Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet-n-Greet Monday

So today I've decided that I want to introduce you to my sister, Melanie. Here she is last Christmas with her youngest, Will.

I like to call her "Felony"...but to be honest, I can't remember why? Alas...she is my older sister by 2 1/2 years. She is insanely funny (albeit inappropriately so at times), beautiful, easy to be with, kind and compassionate, generous, and very intelligent. She is the wife of a cop (Jeff), and mother to 4 (Jack (7 1/2), Ella-Kathryn (almost 5), Will (21+ months), and baby boy Simpson due 9.9.09.

As with all siblings, there once was a time when we were not friends. In fact, the story goes that when I was brought home from the hospital, Mel developed a limp in order to maintain her normal level of attention. From there she began to stuff my onesie, footie pjs full of toys (while on me), zip them up, and mercilessly roll me around on all the sharp edges. Can you say ANGER? I'd like to say that with age and time things got better....but, as you can imagine I only became more annoying to her as I was able to talk and bug her....something I'm sure I did well since my nickname from my Daddy was "Bugaloo"! This pattern pretty much continued on well into college. We were able to be around one another a bit more then, but our friendship didn't truly begin until 12 years ago. It was forged by some difficult circumstances in Mel's life, and we'll just leave it at that.

Since that time, 12 years ago we've both grown in our walks with the Lord, married, had children, and lost our Mom. Of course there is much more...but those are the biggies. She is now one of my dearest friends. We are very different, and yet similar. We sing in the same tone. We apparently sound alike on the phone....enough so even that my hubs can't tell us apart. We both are sighers. We both snort when we laugh. We both have a droopy eye. We can't sit together through church, a movie, or anywhere without giggling and getting in trouble. We are incredible at our version of "name that tune" where you snort the song quietly while lying in bed at night during sleepovers.

Oh, and there is so much more. She is a incredible writer, cook, wife, mother, Bible study leader, and friend. She's got a great eye for humor, a good magazine, decorating, interesting tv shows, and well...candy. You can't meet her without absolutely LOVING her! Lucky for me...I get to call her sister AND friend. Love you, Mel!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Now that this difficult year has come and gone, I've had time to reflect on how I've walked through it all. I have to admit that I struggle to feel that I did it in a manner that brought any glory to the Lord. It feels as though I've been selfish, inward focused, and just plain ol' uninvolved in the lives of those I care about. I feel disappointed in myself for not allowing the Lord to work in and through me more. I've been reassured by some that this is not the case, and can see and agree on some levels. But, all in all I've been so discouraged by this. I come by it honestly, though, as my Dad has expressed struggling with the same issue:) It's good to hear that from him b/c it makes me feel understood, but also b/c it forces me to speak the same truth I passed on to him, to myself.

I've been re-doing "Jesus, The One and Only" by Beth Moore this summer with a new, dear friend here. During the video session yesterday, Beth taught through The Sermon on the Mount. When she got to verse 21, "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh", she talked Psalm 126:3, 5-6. Here are the verses:

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

She talked about how when we are crawling through life (picture being on your knees weeping), that if we'll plant seed (the Word of God) in our hearts, lives, and the lives of those around us as we crawl, it will be watered by the tears that are falling from our faces. I love that image.

There are many times that I have been crawling through life this past year, weeping along the way. But, I do feel as though I have carried seed (God's truth) with least in my own heart. I guess I just hope that maybe somehow God can redeem the places I neglected to plant seed in the lives of others....friends, my community, etc. Because while I'm gathing some sheaves in my own life, I don't want to have to live in the regret of not sowing all out for Him.... for that IS, after all, what I desire my life to be about.

But, of one thing I am certain.... "the Lord has done great things for us", and for that I am "filled with joy".

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Over the weekend we went to the a Kid's Fishing Clinic that was sponsored by the Florida Wildlife Commission. Poppy volunteers each year with our long time family friend and neighbor, Mr. Pete.

Poppy & Mr. Pete

There were a ton of kids, but it was well worth the wait. We learned to tie knots, about fish, habitats, tackle, and how to cast. Then at the end they gave us a rod and reel and sent us out on the pier to practice with shrimp for bait.

Here's lil' C all ready to go. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite patient enough with the process. Immediately after this picture was snapped, he and I threw in the towel and headed for the free hotdog lunch!

eWe on the other hand was a committed fisherman (or woman). She did an awesome job casting and reeling. I foresee many fun outings with her Daddy in her future.

And last but not is the whole gang, minus Poppy behind the camera. A fun day for the family for sure!

Summer cuts

So, it's officially a record. All 5 of us got haircuts within 24 hours. I'd post pictures of us adults, but they aren't what you are after:) But, here are the kiddos.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Meet and Greet Mondays....

I decided to occasionally tell you all about special people in my life....hopefully on Mondays? We'll see. I feel like their lives are inspiring and should be shared. I may not reveal all about them at once, but wanted to at least begin to introduce you to them. So, this will be the first.....

We were so blessed to have my sister-in-law, Erin, and kiddos here last week. Austin (5), Olivia (3), and Eliana (6 months-ish). The kiddos adore each other and had a blast. And Erin is....well, incredible. While the hubs can obviously lay claim to knowing her first since he is her older brother, we could argue about who loves her the most:) She is DEAR to me.

If you met her, what would strike you first is her beauty. She is absolutely gorgeous. Huge smile, bright eyes, long and lean....just beautiful. But, followed closely behind that observation would be her warmth. She's never met a stranger. She makes you feel like you are the only person in the room and that you are the most interesting person she's ever met. And all of it is sincere.

As you get to know her more you would see that she is so committed to her walk with the Lord. She just wants to be sanctified, glorify Him, and live out the gospel in her own life and share it with others daily.

She's an amazing wife to Brian. She supports him in his work, she loves him well...exactly where he is, and she helps to encourage his strengths and stand in the gap of his weaknesses.

She's also an amazing mom. She disciplines and trains her children (my sweet nephew and nieces) with gentleness, love, grace, and truth. She plays creatively and is so fun and energetic.

For all of these reasons, Erin is a hero of mine. I look to her to be challenged and inspired in my faith, and in my role as wife and mom. Perhaps, though, what I treasure more than all of that is her friendship. We have many of the same struggles, and are often walking through them at the same time. She encourages me to press on, she challenges me to dig deeper and allow the Lord to work, and she loves me no matter what. She seeks after life changing truth, is so wise, and has the gift of passing that on to others in a precious manner. She truly leaves a mark for Christ in all her relationships.

She would deny all of this....or down play it....because that's who she is....humble. I'm sure she'd like me to mention that she isn't perfect.....but, instead let me just say that she is incredible and real. No one is perfect right? But, everyone should be so blessed as to have a friend like her. And if you have the opportunity to meet her or do life with her....treasure it. She's a rare gem. And while all glory is due to Christ, and that's how she would prefer I leave this, I would like to say that she was fashioned by God in an extra special way. Love you, E!