorrow!!  Zane was outside with daddy today testing his Lego race cars!!
 I was inside tonight cake carving to make his big lego cake!  I pray it all comes together!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

He is 6 Today!!

My big boy is 6 today!!
 So we celebrated in grand fashion with daddy's famous pancakes with sprinkles!!

Then as he requested, we went get cookie cake and ride the merry go round!  It's the simple pleasures;)  I love this kid.  Happy Birthday baby;)