Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crying Over Spilled Lemonade

  So, we know we shouldn't cry over spilled milk, but what about expensive and delicious lemonade? People who live in the South understand how we cherish our Chick-fil-a; they didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich. And it is the simplest, yummiest fast food chicken sandwich EVER. But, aside from that, they're also know for their "fresh squeezed" lemonade. I use quotes because, although there are fresh bits of lemon in the cup and each lemonade trip yields a different sour/sweet ratio, like homemade lemonade would, it's fast food, so it can't truly be trusted. Anyway, their lemonade, like their peanut oil fried chicken is awesome. I've often gone there just to get the delicious drink. If you live in the south and have never been... really, are you insane?! And if you live in a state that the franchise has yet to migrate to... I'm sorry and keep hope alive.

  Since I was out today, enjoying (or rather not enjoying at all) the Atlanta heatwave, I decided to indulge myself in the scrumptuous though empty caloric beverage. I took a few satisfying sips in the car, but told myself to wait until I was home to fully enjoy it. Once home, my oldest son was instructed to take his shoes off, as I took off the shoes of my younger child. What happens next is still blurry. I vaguely remember hearing him say he had to potty. Then I remember hearing my drink crash to the floor and feeling the cold sticky liquid splash on my legs. It was as if the room stood still for a few seconds as my brain processed the enormity of the situation. My sons looked at me, waiting for what they knew was coming. Somebody was getting in trouble and they both knew it.

  I took a deep breath in, to try to calm myself, but when I exhaled "Oh MY GoSH! LOOK WHAT YOU DID! YOU HAVE TO BE MORE CAREFUL! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST SPILLED MY DRINK!" is what came out instead of the serenity we'd all been hoping for. Partly due to exhaustion (it was mid afternoon and he hadn't had his rest time yet) and the heat of the day and partly due to his full bladder that had been put on hold, my 3 year old started to cry. Instead of being the empathetic mother I'm sure I thought I would be before I had children, I became angry. I thought "how dare he cry, when he hasn't lost anything?! It's MY drink on the ground! MY money wasted!"

  After changing wet clothes and wiping up a huge mess, I got to thinking about the situation. I had been so wrong. I felt so bad for the way I'd treated my child over something so insignificant. After all, he is a child. They make mistakes, they spill things, they mess up. He hadn't spilled my drink on purpose; it had been an accident. Then I thought about God and what He must think of the way I handled the situation. Now, I felt really awful. Not only was I not the kind of parent that He wanted to be in that instant, I wasn't the kind of parent that he modeled all the time for me.

  When I mess up (and it's obvious that that's quite often), He doesn't yell at me or reprimand me. Sure there are natural consequences to some of my actions, but He doesn't just let his wrath reign. He is patient and kind and loving and peaceful. He understands mistakes and only asks that we acknowledge them, ask for forgiveness and repent. He would never freak out over spilled lemonade. Truth be told, I've spilled my share of God's amazing drinks and yet here I sit, typing, still as blessed as ever.

  I suddenly feel the need to pray.

  "Father, forgive me. Help me to display the love and forgiveness that you represent and bestow on me everyday. Help me to remember who You are and what You would have me to do in every one of life's sticky situations. Please help my son to forgive me for my anger. Thank you for blessing me beyond what I ask for and for not giving me what I deserve. Thank you in advance for molding me into the woman and mother You want me to be. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Friday, June 22, 2012


Sometimes it's hard to believe that I don't have babies any more. In my mind, they're still so fragile and needy, but in reality, they have been on this planet long enough to have learned some things. They can even say "been there, done that" for a number of things. And today we added to that list.

While it's nostalgic to look at their baby pics, it's exciting to look to the future and all the things we'll be able to do.

We went to a water park! Yes, my little boys are old enough to venture to a water park. I'm still shocked at the realization. It wasn't a full blown amusement park or anything; more like a recreation center with small wading pools and fountains and water slides. And it was awesome.

My 19 month old gave me a glimpse into his future as a teenager and boy was it scary! He was absolutely fearless. Once he adjusted to the cold water and the bigger kids splashing him by accident, he played for hours. Most times he didn't even know where I was in relation to him. He was lost in the atmosphere and loving it. He climbed up the stairs, where he was pelted with shower-like water sprays and even attempted to go down a slide, which was entirely out of the question as far as I was concerned. I had to wrestle him down from the slide area several times, which was met by much kicking and screaming. When he would fall down into the 1 inch of water, he would emerge shaken, but ecstatic--- a true thrill seeker. He made many acquaintances with elementary school aged kids who were amazed by his bravery (foolishness) and wanted to talk to "the baby". He walked around the park like he owned the place, complete with his hands on his hips and pointing at random people and things. He gawked and frowned at the rowdy teenagers on the huge water slides, all the while seeming to try to figure out how he could get into the 5 foot deep pool with them. I  immediately made a mental note to get him into swim lessons ASAP.

Among conquering all things water, he also enjoyed/devoured his first corndog (I figured I could let them indulge in a new junk food to go with a new experience) and cried when it was done; a slight sign that he may still be a baby after all.

My 3 year old was more timid and immensely unappreciative of the aforementioned splashers. He screamed and promptly ran out of the water. I quickly had flashbacks to his trip to Centennial Olympic Park last summer, where he refused (in the form of shrieking and crying) to go near the sprinkling water even though he had been talking about and looking forward to it it for weeks. I was disappointed and wondered how I would be able to keep an eye on the newly discovered fish out of water and the cat refusing to get into the water. Soon my fears were eased as the courage of the 19 month old prompted the 3 year old to find his own inner strength. They began to play together, running and splashing and warming my heart. At home, I am always in the role of the referee because they are rarely ever playing nicely together, as both are in the stages of "mine". At the aquatic center, it was the complete opposite. I basked in the love and care they displayed for each other, holding hands and sharing giggles, not knowing when I would see this side of them again. I was grateful for the blessing of their brotherhood, both for them and myself.

I clearly enjoyed the cold water in the 90+ degree weather, getting more wet then I had intended (a trip to the hair salon is now desperately needed), but it was all worth it. Not only did I get a rare look at the intricate pieces of the personalities of my little ones, I also got a bite of junk food :-) I am already planning my next trip there and praying for God to show me the same grace, so that it can be another memorable outing. Oh, and I hope I actually get non-blurry, smiling simultaneously photos too... too much to ask? Maybe, but   So, here's to hoping God sees the value in helping me fill my scrapbook!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Mustard Seed

Many Christians are familiar with the verse that says "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." -Luke 17:6. We understand the general sentiment of having just enough belief to be able to make a connection with God, who can make things happen for us. We get and appreciate the concept of giving a little to get a lot. Who wouldn't?

I don't exactly know what a mustard seed looks like, but as an experienced gardener (for all of 3 months now), I do know what a typical seed looks like and let me tell you, it's tiny. As I was planting my veggie garden, I actually mixed seeds by accident (yes, that's how experienced I am) because they were so small I couldn't hold onto them and they just fell into the soil. Imagine a fleck of dandruff on your shirt (not that you have any, but I'm sure you've seen people who do), it's just that small. Sometimes, I just can't fathom why God doesn't demand more of us. He only asks us to have the faith of a mustard seed! Then says that that infinitesimal amount of faith can give us the power to move metaphorical trees. That's some crazy, loving grace right there.

But, most aren't so familiar with a related verse I came across yesterday (and when I say "most" I'm totally just talking about myself). Matthew 13:32 reads, "Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." He's referring to the mustard seed again in this verse. However, now we learn something new about it. Since the connection has already been made between our faith and a mustard seed, I can't help but apply the new knowledge to the old scenario. If mustard seed faith can move trees, what can mustard tree faith do?!

Maybe Jesus wasn't so crazy in accepting mustard seed faith from his believers. He, being the omniscient God that He is, knew that even something as seemingly insignificant as a seed could flower into something useful, incredible, meaningful. The mustard seed becomes shelter for birds, whereas the other seeds don't. While we don't know what those other seeds became, we know they weren't as great as what became of the mustard seed. That could be paralleled in a couple of ways.

     1. The most obvious way is our faith. Our faith can grow just like that seed. Even if at first we falter in our belief, question God and his will and maybe even turn away from Him, if we hold on to a small amount of faith and persevere, we can come out on top. Our faith in God can grow from our experiences with Him. Just like an actual seed, the RAIN of financial difficulties, relational problems and emotional well being mixed with the SUNSHINE of love, contentment and laughter can grow us into awesome trees too. Maybe our tree provides encouragement for our children, hope for our friends and family or love for people who we don't even know. Every tree provides something unique, yet needed. Whatever the case, our minute amount of faith in a God that is greater than all circumstances can develop into a faith that can harness some of that greatness for ourselves.
     2. A less obvious way is as a person. Sometimes we see other people's seeds and assume what their plant will look like or vice versa. For instance, we assume a beautiful woman (seed) will have no problem finding a suitable spouse and bearing equally beautiful children (tree). Sometimes, we see people in church, maybe singing on the choir or teaching Sunday school (tree) and we assume they've got it all together. We may get down on ourselves, believing they had a better seed than we did or wondering why our plant isn't flowering like theirs. But truthfully, we have no clue. Sure they sing in the choir, but maybe God wants you to lead the choir. Maybe they teach Sunday school, but the tree God has planned for you will be running the whole Sunday school department.
     I say all of that to say that we should all be concerned with taking care of our own seed. Making sure that we're utilizing our God-given abilities (seed) the best way we can. We don't know if we're made to be a flowering bush, a fruitful plant, or a sheltering tree, but we'll never find out if we don't tend to our seed. Even if we don't seem as fast or as smart or as talented as others around us, that doesn't mean that we won't be something spectacularly necessary to someone.

God has a plan for all of us. His will for us isn't always easy to understand (okay, let's be honest, it hardly ever is) but it's always for our best. He asks that we trust Him, in the measurement of a mustard seed, and see what happens next. Are you up for the task?

I'm off to go water my garden :-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It feels like it's been forever since I last posted. It's only actually been 10ish days. When I began this blog, it was as a challenge to myself to write every day... I am so failing that challenge. But, it's been for a good and not so good reason.

I've been out LIVING! I've traveled the world (okay, so not the world exactly, but another city besides my own), eaten great food and laughed a lot. I visited my undergrad university town with my cousin and one of my best friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The kids were with grandparents and godparents, so I really enjoyed that too :-) I took several trips down memory lane and also discovered that some of those lanes were somehow empty! I realized that while I remembered and held on to lots of things from college, I'd also forgotten a ton of things about those days. Who could forget the best sandwich shop in the city? Definitely not me. Who could forget the graduation plaque with graduates names listed on it? Definitely me, especially since I apparently did not contribute to it, therefore my name was not even on it. Anyway, it was an awesome trip, filled with lots of cute GA Bulldog gear that was calling my wallet's name but regardless of that, I can't wait to go back. I'm super excited that I'll be going back very often since my cousin is moving there!

And on the not so good side, my phone was lost and then stolen. I felt so incomplete without having technology at my fingertips (so sad). I felt disconnected from the world and in turn I disconnected myself from my family (momentarily) as I mourned my phone. Crazy, I know. I got over it quickly (well more adequately, the phone was replaced quickly) and was able to see the value in not having technology be so accessible. My kids had more of my attention and I read things that were not printed online, like an actual magazine!

Now life is back to normal; our normal. So I should be able to uphold my promise to myself. We'll see...

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'm Loving

OK, so I borrowed the concept of this post from another blog and I'm so embarrassed to say I don't even remember the name of it, so I can't link it to here :-( If you're reading, please forgive me and comment so that I can link your page!

Anyway, it's all about what I LOVE right now. It's an exercise in thinking positive. If we focus on all the positives that are in our lives, we can overlook (or at least be more optimistic about) the negative things. So, here goes!

I'm loving that my 3 year old is actually napping right now... well at least I don't hear any breaking glass or thudding footsteps coming from upstairs, so I just like to assume he's asleep.

I'm loving my new Fruit Ninja blender/food processor! I got it on Monday and have already blended up 5 healthy drinks (none of which that stubborn 3 year old drank) and I'm working on a puree to add to spaghetti sauce for dinner. It is awesome!

I'm loving that my 18 month old is now saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes or coughs (even if it's a fake cough/sneeze by the aforementioned 3 year old). He is also saying "excuse you" when someone burps, which is hilarious. I am also loving the fact that he hasn't started saying "NO" yet, only "uh un" which is so much easier to handle.

I'm loving my new Gevalia coffee maker that I got for only $9.99, including 2 boxes of coffee and tea! I'm convinced that there's nothing better to wake up to than the scent of coffee brewing. The special may still be running so click here to get yours! And, please don't mention the fact that I'm in total housewife mode right now due to my love of two appliances! Life happens...

I'm loving the website It's for book lovers everywhere to unite! You can rate books & connect with authors, as well as find new and interesting books to read. Don't ask me how, but I've already finished 1.5 books this week and currently reading two more.

Which reminds me, I'm loving my Kindle Touch! I've had it since January (it has turned out to be the BEST birthday present in the whole history of my life LOL) and have already read over 50 books. Honestly, that's more books than I read in all of last year (baby manuals and cook books included).

I'm loving the white chocolate almonds my parents brought me back from their anniversary vacation to Savannah, GA. Soooo rich and smooth... I'm heading to get some just as soon as I finished typing. They are so good that I've hidden them from the hubby and the boys (no joking).

I'm loving how positive I'm feeling about life and love after being baptized on Sunday with my husband. God is good!

I'm loving that I will be going to visit my alma mater UGA on Monday to give my cousin a tour of Athens, Ga and also to take a walk down memory lane. I'm super excited!

I'm sure I'm loving so much more things right now, but I'm feeling great after just going through those, so I'll stop here.

I hope you'll take time out to recognize your love for both the big and small things today :-)