Saturday, December 22, 2007

Day By Day



I do believe I forgot to include a few important details in my last blog. Blame it on distractions (for instance, screamin' youngun's?) and misinformation. Our move to Shreveport is going to take place on several conditions, ones we feel to be pretty easily met:
  1. John gets accepted into the School of Accounting at LSUS for the summer semester.
  2. John finds a job that will support us and allow the flexibility of attending a few daytime classes (he can always go to night school if not).
  3. We can find a decent place at decent rent.
If he can is able to take more day classes, he could be finished with school in 3 semesters! If not, it is going to take a little bit longer. Then he will have to take the big bad CPA exam--which has a first time pass rate of 45%!

Anyways, I hate that I made it sound like we were up and moving just like THAT (although that is the impression John gave me when we talked about it). If things fall into place, we will be getting on down the road. For now, we will take it day by day.

Today, we celebrated Christmas here with Elijah and Grace. It was fun to see them experience it for the first time really knowing what was going on. John read us the Christmas story and then they opened presents. Elijah got a big dump truck, and Grace got a new baby doll as their "big" gifts. They each got a puzzle and a toy cell phone apiece as well. My dear hubby, who wasn't supposed to get me anything, because he told me not to get him anything, was very naughty and had a new watch hid in Grace's stocking for me--so when I was helping her pull her gifts out I found mine! Wasn't that sweet? Next year, I will not listen to him!

The children have had a lot of fun playing with their new toys! The funny thing is, Grace played with the dump truck and Elijah played with the baby doll! Ha! Now that they are finally in bed, it is time for to get ready for our trip which includes packing, cleaning out the car and wrapping some more gifts! I have a lot to do and not much time to do it in!

Maranatha!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Peace

There is such a wonderful peace in knowing that I am sheltered under the wings of God. Life brings change (and we sure have had our share of it, with more to come); but God's faithfulness to me never changes. When a situation arises that overwhelms me, I turn to the rock of my salvation and it holds strong and fast.

We will be in Texas for only a couple more months. As soon as John finds the right job and we find a place to rent, we will be moving to Shreveport! John says he has more peace about this decision than he has had in a long time, and that gives me peace. My husband is a praying man and I know that he has sought God's face for His will and direction for this decision. Although I will greatly miss our church here in FW and all the friends we have made. I have become attached to my little house, as well, but it's just a house.

We are going to have Christmas with our family tomorrow morning! Yeaah!! I am so excited. We got the kids three gifts each, in remembrance of the three gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men. This will be a tradition we hold from here on out.

I wish I had new pictures to post, but alas, the PC that has the capability to upload pics from the camera has died! So y'all will just have to see the old ones for now. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, I'm off to pack for our trip to Alabama!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cabin Fever



Hello? Is anyone out there? I know the Christmas season is busy, but come on, one little comment wouldn't take that much time. I've been revisited by the ominous "0 Comments" tab again! Anywaaays.... not much to blog about lately. We've been having some wet, nasty, cold weather around here. Today it has not tipped much over 40, and has not been much warmer since Sunday. Yesterday I felt sorry for the kids because they had been cooped up for two whole days, so I bundled them up and put them in the back yard, muddy as it was. I expected them to get dirty, and I wasn't really worried about it. They were truly enjoying themselves as John and I sat down and ate lunch together (with the back door open). About that time Elijah starts hollering for Daddy in a slightly distressed tone. John ran to the door and alas! There was Elijah straddling our 8 foot privacy fence!! (Wendi, if you read this, please do not pass this story on to Nana and Beamey, we will "get it" from them for sure!). I was the only one with shoes on, so I ran out there to fetch him. By the time I got to him, he was dangling by his arms! He got a good little spanking, but I believe it scared him so much that he will not try that one again! How did he do it? He climbed on top of his new slide/playhouse and then transferred over to the fence. Siiiighhh......I bet his guardian angels are exhausted :).

We are having the children's Christmas program at church Sunday night and Grace is going to be an angel and Elijah is going to be a shepherd. That should provide for an interesting blog. I'll keep y'all posted!

Love,
Amy

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Good Things


After reading all the recent great blogs of my friends, and see some who blog every day, I have aspired to blog more often, even if it's a few lines. So here goes: My children are just WONDERFUL. They really are. Elijah has slept in his bed all night for the past two nights in a row!! I want to shout it from the rooftops! And you know what, it wasn't really anything we did, except maybe being consistent. Monday morning when I woke up, he still wasn't in the bed with me. I found him still in his bed, playing with this toes. I called John to share the good news. My phone was breaking up, and when I said Elijah was in his bed, John thought I said Elijah was dead!! He started freaking out on the phone! It's kind of funny now, but it wasn't then.

Last night we had our church Christmas supper. Elijah refused to take a nap yesterday (maybe because he is sleeping all night?) and Grace was snotty and grouchy. So I decided to get a babysitter. I think the last time John and I went anywhere without the kids was our anniversary in May (maybe one another time). The girl I asked to babysit has 5 younger brothers and sisters, and I felt completely comfortable with her. The kids did not miss a beat and had a ball. Her name is Danielle. This morning Elijah came in my room and asked me, "Where is Dorey?" Who knows why he is calling her the name of his favorite character on Nemo? He tried out a new phrase on me this morning when he did not want to eat his breakfast. When I tried some verbal persuasion with him, he put his hands out (he's very expressive with his hands) and said, "It's just the first day of my life!" I have no idea what that was supposed to mean but I thought it was pretty funny.

Grace is talking more every day! She started talking more when we were away at Thanksgiving and even more when my parents were visiting. Being around other people gives her reason to verbalize, I believe. Why talk when it's just Mom and Dad and Elijah? She is getting quite sassy and is putting a lot of power behind the word "No". She doesn't just say it, she emphasizes it! We are celebrating the holiday season quite educationally this year. I am using my nursery Sunday School class curriculum as a guide to teach them about the real reason of the season. We are going to buy a nativity scene today, and each Sunday we learn about a different part of the story. We are making a manger out of construction paper, cotton, and hay and will wait until Christmas morning to put baby Jesus in it. I am teaching them "Away In A Manger" with all the motions (I feel like Sis. Wiley) :). Grace is sooooo cute when she puts her little hands to her cheek and lays her head over for "lay down his sweet head". She can sing most of the words, too. She is great with tunes! I don't always know what she is saying, but I know the song because she sings the tune perfectly.

We are working on getting some good snapshots for Christmas cards, but it is so hard with those two! Hope to have our cards out soon so be watching the mail. I hope you don't mind me going on and on about my kids. They are 99% of my days so what else is there to write about? :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Making Memories

We had a wonderful half a week! My parents flew in on Wednesday, and from there on out the time just flew! We spent our time shopping, shopping, oh, and eating. Yep, about as much eating as shopping (lol). My Mom is from a take-over family, so she has a little bit of take-over in her. In a good way. She helped me spice up my house with new curtains and pictures (all found very cheap at thrift stores and yard sales). We put up my Christmas tree, too. Saturday we finally did a little sight-seeing outside of stores :).

We went to the Log Cabin Village in downtown Fort Worth. My Dad and I are both history buffs, so we really enjoyed going through the cabins, church, and schoolhouse and reading about how the pioneers built them and the cool stories of their survival. I do admire the pioneers, but I do not envy them. They had a very hard life. It was not quite as romantic as Janette Oke makes it out to be! It struck me that they must have had to depend heavily on the Lord for EVERYTHING.

I was hoping that it would somehow miraculously snow on Sunday so the plane couldn't take off! That didn't happen so we had to say goodbye. Only three more weeks and we will be in Alabama. This year is almost gone. What changes will next year bring? It seems my life has been so full of changes in the past couple of years. I've learned to just close my eyes, hold on tight and enjoy the ride! Every now and then I peek out to see what's coming next :). I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays. Maybe we will get to visit with most of you in a few weeks. Ta-ta for now!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Tour

We are home! And it is so good to be home. We had a very nice little Thanksgiving vacation, if you will, with some twists and turns along the way; but all turned out well. We departed from Fort Worth at about 12:30 Wednesday afternoon, with plans to eat supper in Shreveport at around 5:00 with our dear friends, the Johnson's. However, about 60 miles from home, while traveling down I20, the van began to shimmy and shake and not long after, we spotted rubber flying from our tire! We pulled over safely, thanks goodness, and drove the van to the next exit. This exit turned out to offer nothing more than some farmland and barns (egad!) so we pulled into one of the farmyards to change the tire. This was the first time we have ever had a situation like this since we bought the van, so we were in for a few surprises (ha). There was a jack, but nothing else so John was trying to take off the screws and all by hand. Thankfully, a farmer pulled up to mend a fence and lent John some stuff. He didn't offer any help, though! (this is SO not Alabama). Well, he got the tire on, but it wouldn't hold in its air, so he had to take it back off and put the bad tire back on! We asked the farmer for directions and traveled four miles up a country road to a Wal-Mart to buy some tires. After all this, we didn't make it to Shreveport until about 9:00 p.m. But we still had a great time with our friends.

The next morning, Thanksgiving day, we had supper with the Acklen family in Minden. The food is another thing that is not like Alabama! There always seems to be two basic varieties of dressing at this gathering: soup and very dry. John came up with the genius idea to mix the two, thus producing just about the right consistency. Top this with lots of cranberry sauce and voila! We spent the night with his Dad and the kids had a ball. They got to play with their step-cousin Parker, whom Elijah hero worships. He is a sweetie and plays so well with Elijah. They never seem to fuss, although there is the occasional tattling that goes on.



The next morning we went to the Hollenshead's (John's Mom's side). I always look forward to the visits here. I feel so at home there and am very thankful for the comfortable bond with John's grandparents and his Mom. We got to spend some really good quality time with John's niece and nephew, Kaleb and Ainsley. Kaleb and John did some serious wrestling and Ainsley and Grace and Elijah played until they were pooped! Grace and Ainsley both suck the same thumb and are attached to the same blankey! It was really cute seeing them together.

Day #3--we slept in a little and had a wonderful breakfast of Papaw's egg gravy and biscuits before heading off to Farmerville to get some winter clothes and our Christmas tree out of the garage. The weather was terrible! Icy cold rain and really cold weather. We met with the Bordelon family, very good friends of ours from our church we used to go to in Sterlington, for a late lunch at Ryan's. I got to do some Christmas shopping with Victoria and Sis. Iris. We stayed this night at a sort of guest trailor some other friends of ours lets us stay in when we need it. Sunday morning was rainy again (ick) but we enjoyed being in church with old friends and hearing Bro. Tracy preach. He is a wonderful preacher and I do miss his preaching. Sunday night the Rev. John Acklen brought forth the sermon--"Title Unknown" and the Lord really worked through him. There was a wonderful response in the altars.

So this morning we got up and after a few stops, finally made it home at about 6:30. I am having a serious conflict with the roaches that decided to take over my kitchen while we were gone. I took all the dishes out of my cabinets and sprayed down everything, but I am not sure if it is helping. ICK! We shall see in the morning when the smoke clears from the battle.

My parents will be here Wednesday via airplane. Yeah!! We are all very excited! It will be the first time my parents have been out here since we moved. We have not seen them since August, which seems like forever ago. I will probably want to hop on the airplane with them when it is time to leave. But I will not think about that right now....

Thank you, Lord, for Blogspot, a place to record our travels and adventures.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Remembering

Today a year ago we sat in shock, trying to comprehend that Shanda was gone. To those of you who didn't know her, this won't mean anything, but I just wanted to take the time to remember my sister-in-law, my friend, Shanda. I remember.....

1) Her beautiful smile and how she would throw her head back and laugh when she was really tickled about something.

2) How she would hold Kaleb's face in her hands and make him look her dead in the eye while she scolded him.

3) How she wished everyone could just get along.

4) How she loved her niece and nephew.

5) How she snuck around and bought 15 candles for John, so that on our wedding night, he could create a romantic atmosphere in our honeymoon suite.

6) How she made me my first Mother's Day card from Elijah by putting his little footprints on paper (still have that).

7) How she sent me a card once when she knew I was feeling really homesick.

8) Her thoughtfulness of others.

9) Her gentle spirit.

10) Her love of my peach cobbler.

It's been a year, Shanda. We have not forgotten you. We never will. We miss you more than we can say and pray that one day we will understand God's plan.

Friday, November 9, 2007

My "Have Done" List (vs. "To Do")

Today I have:

(1) Rescued Grace from the front yard after she somehow opened the back yard gate and snuck out (thank God I heard it creak).

(2) Changed 6 poo-poo diapers.

(3) Wished to never again change another poo-poo diaper.

(4) Introduced Elijah to "the corner" after he climbed on top of my dresser, took down my pincushion (removed all pins) and hid my glasses under the bed pillows.

(5) Finally cured Elijah from getting on our neighbor's porch by telling him the man who lived there was going to come out and whip him with a belt (mean, I know, but it worked).

(7) Spent an hour at the park chasing Grace and Elijah from one end to the other.

(8) Made two hairbows.

(9) Washed, dried, and put away three loads of laundry.

(10) Mopped my kitchen floor three times after Elijah emptied out an entire bottle of maple syrup in the middle of it (it's still sticky).

(11) Rescued a screaming Grace from the potty seat Elijah strategically placed around her neck.

(12) Cooked supper, cleaned up the supper dishes and kitchen, gave the kids a bath.

(13) Made brownies for dessert (yum).

(14) Removed floaters from the bathtub with a ladle.

(15) Put the kids to bed.

(16) Sat down to my PC to link myself with the outside world.

(17) Hope and pray nothing else happens to write about.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Good Day


We had a nice little family outing today. John found out somehow that there would be a petting zoo at the historic downtown Fort Worth Stockyards today. It turned out to be a perfect day to be outside. We saw a real, honest-to-goodness Longhorn cattle drive, driven by real, honest-to-goodness Cowboys (not really, they were in costume). Elijah had a ball--everything was right up his alley. His favorite movie right now is Spirit, about a wild horse captured by the army in the Wild West. He got to see cowboys, Indians, goats, lambs, and cows today. He was so excited to see those animals in real life! We had a very disappointed little boy on our hands when it was time to go. Grace wasn't quite as enthused--she's not very fond of live animals, unless it's a kitty cat. We found a very scenic little bike trail alongside a creek and a rock wall on our way out--thus the pictures of Grace and Elijah to the right.

Then we went to see Sis. Glenda Craft, a lady in our church who has been struck with Encephalitis (West Nile). She has been kind of a surrogate Grandmother to the children since we moved here. It was sad to see her so confused, but she was tickled to see the children. Elijah freaked out on the elevator--I'm not sure if it was the confined space or the movement. He let us all know he wanted OUT! Thankfully he did not cry or scream, just announced it to everyone. The other elevator passengers thought it quite cute.

By this time, we were all quite famished so we went to Cici's. I don't even want to know how many Weight Watchers point I consumed. I have about resigned myself to that fact that I am destined to be a big mama. I am glad my husband loves me the way I am :). Speaking of husbands, mine has been quite adorable today. He started supper and gave the kids a bath for me tonight, without me even asking. I am so blessed with him to share my life. This will be a family outing we will look back to one day and say, "Remember when....". I am so glad we had a camera with which to preserve the memories (thanks to Wendi and Ben). So that is our weekend in a nutshell. Hope yours was as blessed as mine :).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Unloading

OK, I hate to be a complainer. Who wants to listen to (or read of) a complainer? It might be a good idea to not read this blog if you don't want to hear it, because I feel like unloading, venting, casting all my cares upon the computer....get the picture? I am so tired of being POOR. It seems no matter what we do to try to get ahead, something happens to push it back again. We started a pretty good little savings account when we moved to Texas, but this month, things happened that depleted our little account so we just closed it. First off, I got a speeding ticket. No excuse, except I was in a school zone and didn't realize it (even though the light was flashing on the speed limit sign). I can remember exactly what I was thinking--Christmas is coming, will it be any easier this year? And whamo--I earned a nice little piece of paper that says pay $178.00 in 15 days. Can you hear the "cha-ching"? My fault.

The very next day, I have an eye appointment. We got a voucher in the mail for $99--includes exam and 3 months supply of contacts. I'm starting to have headaches and eye aches so we decided now is the time to get some new gloves for my eyeballs. To make a long story short, the visit turns out to be $333.00 smackaroos. That comes to a grand total of $511.00. I guess I should be thankful that we had it in savings.

I love Christmas. I get immense joy out of picking out the perfect gift for the people we love in life. My dear husband, he would be perfectly content if Christmas only came every five years. I don't understand this--if he had bad experiences or if it's just the fact that Christmas = spending money in his eyes (he would rather walk across hot asphalt barefoot than spend money). Every year it is like pulling teeth with him. There is minus some joy. (Did that sentence make any sense?). Plus, our insurance is going to go into effect in December--$500.00 a month. Subtract more joy from my Christmas joy account. His job will probably end in December--not much joy left to go around by now. Plus, he is probably going to take another job in Monroe. I wouldn't want this to get back to some people, but I would rather walk across hot asphalt barefoot in July for the rest of my life than move back there.

My son, bless his heart, is not helping my current state of blues. He has decided to go through a defiant, rebellious stage where he is in charge. He tells me and his Daddy "No!" at any command. He gets at least one whipping per hour for flat out, in your face disobedience. He refuses to take a nap, potty, or eat what I have fixed for him. I am about ready for him to be tired, covered in waste, and hungry if that is how he wants it (not really). I reaaaaaaally need wisdom and patience with him right now.

Also, I am so worried about a situation in John's family--can't discuss here but please pray for this little unspoken request.

I hope this doesn't make any of you feel awkward about Christmas gifts. Like I said, I love it and want to do it. I have been getting pretty creative about making things and so I am going to apply my craftiness for practical purposes this Christmas. I hope y'all are not depressed after reading my blog.

Love,
Amy

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Delightful Children

I am breaking up my blog into two sections. I guess I'm a little long-winded! :) I thought it would be easier to keep the flow of thought focused if I did this and maybe it won't seem so long! I wish I had some new pictures to post. The batteries our dead in the camera, and I bought some new ones but they seem to be duds. We will get new ones soon, I am sure.

My little boy is beginning to act so grown up. He is doing great with pottying, and when he is finished, he pulls his step stool up to the sink, turns the water on, washes his hands with soap, dries his hands, and then turns the water off. He does the same with brushing his teeth--puts his own toothpaste on the brush, brushes, rinses the brush, and puts it back in its holder. He does this all very neatly without making a mess. I am so proud of him! He is a very neat child and does not like for his hands to be dirty. He also loves music! John plays his banjo every evening, and Elijah will pick up the broom, a whisk, or a hanger and sit beside his Daddy and "pick". When he is not playing a pretend guitar or banjo, he is playing with his drumsticks--a real genuine pair I found for $1 at a thrift store. His favorite song right now is "Old McDonald". Here is his version: "Old Nicknonal hada farm, and on this farm he had a Connor, e-i-e-i-o. And on this farm he had a Mama, e-i-e-i-o. And on that farm he had a Gracie, e-i-e-i-o. And on that farm he had a Mr. Brent [John's boss] e-i-e-i-o! " Old McDonald has lots of friends and family on his farm! Tonight at church while the men's quartet was singing, he stepped out into the aisle and using his drumstick as a mic and tapping his foot, sang right along! He also knows all of his ABC's, can count to 10 and is learning his colors. We are currently working on memorizing Psalm 23.

Grace, on the other hand, is changing so fast! She is getting tall and her hair is so long! I can put it all in a ponytail now and she is only 1 1/2! She is very friendly and will go to anyone. She always has a "hey" and a wave for people we meet, whether it's the grocery store or church. Last week we were in Wal-Mart (we go there a lot). Grace was sitting in the buggy clapping and singing "Deep and Wide". This man walked by, then turned around and came back. He said, "That's the first happy person I have seen all day" and walked off. I hope she is always that way. She talks so much more than Elijah did at this age, but they say girls are smarter. I like to believe that is true ;). Like most little girls, she is a Daddy's girl. She wakes up calling for him from her crib every morning and with every sound at the door runs to it squealing and calling Daddy with hopes that he is home from work.

We are looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas because we will get to visit with family that we don't get to see much anymore since we live away from both sides. It's time to start making Christmas lists--to buy for others and to have bought for myself :). I hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather and anticipating the holidays. Love ya.....

~Amy

Airing Out My Laundry

Wow. It's Sunday. The weekend is over already. Tomorrow will be day 8/10 of revival. I wish I could describe to you the enormous size of my laundry pile. Huge, gigantic, monstrous....get the picture? I don't think my hubby even has clean undies for work tomorrow (gross!). Two sets of clothes per day x 4 people x 8 days = A LOT OF LAUNDRY. We have all worn repeats, of course, and probably will yet, but it is a challenge to keep up.

The laundry is monumental, but so have been the services. Some of the most convicting services I have ever been in. One night, conviction was so strong that there was an atmosphere of complete stillness and reverence. So still that 15-20 kids (5 and under) did not make a sound. Not a peep. Our kids sat quietly and played and did not cry when corrected. No piano was playing, no one was singing. But people were weeping and groaning in prayer. God has done a great work in my heart this week. He has pointed out things in the deepest recesses of my soul and said it has to go. And I am so glad. Woe is the day that God no longer deals with me, no longer takes my carefully set mold and crushes it and makes it all over again.

I have been thinking about how people are so scared to go to a Holiness church because they are afraid they are going to hear somebody preach against something "outward" or some "standard" that they don't believe is wrong. It is interesting that in the last 5 1/2 years that I have been attending a "mainstream" Holiness church, I can count on one hand how many times I have heard something like this preached about. The emphasis has always been more on the state of the heart. You can have it all right on the outside and still be rotten in your heart and go straight to hell. A bad attitude, a critical spirit, a gossiping tongue, a lukewarm experience, a hap-hazard prayer life, these are the sins most warned against. The absence of these is true holiness, without which no man shall see God. I think the devil magnifies the outward appearance of "holiness" people and makes it seem like a ball and chain, when we do not believe that it saves us, but it we adhere to it because we are saved. The outward part is the easiest part to master, but the inward things, the matters of the heart, are the things that are the hardest to give up.

This week, God has dealt with me about several things, but mainly about my defensive spirit. It seems I am always wanting to retaliate at my husband for things he often says in jest or innocence. I often interpret them wrong and come back with a sharp retort. I can look back on ways I have handled conflict with others and I am ashamed. Where is the gentle spirit of Christ? The love your neighbor as yourself and turn the other cheek? Our responses to conflict reveal our true commitment and conformity to His nature and I am afraid I have gotten a big, fat "F"! Oh, how I want to change! I come from a family who are proud of their outspoken and independent natures. But I am so ashamed of it! I want it gone.

As I look at the large pile of laundry, it doesn't look so bad because I can wash, fold, and put away with a lighter heart and a renewed spirit.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Country Sick

Well, here it is October already (thank goodness). We have been in Texas for 5 months now. It doesn't seem that long, but it is. I have been pretty content here, except for occasional bouts of wishing I could go home (Alabama) for a visit. But those bouts have come a lot less frequently than when I was in Louisiana. I think I could probably go anywhere now, as long as my family is with me. Although, the thought of moving to a completely new place again is unsettling. It is work getting settled somewhere, making new friends, being accepted. But that is beside the point. With the fall weather being so nice, it has made me realize how much I miss living in the country. I can close my eyes and picture that quaint little country dirt road in Barrytown. I imagine a pretty little white house with a porch all the way across the front, complete with porch swing and rockers. I could open all the windows and doors, and let the kids outside to play without worrying about them getting snatched or ran over. They could have a tree swing, a dog and a cat, and room to ride their tricycles and maybe even a four-wheeler. The only sounds would be distant traffic and those of nature. Aaahhh...
Those of you who enjoy this type of lifestyle, don't take it for granted! You could be in the middle of a subdivison listening to trains and airplanes and with nothing to look at but your neighbor's house (15 ft from your door) and concrete. Yes, city life has its conveniences, but I am and always will be a country girl. I can't say that I am "homesick", but I sure am "countrysick".

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Women I Come From

This is a little "article" I wrote a couple of years ago on Mother's Day. I heard that song on the radio "These are the women I come from, a faith that sustains them" and...la la la...I can't remember the rest. I was inspired to write this little piece of prose. I came across it recently and thought I'd post it. Hope y'all enjoy it.

The Women I Come From

As Mother’s Day has fast been approaching, I have found myself dwelling on something that is a distinctive factor of who I have become in womanhood and in motherhood. I was born into a world with 6 aunts looking over the edge of my crib, giving their opinion about my first tooth, their diagnosis of why I started my period at just 9 years old, telling me how to spend my graduation money, and fighting over the decorations at my wedding. These are the women who have influenced me and have embedded their qualities in me, whether through genes or the lessons I have learned while watching them make mistakes, and vowing not to repeat them. These are the women who have touched my heart with their open hearts full of love, compassion, and giving to those they hold dear. These are the women who have left me flustered, frustrated, and fascinated by their stubbornness and strong will. These are the women who have left me holding my side in laughter and shaking my head in amazement at their unabashed and blatant sense of humor and point of view while wondering if they have ever heard of the word “tact”. These are women whose lives are full of color, color that would make the most vivid of rainbows seem dull in comparison; women who have advice to give on any subject from sex to colon cleansing (whether it is welcome or not). These are the women whose life experiences, if ever written down and scripted, could fill The Lifetime Movie Network weekend lineup for, well, a lifetime. They have experienced abuse, death of children and loved ones, sickness, and scandal and yet their laughter is still as full of joy and their hearts still as strong as steel. These are my aunts, my Mom, my Grandmother (BB). These are the women I come from. My heritage and a reflection of who I will one day be, a little piece from each one of them, different, yet the same. I could go on and on about these women, but I think you get the picture. There will never be another set of sisters like these! I am proud to be a part of the family of these amazing women.

By Amy Acklen

Happy Mother’s Day 2006

Betty Long

Linda Clarke

Patsy Burford

Phyllis Boykin

Debbie Cooper

Rosie Lee

Cathy Odom

Carol Mason (“adopted” into the sisterhood)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Convictions

As a parent, I am increasingly aware of the overwhelming responsibility I have to my children. Not only to train them to be obedient and happy children, but also the responsibility to have the right attitude while doing it. Sometimes I look back at my day and wonder, how many times did I respond to something in haste, without thinking about why I was doing it? How many times did I actually take the time to teach my child something? Why are there behaviors in my children that should not be there--is it because I am a failure? Because I am ignorant? Or because I am lazy in my parenting skills? I know kids will be kids, but I read the articles on the child-rearing websites (raisinggodlytomatoes.com, nogreatjoy.org) and I feel so convicted because my children do not match the examples they give there. It's like a mirror, showing the ugliness of my actions! Does anyone else feel that way?

On a lighter note, Elijah got a haircut today! We tried last weekend, but he wouldn't let the man touch him, and the time before that was a chaotic disaster! I was beginning to wonder if there was still a little boy under all that hair! Someone recommended Cool Cuts for Kids, and whoever thought up this place was a genius. The waiting area was equipped with a full Thomas The Train Set on a toddler table, so from the moment we walked in, Elijah was occupied. When it came time for the haircut, he was thrilled, because the chairs were actually little Radio Flyer cars! And he got to pick out a DVD to watch on his own personal t.v. while his hair was being cut! I don't think he even realized what was going on. It was worth every penny of the $15.00 it cost us! If I were a hairdresser I would definitely open this kind of salon (BIG bucks). While we were out, we did a little shopping and Elijah got a little tired and cranky. I told him, (with a smile) "You are sooo cantankerous!" He stopped a minute, thought and said, "I am sooo-akin' wet!". It cracked me up! It is funny how they think of things in their little heads.

It seems impossible for me to write short blogs, so I will stop now! Tomorrow is Sunday. Let me go into the House of the Lord with a joyful heart and expectant spirit, willing to do my part. 'Night!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Adventures In Wal-Mart

Okay, I think I've figured out what I am going to do! I am going to blog here, and then copy and paste it over to Bebo. That way, my blog is at both sites and I don't have to do two different things. 'Bout time I thought of that!

Anyway, things have been pretty routine around here lately. Not that I a complaining. I was ready to come home to my house and not go anywhere for a while!!

We did have a little adventure at Wal-Mart last night. Just the other day John mentioned to me that he thought a distant cousin of his (also named John) had gotten married and moved out here to FW. He even picked up the phone and called Nana and asked her if she had his #. Anyway, last night we went to WM grocery shopping and this guys stops John and starts talking to him. It was his cousin John Hollenshead! He didn't know we had moved out here, but thought he recognized (my) John so he called his Granny and asked her before he approached us! Isn't it a small world? They talked for a long time while I shopped. While we were standing in line at the register, I grabbed a People mag (Lord forgive me) and was really into something when I happened to glance up and check on Elijah. He had opened my shaving cream and had it smeared ALL OVER his face, legs, arms, everything. He was quite lathered! I only had about two wipes in my bag, so there wasn't much I could do for him. But he sure smelled good! It could've been worse--like my friend whose son pulled her entire skirt off (to the floor) in the middle of WM!!! But I still I think I will pay more attention to him from now on...no more mags in the grocery line!

Grace seems to be getting the croup, although I hope it is just a bad cold. My children are such a joy to me. I hate to see them sick. Well, I guess that is enough for now! Love everyone of you!

~Amy

Monday, September 17, 2007

Comments!

Well, once again I have meandered over to my blogspot and found a big fat "0 comments"! It leaves me in a state of dissappointment to see that no one has anything to say about what I've written! Ok, people? :) Write something, please! Suggestions: "This has to be the most boring blogsight I have ever been to." or maybe "Could you please think of something a little bit more interesting to write about?" I can take the heat, guys. Bring it on. Just please leave me something to go on! Love ya!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tabitha

Hello to you who are still faithfully checking my blogspot page. I know that number is low. I have always loved to write, and sometimes the urge gets under my skin and nothing will fix it until I sit down and pour it all out.

It's been almost a year since the Acklen and Koehler families, shocked and stricken, said goodbye to our Shanda. I did not realize how much her presence affected my life until she was gone. It is so sad but that is usually the way it is. No, we were not blood related, but when John and I married, Shanda welcomed me with open arms, just as I was. We could talk about anything-- breast feeding to religion. We shared many long phone conversations. Sometimes I still reach for the phone to call her and realize she is not there. If she thought John was not treating me right, she would humph and say "You get him on the phone and let me talk to him!" and she would let him have it. :). She was soft spoken, but when fired up, could tell it like it was!

She was very talented with photography. While she was alive I did not have to go to the photographer's studio because she would come over and take pictures and they were just as good. I do not look at a picture she took of me or my kids without thinking of how it reflects her beauty and talent.

On the very first Mother's Day after Elijah was born, Shanda was babysitting Elijah for me. She took his little feet, painted them, and printed them onto a piece of paper. Then she painted stems and petals and grass under them, so it looked like little feet flowers. It was my first Mother's Day card from Elijah...one I probably would never have gotten if she hadn't been so thoughtful.

Once I called and cried on her shoulder about being homesick for Alabama. The next week I got a beautiful card with an encouraging letter about how much she and the whole family loved me and would be there for me when my family couldn't.

When Elijah was born she came and took beautiful pictures of him and made them into an album for me as a gift. Oh, the list goes on!

The week before Shanda died, John and I stopped by her house but we didn't go in because she wouldn't let us, she said it was a mess. I knew Shanda had been tired, with working nights and she had never seemed to get over a cold she had the entire pregnancy with Ainsley. It occurred to me to call her and offer to help her come and clean up her house, but I talked myself out of it. I was scared she would be offended, and how much cleaning could we get done with three babies? Oh, how I wish I would've done it now! The poor child was so worn down, her heart just stopped while taking a midday nap.

The thing that has been on my mind, burning and rolling over and over, is the passage in Acts 9:36-41, about Tabitha. When she died, all of her friends went to Peter, weeping, showing him all the coats and garments she had made for them. They wept so bitterly and heartbroken that Peter removed all of them from the room and prayed until Tabitha breathed again. Their need for her was so great that they refused to let her go. When I first started writing this, I was wanting to talk about how I failed to be a Tabitha to Shanda. But now, I see that Shanda was a Tabitha to me. There is a great void in my life because of her absence.

Yes, it seems like I am so wound up in my kids and my family that I don't have anything left over for anyone else. But Lord help me, the next time I see someone struggling with their children or their housework or I see that elderly lady at church who can't fix her hair because it is too painful to lift her arms, I will offer to help. Yes, they may refuse. But when I'm gone, will anyone feel the void as Tabitha's friends did for her? Let us pray, as women, for God to give us a sensitive spirit to the needs of the women around us. We need each other, Ladies! And I need you.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Blog Spot Abandoned

Well, I feel like I have sort of abandoned my blogger for Bebo. Since I have joined there I have found it quite addictive. I am able to keep up with people that I love dearly but never get to see or talk to very often. Although, I have been thinking about it and I am going to write my more serious blogging here, because it seems to be more private. I know the time will come when I need a place to vent or stand tall on my soapbox about something. So for those of you who have been checking, don't give up. I will be back!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ramblings

Well, we are settling into a normal routine here in Saginaw (FW). Our days consist of changing diapers, meals, snacks, naps, going to the park, and an occasional wade in the kids' kiddie pools. John and I have also discovered a delightful little thing called freecycle.org. It's a great place to get free stuff if you are willing to drive and pick something up at a stranger's house. So far we have gotten a really great bag of toys for the kids and today we are going to pick up a gazelle and a treadmill. Which we will probably wind up freecycling ourselves. But, we are going to give it a spin.

Today is day 2 of Weight Watchers. I am trying to go it on my own. I am doing pretty good EXCEPT for a bag of peanut M&Ms John got for Father's Day that I keep dipping into. No telling how many points those little handfuls add up to be. I wish John would just take them to work with him so they wouldn't be here to tempt me. Chocolate will be the death of me one day.

We are having a bit of a struggle with Elijah and potty training. He was doing pretty good about being willing to go and actually depositing something IN the potty when we would take him. Now he refuses to even sit on the potty and commences to whining and crying whenever placed upon it. Even with the promise of a piece of candy, he still does not want to do it. BUT we are going to persevere and just keep doing what we are doing. And hope that it will get better.

I believe for the first time in the 5 years and one month of my marriage, I have got to the place where I do not call my Mom every day. I know, it sounds sad. Really sad. But my Mom has been my support and my link to sanity through bouts of homesickness and depression. I seem to have less and less of either these days, so maybe I am finally cutting those apron strings. I know she is probably relieved not to have to talk to me all the time now! I think this move is going to prove to be really good for us.

I am also pretty excited about the up and coming housewarming shower my new church is giving me. I have never had one before, so it is going to be fun! I plan a trip to Target and maybe a few more places to start a registry of things for people to pick from.

The 4th of July will be here soon, which brings about mixed emotions because it is also the birthday of John's late sister, Shanda. She would have been 32. We will celebrate our liberty and also the life she lived that was such a blessing to everyone around her. We will also get to meet our new nephews and niece: Andrew, Tatiana, and Diego. We are very much looking forward to that!
Till next time....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Excitement!

Have you ever had one of those moments in your life when you get really excited over something that is not really all that great but it just made you feel like a kid again? Kinda like when you get a really good grade on a college level English paper or you lose 2.5 lbs? Well, I got that feeling today! A new friend of mine showed me how to make hairbows, which I was already doing, but I just wasn't satisfied with the results. Well, I got down to business making some this week and I have had SO much fun! This morning, I put one on Grace, put her and Elijah in the stroller and we walked a few houses down to a garage sale.

Actually, there is a really ,maybe funny but maybe not story about that, too. I bought Elijah one of those backpack leash things for when I have both of them out walking and I don't want him running off (which he tends to like to do). So, this morning, we head out the door, Grace in the stroller and Elijah attached to me by a leash on my wrist (doesn't that sound terrible)? Our house is up on an incline, so our driveway is downhill. Thus, when I walked out the door, I let go of Grace's stroller for a moment (I don't remember why). The next thing I know, Grace is plummeting down the steep driveway to the street. So I go RUNNING after her--dragging a screaming Elijah after me! I finally had the presence of mind to get the leash off of my wrist and got to Grace before she either flew out in front of a car or hit the curb and tipped over! Gasp! How heaven must've been holding their breaths--waiting to see if we were okay before they laughed! Poor Elijah has a little bit of concrete burn on his arm, but nothing a little Neosporin won't cure.

So anyways, back to my hairbow story. We go to the garage sale, which was great. I wish I could've went on Friday. She had lots of stuff she had already sold. This lady had tons of kids stuff! I got the kids some really nice like new Leapfrog toys (which Elijah is a little young for but it won't be long), a dollhouse that opens up and has a doorbell that rings, some bathtub toys and a toothbrush holder for mine and John's bathroom. Elijah LOVES the dollhouse. He puts his little Noah man in there from his Noah's ark toy and plays away. So, the lady notices Grace's hairbow and has a fit over it! Where did you get that? She asks. I told her I made it and she asked for my ph # ! She said I could put a flier up at the Community Center and get alot of business! YEEAAH! I am doing something good! Also, we went to Wally World this evening and Grace wore the hairbow again and we got SO many looks and smiles. That girl charms everyone! It's one of the bigger ones that I used to not like but the more I put it on her the better I like it. John isn't too fond of it, but oh well. So I am going to get busy making some more hairbows. First, I am going to make some for my nieces, Erin and Tatiana. A lady at church is having a baby shower (it's a girl) so I think I may make one or two for her, as well. I am SO excited! I have found my hobby at last!

Well, sorry for the writing a book! Sometimes you just feel like writing, you know? Hope all is well with all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Settling In

Hi, all. Well, we are finally settling in to our new house in Saginaw. I spent a week with 125 teenagers in Alabama and came home to unpack and move into our new house. What a combo of exhaustion. But it feels GREAT to be in my own house finally. Elijah and Grace have adjusted really well. Elijah has been sleeping in his new room all night by himself! That is such an accomplishment! I don't have any new pics right now, but I hope to have some good ones of Grace's birthday parties (she had two). She will be one on June 14th. She is walking all over the place now.
We are also very excited about our new niece and nephews arriving into our family and our country in a couple of weeks. Wendi and Ben, if you read this over there in Columbia we are thinking about and praying for you. Can't wait to meet our new family members!
I will put up some pics as I get them on a disc. We love everybody and are a little homesick over here in Tx, John for LA and me for AL. Please remember us in you prayers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Homeless

Well, I finally got a chance to sit down and blog again. As most of you already know, John took a job in Saginaw, TX (Fort Worth) and we put renters in our house. The thing is, we haven't found a place to live in Forth Worth yet, and John is rooming with a friend for now. So, that puts me and the kids in the vagabond category. We have been going from place to place staying with friends and family who will have us. It STINKS! My kids are pretty much confused and tired of it. Elijah is having a personality change, being really aggressive with other kids and with me sometimes. I hope this will all change when we get settled wherever or whenever that may be.
For the moment I am staying with my friend Autumn in Shreveport, LA. We are having fun with our kids. We went to the park today--hence the great pics of my ADORABLE kids! Although things are out of wack for us, I have so much to be thankful for. John was in a really bad wreck on Monday that totalled out his friends truck. John's head or shoulder one busted out the windshield, and yet he came out without a scratch. The paramedics told them they were very lucky. LESSON: WEAR YOUR SEATBELT. They didn't, but someone Upstairs was looking out for them. In the midst of it all, I can trully say I am blessed.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Family Life

YEAH! It worked! I haven't been able to post a blog in sometime because there was some kind of defunct thing going on w/ my blog. The title would show up, but that was it. Sooo....to make up for lost time! My kids are growing, growing, growing! And I am tired, tired, tired! Elijah is talking up a storm. His personality and sense of humor is really coming out. The other night, I was talking w/ him and Grace in the bathtub. I was explaining, "Girls have a vagina, boys have a penus." So we were playing the "fill in the blank" game:

Me: "Boys have a ____"
Elijah: Penuh
Me: "Girls have a ____"
Elijah: JOHN DEERE (grin).

Now, pray tell, where did THAT come from? He knew he was being cute. It totally caught me off guard!

Grace is doing so much! Pulling up and "floating" around the coffee table, clapping her hands and GET THIS---talking on the phone! She is 9 months old and she puts her hand (or the cell) up to her ear and jabbers and giggles away! I think she is talking to Gran-Gran!

What I need to hear from you guys today is any advice on how to break a kid from picking his nose and (ick) sticking his finger in his mouth. There seems to be no hope at this point! Any suggestions are welcome! Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Love & Laughter


Well, Valentine's Day is almost here...what to do, what to do? I know some of you have some GREAT things planned (especially my friend Autumn)--I'll tell you about it later. Don't want to ruin the surprise! I have been racking my brain trying to think of something creative and inexpensive to do for my precious hubby. I am open to any suggestions!
I just wanted to share some funny things that have happened around here since John has been layed off. Last Friday morning, we were all still in bed. Elijah was lying between me and John. He was flipping and flopping and wanting to get up. Since it was only 6:00 a.m., I was not about to go for that! So I reached over and gave him a couple of good spats and told him to be still. But alas! It was John's cries I heard echoing back, not Elijah's! I had reached over a little too far and smacked John! I couldn't help but laugh at the expression on his face as he came bolting upright out of bed!!
And yesterday, Elijah was supposed be taking a nap, but he was fighting it. He kept getting up and walking in the kitchen where I was cooking. I would scold him and lay him back down. On one of the trips I left the phone in the room. A few mins later, I heard it ringing. There stood Elijah in the kitchen. He handed it to me and said, "Here", then he turned around and marched back to the couch and laid back down. He has only just now started talking, so that was a wow moment for me.
The pic above is an example of my new hobby...making hairbow boards. This one is similar to mine, the only difference is that mine is a little smaller and trimmed in marabou, or faux ostrich feathers. My digital camera is broken at the moment, or I would take some pics of mine and post them myself. I can customize one to match any bedroom, etc. They seem to be really taking off, as I have four orders to fill. Beam me if you would like one!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

What An Adventure!

Well, the past two weeks in the Acklen family have been filled with much excitement. Some good, some bad. With John losing his job last week, we are learning all about the joys of applying for food stamps, WIC, and unemployment. Along with all of this, our two year old, Elijah, has acquired a rare viral condition--it doesn't even have a name--where he is covered with spots and runs a high fever sporadically. He has also succeded in flushing a whole diaper down our toilet, thus resulting in a very complicated plumbing job that landed our toilet in the bathtub (dookie water and all). So, I have also learned about the joys of scrubbing dookie water out of my floor and bathtub! I know some of you are rolling at the mental picture right now, and I am sure I will...sometime in the distant future. So far, the only obstacle Grace has produced is the fact that she is now crawling and learning to pull up. She stands up, realizes what she has done, and comences to shrieking to the top of her lungs. What a drama queen! The children do bring lots of joy and laughter into our lives. Please pray for John as he is furiously seeking a new job. If you see a man down at Wal-Mart, holding up a sign that says "Will preach for food", it's probably John! Visit our blog often, and we will keep you updated!