Archive for November, 2008

According to The Word, I Should Expect This

You don’t have to read many of my posts to figure out that my faith is important to me.

When I went to college, my dad told me to decide what I believed for myself and not cling to their beliefs. I did that, and I feel like God has helped me come to a strong sense of conviction about what I believe.

Because I went to a Baptist college, pretty much everyone looked the same. At least, they said the same things and did the same things. Inside, we were each very different, I’m sure, but at MC it’s easy to put on a Christian face and blend in.

Except for this one dude I knew.

To my recollection, he made no acknowledgement of God then. We were acquaintances. I would never say we were friends, because we didn’t spend any time together to build a friendship. I liked him though, and the few lunches where we ended up at the same table were always entertaining.

Fast forward.

I love my facebook page. I’ve had it over 2 years and it’s like my window to the world on days when I have no adult interaction. I have lots and lots of so-called friends, 90% are just people I know. But it’s good to see pictures, and read what everyone is doing these days. Everyone from kindergarten buddies to former favorite professors has a facebook.

This dude and I became “friends” on facebook, and please know that I use that term so loosely. That’s what FB calls it, but I’m very aware that it takes a lot more than a point and click to develop a friendship.

So my “friend” is a highly creative writer who uses really colorful language in his status updates. To be more blunt, he uses words that I don’t like to read, much less hear or say myself. Over the course of several months, I became more and more agitated with the amount of “ugly words” as we call them here that I was having to read on my facebook.

Then one day Aidan sat with me and started picking out words he could read or sound out. I realized at that point that there was a very easy to pronounce 4-letter word right there in the middle of the screen.

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I don’t even watch prime time television, and on the rare occasion that I do, I mute the commercials and make the kids leave the room. I’m a big advocate of wholesome talk, and try to avoid anything that seems off-color. Overprotective? Probably, but I figure my kids will have to deal with deciding what they want to fill their eyes and ears with for the rest of their lives, as long as I’m in control here, I choose what they see, hear, and say.

So I felt convicted about bad language being on my computer screen for my kids to read. I decided to delete this guy as a friend. No hard feelings on my part, my motive was just pure protection of the people I love most.

This week, I added a wonderful friend of mine that I’ve known over half my life. He is also friends with this other guy (are you following this at all? I promise I’m going somewhere with it.)

The other guy left a post on my friend’s page that was kind of mean about me, and made me sound like I was quite the prude. Oh well. It really didn’t bother me, I knew why I had to do what I did. I’m not going to waste everyone’s time defending myself. But my sweet brother, who has some smart-aleck tendencies, came to my defense in his own funny way. Then today, he got an email, from this man he DOES NOT KNOW basically saying that those of us that believe as we do should be “put in their proper place: in the coliseum next to lions”. Then he left a post on my friend’s page making rude comments about my brother.

Now, this is just a little too much for me. First, it’s really immature, and I just don’t have enough hours in the day to deal with it. Second, it hurts my heart. I don’t understand how just making a stand for my convictions could result in such bitterness and character bashing. I just don’t want my kids to read cuss words, and now, based on his email, I should die?

My first reaction to that is to get upset. But then God reminded me of this verse: “Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you.” 1 John 3:13. Actually, the whole book of First John talks about being in the world, but not of the world. John writes about loving others and being a child of God, and how to become a child of God. He also talks about not being deceived by Satan and how to know you’re a child of God. Mostly, he talks about love, and how the love we know as children of God is different from the love the rest of the world knows.

So I should have seen it coming. The world hates the children of God. There are those who would say that my action was wrong and unloving. That I should be tolerant of the language and accept him just as Jesus would. That’s a good point. But I also feel I have to protect my kids’ minds. I have to protect my own. The Bible also tells me to avoid unwholesome talk. If I read it, I have a tendency to say it. So I choose not to read it. That may be intolerant to some, but to me, it’s necessary in the building and demonstration of my faith.

I can love this guy. God has given me the ability to love him. I just don’t have to love the language. It’s clear that he doesn’t understand the kind of love I know. I wish he did. I’m praying for him.

I could go on about this, but I know this is getting long. Tomorrow should be a delightful day. We’re going to Starkville for Michael to play football with his high school buddies. I’m taking a lot of ibuprofen with me. These guys are gonna need it!

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November 30, 2008 at 2:54 am 4 comments

I’ve Got a Great Post in my Head…

but I’ll have to share it later.

We had a wonderful time at my Mamaw and Papaw’s house yesterday. Almost everyone was there, the food was really great, and the kids are older and it’s a little easier to visit and catch up with family I don’t see often. It was a really good day.

Today, however, has been a waste of makeup. As of last night, we’ve killed 8 mice. Today my van had a flat and had to get 2 new tires. I did mountains of laundry and feel awful (too much turkey? maybe!)

So I’m going to crawl in bed and read a book I’ve had trouble finding time to start. As soon as I can get my hands on some good movie making software, I want to post about yesterday. I made a video of the kids asking everybody what they’re thankful for. It’s funny and sweet. I can’t wait for you to see it.

But until then…here’s a small dose of the fam having fun at the Rives house.

November 29, 2008 at 2:53 am Leave a comment

Right Now, the Country Isn’t Cool

I live by a field. Y’all have seen this in my pictures.

They plowed up the field last week.

Yesterday, we killed 5 mice.

I’m very upset. I hate any form of rodent and most reptiles. I’m not even a fan of the hamster.

So today, I’m getting the kids dressed, and it’s off to my parents’ house we go. I refuse to live like this.

I was on Facebook yesterday, chatting it up, and a mouse ran out from under my desk WHERE I WAS SITTING.

My dad came over and set up traps, and within a few hours, Aidan yelled, “Hey Mom! There’s a mouse in the trap and he’s DAY-YUD” (Dead is what he meant…his pronunciation was awesome.)

That was the first one. Then one when we got home from church. Then one about 10:30 while Michael and I were house shopping online. Then I get out of bed this morning, stumble in the bathroom and he walks in and holds up 2 fingers.

I can’t handle it.

When we bought this house, I asked the previous owner if living by a field meant a problem with mice and that codger stood there and lied TO MY FACE and said no, it was not a problem at all. But he averted his eyes and stammered, and if I had half of the interrogation skills I have today I’d have picked up on it.

But then, the kids were only 3 and 1. Who would interrogate them at that age?

I was young and naive. Now I’m a suspicious, hardened, take no prisoners kind of mama who would see right through his untruths and get to the real story.

But at that point, we had closed on the house, so I’d have had to live here anyway.

You sleep in the bed you make, I guess.

Just set the traps before you doze off.

November 26, 2008 at 2:23 pm 1 comment

I Would Pick the Beads and Feathers Over a Long Black Dress and Bonnet, ANYDAY!

Yeah, we’ve been thinking about the first Thanksgiving around here. The kids are asking questions.

If I remember right, we quit learning about that around Junior High, right? So I’m kind of dusty on my facts. I just tell them that yes, the Mayflower came to America, yes, there was turkey and lots of corn, and yes, the Pilgrims and Indians got along famously and had a big dinner together, just like we do at Mamaw Lucy’s and Papaw Boot’s house every year!

Then I give them compliments on their flawless pronunciation of Sacajawea, and we move on.

Today I asked Aidan what he was thankful for. He told me, “My Family! I love my family, and you too, mama!”

What?

Was I not there, in the little red Honda, racing down I-20, with contractions every 5 minutes, trying to get to the hospital to push him into the world?

And I’m NOT part of this family?

Maybe he meant that I’m such a big part of the family, I get a catagory all to myself. Like “Superfamily”. Yep, that’s the one I’m in. Surely that’s what he meant.

Or so I tell myself.

It’s been a week since I’ve blogged and my brain is working faster than my hands right now. I have a lot in there, but I think there’s a speed limit on typing. My keyboard would melt if I could type as fast as I think.

Aidan had his last baseball game a week ago yesterday. The verdict’s still out as to whether he’ll do it again, but it’s looking like we’re going to try. Michael was a great coach, and those little boys really did learn a lot, so I think we should give it another try. He just doesn’t care a lot about sports. He wants to, and maybe it will come in time, but I think he gets a little bored. He’s not competitive, and so it’s hard for him to see the big picture.

Paisley still won’t talk. She’s still hissing. Today, we were having a playtime with Max and Maggie (my nephew and niece) and I asked them all a question and they all said “no”, and Paisley walked up, took out the pacifier and said, “nooooo!” So she knows what to do, she just won’t do it.

Molly has 2 ear infections. She never ran fever, her nose barely dripped. She seemed fine. But her little ears are just so prone to sickness. That’s what she gets for being my child, I suppose.

Michael took the week off last week. He spent the week replacing doorknobs, painting a spot on the ceiling, replacing light switches and plates, cleaning out closets and bedrooms and basically just working around here. He never has time to do that! We went to Molly’s and then Aidan’s Thanksgiving feast at their school. I took Molly shopping and got her 2 coats for her birthday. She’ll be cute AND warm!

I had to go shopping for shoes for me. I needed black heels for our Christmas music at church. I’m not in love with what we’re wearing, so I at least wanted cute shoes. I found those at a great price, but as I was plowing through the clearance racks at Belk, I came across these cute brown flats. They’re Jessica Simpson, and I’ve never worn any of her shoes before. I. LOVE. THEM. so very much. They were originally $70, and I got them for $15. They were even more beautiful at checkout.

We’re going to my grandparents’ house on Thursday morning, and later that afternoon, heading to Michael’s parents’ house. I’m excited. I love Thanksgiving. I’ll post more about my grandparents later, and the experience of a holiday at their house.

But Black Friday will have to be changed to Fat Friday after eating twice on Turkey Day.

I must practice restraint. Except on the cranberries. Yes, I mean REAL cranberries made into a yummy sauce,  not the congealed can stuff. I like the real stuff, tart and zingy, with lots of orange zest. Oh, it makes the taste buds happy. If you are tired of the high fructose stuff, let me know and I’ll tell you how to make the real deal. It’s so very easy.

So much more in this head of mine…but it’s taken me two days to get this one published, so I’m going to watch Clifford the Big Red Dog with the kiddos.

November 25, 2008 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

She Adores Being Four!

Today Molly is four years old. I’ve tried hard to be surprised by that. I’ve tried to act all, “Oh my word, she’s growing up too fast,” about it. But the truth is, she’s been acting so grown up for the last 6 months or so, that I really can believe it. She holds her own with Aidan, that’s for sure. The other day he brought home worksheets he did at school. There were rows of 3 and 4 letter words. He’s been reading well for months now, but Molly picked up that paper and read every one of those words. Luckily, he thought it was cool that she could do it, and didn’t feel like she was invading his intellectual space. They’re buds like that.

I may not be surprised that she’s 4, but I am in awe every day that she’s mine. She has the sweetest spirit. She is shy, and I DO NOT get that at all. I would give anything if she would speak to people when they speak to her. But I guess I can’t have everything, right?

Molly is funny. She thinks of things in her own little way, and works it out in her brain before she shares her ideas. She will most likely be my most logical child. I’ve said many times that she was born to be a middle child. She has the middle child mentality down pat. She’s a peacemaker, a helper, a snuggler. She likes to do it herself. She likes to practice until she gets it right.

She loves to sing. She sings to the stars when we’re outside at night. She really does. She loves to pray, and wants us to pray for her when she does something bad. She’s developing a keen awareness of spiritual things. She talks about God like He’s her best friend. The other night we listened to her talk to God while she was trying to go to sleep. I can’t tell you what that does to a mother’s heart.

Molly is a blessing to me because she encourages me. She tells me when something looks good or tastes good. She tells me when she likes my clothes. She loves her curly hair, because I have curly hair. She asks me to sing to her. She also tells me all the time that she loves that I stay home with her. On days when the ends aren’t meeting and I feel like getting a job, it’s wonderful to hear that I matter to her.

Her party was last Saturday. We had some of the sweetest kids come to our church gym and do arts and crafts. That is Molly’s FAVORITE thing to do. She would draw and color for hours if she could. So I bought white backpacks for the kids to paint on. They designed wonderful works of art on those bags and from what I could tell, had the best time. They made sock rockets and threw them around the gym. They decorated cupcakes. Molly opened her presents like a maniac, then it was time to go home. We had a wonderful time, and I’m so thankful for the sweet friends that came. Molly couldn’t put it into words when we got home, but I can tell it meant a lot to her too!

I have a few pictures, but my dad took most of them. When I get more, I’ll put them on the “see for yourself” page. But here’s a few that I have…

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Here is Molly in her trash bag smock, painting her bag. That’s Maggie next to her. They both get into abstract art. You know the Coon family…we’re pretty abstract folks.

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I love this picture because you can see them all making their creations.

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This is before we started decorating cupcakes. 100_5250

And this is one attempt at a group shot. You just have to shake your head and say, “whatever”.

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So she had a great day. She’s loving being a “big girl”. I’m so thankful that it went well, and that it’s over!

Tonight when I put her in bed, I remembered praying for her to have curly hair and a sweet spirit. God not only answered those prayers, but so many more when he made her into the really great kid she is today. I don’t deserve her, and I’ll do my best to raise her right.

November 19, 2008 at 5:01 am Leave a comment

I Could Bake Him a Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie, but Where’s the Fun In That?

If you know me personally, you know I’m pretty crazy about the guy I married. I have blogged about him many-a-time. Considering I harbored a major crush for YEARS before we actually declared our love for one another, I feel pretty lucky to have him. I never dreamed I’d marry the smart, athletic, super nice guy. I figured I was destined for a life of extreme quirkiness with some artistic soul who grew up listening to as much Michael W. Smith as I did.

And I was okay with that.

But then came Michael. And in him I found more quirkiness than I ever imagined and an artistic soul that longs to escape the confines of his perfectly linear mind. He really can’t handle Michael W. Smith, but we have agreed to disagree.

Gosh, I love him so much.

So here is my tribute to his 35 years of life…35 reasons why I’m glad Michael was born, or why I’m glad we’re married, or why I like him. (35 is a lot of reasons, I need more catagories!)

1. because he is the best person I know. And I know a lot of people.
2. because he’s happy eating PB&J for almost any meal.
3. because he keeps friends a long time. He’s loyal.
4. because he hardly ever misses when I yell “think fast!” and throw something at him.
5. because his eyes are all blue and green and kind of gray and gold all mixed up. Some like to call that hazel, I call it beautiful.
6. because he likes to watch movie previews online with me.
7. because during the previews for James Bond, he always says that the producers considered him first, but he was just too much for them.
8. because he’s never lied to me, or anybody else.
9. because Molly calls him Dadoo, and lights up like a firecracker when he tells her she’s pretty.
10. because he seriously loves some barbeque. It’s a big deal.
11. because when he met me, he liked me too, but as usual, put others first.
12. because when we started dating, he asked my old boyfriend if it was okay (they are friends).
13. because he loves card tricks. I pretend to be annoyed, but secretly I’m impressed.
14. because nobody on this earth looks better in jeans to me.
15. because he would never go to Sonic without bringing me a cherry-limeade.
16. because he was awesome during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
17. because he quoted scripture to me while they gave me my epidural.
18. because he has great memories of crazy stuff he and his friends did, and I still love for him to tell me the stories (ask him about the trash cans).
19. because he and Aidan build awesome train tracks and like to wrestle.
20. because he called me “Lolita” as the anesthesia kicked in before his wisdom teeth came out.
21. because he loves to travel and lets me get crazy with maps and historic info.
22. because he plays guitar and before we had kids would play me to sleep.
23. because he’s awesome at chess and yet says “good move!” when I try to compete.
24. because he prays.
25. because he works so hard, and provides so well. He’s so wonderful at what he does.
26. because his heart is pure, and his motives are always for the good of others.
27. because he thinks I’m pretty, even when most days I don’t.
28. because he can befriend people of any age, color, background and belief.
29. because he can make me laugh.
30. because he loves Paisley and makes her laugh.
31. because he still tucks the kids in at night, and makes up stories about Leo the Worm.
32. because he lets me be me, and understands my need for individuality.
33. because he sacrifices so much of his time for us.
34. because if he had not been born, I wouldn’t have this life. No Aidan, Molly or Paiz. No cute gray house in the almost country full of love and laughter. No joy over seeing his old truck pull in the driveway. No hugs and kisses by the stove while I fix supper. No best friend to talk to about everything.
35. because when he hugs me tight, I get that feeling, you know, the feeling you get when you find the last piece of a puzzle and it’s all complete. Relief and exuberance at the same time. The world is right again, if just for a moment.

I’m so glad he was born. There are so many, many reasons. Maybe in 35 years when he’s 70 I’ll be able to make a complete list. Or maybe not…

Happy Birthday, Love. I’m so glad you’re here.

November 14, 2008 at 8:29 pm Leave a comment

Four Birthdays and a Lesson on Faith

I have not worn shoes since Sunday.

Because I had to wear them every waking (or walking?) minute of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when I woke up on Monday morning, I made a resolve to wear no shoes, makeup, or hair product until I left for my Pampered Chef party on Tuesday night. So far, I’ve stuck to that resolve like velcro.

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity. Friday night, we celebrated Barnes and Samuel’s birthdays. They are our neighbors and friends, and their mom Jenny is one of the best people I’ll ever know in my life. The party was at Deep South Cheer and the kids ran and jumped and jumped and ran.

Saturday, we woke up, got dressed and did more running and jumping at Pump It Up for sweet Regan’s birthday party. That’s such a great place and it was fun to visit with people I don’t see much anymore because of busy Sunday schedules. Bill and Kimberly, Regan’s parents, are two of my favorite people and are always so sweet and gracious. I’m thankful all the time that I know them.

Saturday afternoon was sweet Scarlett’s birthday party. Scarlett is the soon to be one year old daughter of one of Michael’s oldest friends, Marc. Marc and Stephanie have a precious family and the party was so sweet. My kids had a great time outside, especially when daddy and Mr. Marc decided to show their skilz with a football. It was great to hang out with them again. There are not many people that we spend time with that knew Michael and me “when”, so it’s fun and really meaningful when we get those times with such special folks.

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We came home Saturday night and crashed. It was a long, wonderful day.

Sunday morning was busy and wonderful. As usual, I said goodbye to Michael and the kids and headed off for Jr. High girl time and didn’t see them again until after I hung up my choir robe. We met Michael’s parents at Wendy’s, then Michael and Aidan headed off to the baseball field for a double header and my mother in law took Paisley home for a nap. Molly and I went to Gattitown for another birthday party. This one wasn’t quite as sentimental as the other 3, especially after I had to pay to get in, but it was a lot of fun, and Molly and I enjoyed the time together.

Whew!

I know that was a long recap, but I’m so thankful for the people in my life that I had to mention each of these special events.

On the way home Saturday night, Molly and Aidan were chatting in the back of the van. These exchanges are always pretty entertaining to listen in on. Here’s what we heard:

Molly: “You know what, Aidan? If Jesus is in your heart, then you can feel him, like this, see?” (she puts her hand over her heart)
Aidan: (put his hand over his heart) “Well, Molly, all I can feel is my shirt.”

Michael and I got so tickled at that conversation, yet I couldn’t help but realize how that is such a natural, normal way to see things. If we don’t “feel” it, then it must not be there, right?

Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”

A few years ago, I took a spiritual gifts inventory. Every Christian has been given gifts to be used for God. One of my highest scores was in faith. I was surprised, because I don’t see myself as a “woman of great faith”, like Beth Moore, or Kay Arthur, or any other notable woman who is famous for their faith. I’m just me.

I believe my faith scores are high because I have utmost confidence that the God who made the universe and all that is contained therein, will guide me through the most minute details of my life. I believe he cares infinitely for me. I believe and trust that when life takes a turn for the worse, it’s never really as bad as we make it out to be. By having faith, I don’t spend time blaming and accusing and cursing God and the world for my bad luck. Faith means that if I need to adjust my own heart and mind, I will, and I will be thankful, even through the storms.

So I told Aidan and Molly that sometimes we just don’t feel Jesus. Sometimes all we feel is our shirt. But feelings change. We have to rely completely on what we know, not what we feel. I know that Jesus lives in me, therefore regardless of what I feel at the time, I should act on what I know. And if I act on what I know, not what I feel, then my feelings will eventually line up with what is true. Truth is the bottom line. If what I know is true, then I’m free from the negative feelings that come from The Accuser.

I have to put this into practice all the time. I have to constantly self-check so that I know that what I’ve said and done are covered in truth, and not my personal feelings. You should see the backspace action when I’m blogging! Regardless of how others respond, because I’m not responsible for that, if I know that what I say and do is positive and not hurtful and is with a pure heart, then I’m acting in love and exercising my faith in my relationships.

It sounds hard. It IS hard! But the crux of the matter is this. If you trust your feelings, they will fail you. You will feel your shirt sometimes, and feel Jesus sometimes, and be confused by the inconsistency. However, if you trust in what you know, meaning the truth of what Jesus has done for you and what he wants for your life, then regardless of what you feel, you’ll know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

And I’ll leave you with this happy little video…Molly has been working on her Prima Ballerina moves and performs nightly here at the Albritton Center for Dance and Rhythmic Interpretation.

November 12, 2008 at 8:43 pm 1 comment

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  • RT @Dodgers: HERO. #ThisTeam https://t.co/tUQ3UsJTA3 22 hours ago
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  • Just sitting here, basking in the realization that my kids are too old for the pumpkin patch. I’m thrilled at this development. 5 days ago
  • My whole family wishes they’d send Iris into the speed force on #TheFlash. First episode of season 4 and she’s already making us mad. 6 days ago
  • Paisley: “who’s winning the game?” Michael: “the Cubs are ahead.” P: “they’re beating Walgreens?” That “W” throws her off every time. 1 week ago