"I've found that when life's brush obscures my view with gloomy strokes that seem to mar the scene, God's hand appears and gives to sunless hue and dreary skies a more majestic sheen." Gustafson

26 November 2007


A friend of mine prompted me to try this myself so here's my feeble attempt to come up with 100 things about me. It was a lot harder than I thought! I really had to dig deep mainly because I'm on a journey to find out who I really am. It's been fun learning more about myself. I hope some of these bring a smile to your face as you hear some of my funny moments and read about my quirks.

Here goes...

1. I LOVE silly romance movies.
2. When I was little, I wanted to be a bus driver and would drive up and
down our driveway on my bike pretending to pick up and drop-off kids.
3. I could eat a whole bottle of Heinz ketchup!
4. I've always wanted to travel to Ireland and Australia.
5. I ran the Nashville half marathon a few years ago and haven't run
6. My imaginary friend growing-up was Jenny Myer Pencil Diaper! Don't ask...
7. I love, Love, LOVE sunsets!
8. My favorite getaway is on a beach somewhere, listening to the waves
crashing, smelling the salt in the air, walking along the shore and hearing the
seagulls overhead. The beaches on the Gulf of Mexico are breathtaking! White, sugar like sand, crystal clear blue/green water.
9. I detest the word 'secretion'. Makes my toes curl every time I
hear it!
10.I secretly wish I could sing. I mean, really sing like a Faith Hill kind of voice.
11. Chocolate is my favorite pasttime. Frango mint brownies are the ultimate! Or I could eat a dozen Peppermint Patties. Actually I have!
12. I felt most small and at the same time most in awe of God standing in
front of a massive, peaceful lake surrounded by monstorous mountains in
13. I want to start my own Professional Organizational business on the side.
14. I LOVE typing! I could type all day...
15. Strawberries are my favorite fruit. Blueberries are a close second.
16. I'm addicted to food, always have been. It's my "drug".
17. Skating at Rockefellar in NYC with Chris is my favorite Christmas memory
(before Britain).
18. I adore being a Mommy.
19. Baking muffins with Britain is a fun tradition.
20. My favorite memory when I was pregnant, was the sensation and
indescribable feeling I got when Britain kicked inside my belly.
21. I wrote a poem called Fancy Fish in 8th grade and can recite it (to this day) on command.
22. I can say the alphabet backwards faster than you can say it forwards!
23. I love rainy days. Those days when all you want to do is curl up
on the couch with a good book and read by candlelight.
24. I'm not a big animal lover but we have the coolest (and craziest!) mini-schnauzer, Scout. He's a good buddy! I grew-up with fish in a tank,hamsters and a stray cat that only stayed around for a few weeks.
25. I love camping in a pop-up camper.
26. I consider myself to be girly but I'm not a diva by any means. I
don't spend a lot of time on my make-up, nails, toes or hair. Very simplistic.
27. I dream about writing children's books one day.
28. I am best friends with my sister who's 3 years younger than me.
29. My favorite Starbucks drink is a toss up between a Coffee
Frappucino Light and a Pumpkin Spice Latte - my favorite fall treat!
30. I was born in Panama City, Florida.
31. I LOVE flying! The longest flight I've been on is from Houston to
Alaska - 7 hours!
32. I'm a sucker for Hannah Montana & Gigi God's Little Princess!
33. I'm not much of a thrill seeker or adventurer. I worry too much! I'd love to take more risks when I grow-up.
34. I signed a True Love Waits commitment card when I was 16 and
honored it to my wedding day.
35. I didn't really start living life until I turned 30!
36. One of my driving pet peeves is when people forget to turn their blinker off.
37. When I was learning to drive, my mom said I could back-up our
family station wagon (you remember the ones with wood paneling?) in the church parking lot and instead of putting the car in reverse, I accidentally put it in drive and momentarily forgot which pedal was the brake. The car flew out over a brick wall
and into a busy highway with oncoming traffic. I had enough wit about
me to turn the car around, put on my blinker and drive back into the
parking lot. I cried for an hour. But played flawlessly at my piano recital later that afternoon.
38. I took piano lessons and started learning how to play the guitar
but gave up on both. I don't stick with things very long. I get frustrated easily and give-up too quickly if I'm not good at something immediately.
39. I love making crafts. I'm just realizing I enjoy painting and making little girl hairbows.
40. I've been to Tijuana on a mission trip with my sista and to Cancun on our honeymoon.
41. I'd have a million shoes if the world was perfect! To date, I "only" own 10 pairs.
42. I'd love to adopt someday. Chris and I have talked about it and are
praying God will give us the opportunity one day.
43. I'm not a huge concert gal but I love music!
44. I would rather serve people than be in the lime light. I prefer
to be behind the scenes.
45. I enjoy journaling my thoughts about life and love. I mostly
journal about what God's teaching me and keep an ongoing journal for
Britain that I TRY to write in every night.
46. My favorite workout is on an Elliptical machine or Treadmill. I'm
enjoying my moments on our treadmill...no more excuses not to workout!
47. I wish I could go on vacation once a month. I love the thrill of
getting ready for a trip, the excitement of the unknown adventure that
lies ahead.
48. I love people-watching especially in airports.
49. I'm a terrible blogger. I've gone months without blogging!
50. I dislike seafood (all of it!). The older I get, the more I
realize that I'm probably missing out on some amazing food! I keep
telling Chris I'll try shrimp (again) for him soon.
51. I'm a weeper! When I get angry or frustrated, I just cry. I
always try to keep kleenex handy - you never know when I'm going to
bust out in tears. What frustrates me the most is that it tends to be over small or silly things. When something big happens, it's harder for me to show my emotions.
52. I've moved 21 times in my life.
53. I want to have a large family...I'd have 5 kids if Chris was on
board with the idea! Life is definitely challenging with just ONE.
I'm AMAZED at my mommy friends (and dads) who juggle life with 2+ kids. Truly
54. I love calligraphy. My mom does beautiful calligraphy. She
recently gave me some early 1900 calligraphy books that were my
great-grandfathers that I've enjoyed thumbing through.
55. I want to leave a legacy for my family. To be remembered as a
woman who served and loved well. A Proverbs 31 woman.
56. I'm so into the reality show "What Not To Wear". I keep trying
to figure out how I can get on the show. Maybe I can replace all of
my clothes with Thrift Store clothes and get someone to nominate me!
I could definitely do some damage with $5k bones in NYC and would love
a makeover by Nick & Carmindy!
57. I'm a Southern girl to the core. I love meat & potatoes, sweet,
sweet tea and biscuits! Or just give me a veggie plate at Cracker Barrell and I'm good to go!
58. My favorite birthday present from Chris a few years ago was the
gift of sponsoring a little girl in Bolivia through Compassion.
59. I'm learning to be more open to unexpected surprises and
interruptions. God is in those moments just as much as He is in the
planned ones.
60. I love Bath & Body soaps. I'd have a house full, if I could.
61. One of my favorite meals to make & EAT is Taco Salad!
62. Fall is my favorite season.
63. One of my favorite artists is Harry Connick Jr.
64. I love evenings on the front porch with my family.
65. Grilling out on the deck is a great pleasure!
66. I love writing with gel pens.
67. I love evergreen scented candles. Reminds me of Christmas!
68. I'm not the best cook but I love using my crockpot. You really
can't go wrong!
69. I grew-up wanting to be a Teacher but after a semester in that field, I decided to go into Social Work.
70. I'm a people pleaser.
71. I felt most fulfilled when I served at a homeless ministry during my college internship.
72. My first job ever was working as a receptionist in a Manpower office. That's where I got my start!
73. My first car was a seagreen Cutless Sierra; a hand-me-down from my sweet Grandmother.
74. I dreamed about having a Honda Accord and was able to purchase my own right out of high school. It was a 1991 White Honda Accord with a spoiler and sunroof. Although it's long gone, it's still my favorite car to this day!
75. I've lived in four states - Florida, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee.
76. My middle name is Elizabeth after my grandmother. And we gave Britain the same middle name. We both share the same initials - BEB.
77. My favorite colors together are pink & brown.
78. I like going to yard sales and thrift stores. I'm always up for a bargain!
79. I love taking Sunday drives in the country.
80. I'm really good with directions when it comes to go places.
81. I love Japenese steakhouses where they cook in front of you and you get to share a big table with people you don't know.
82. I once shared Christ with an atheist on a plane. My heart still aches for Richard.
83. I love singing silly songs with Brit.
84. Mary & Martha – I definitely have more Martha (busybody) qualities but I’m slowly learning how to be more Mary-like and linger at Jesus’ feet.
85. I joined Color Guard in High School because a guy I liked was in the band. We broke up and I stayed in it because I found a non-sport that I enjoyed.
86. I love reading books about becoming a better wife and mommy.
87. I have always been known to grind my teeth when I sleep. It's definitely kept Chris up a night or two before!
88. Hats and sunglasses look goofy on me.
89. I've never had any broken bones.
90. The only time I've ever been in the hospital was to give birth.
91. The craziest thing I've done recently is gone down a zip line with some of my high school girls at camp.
92. My favorite Praise song is "Beautiful One".
93. Dr. Pepper is my favorite soda. And DP jelly beans are the best!
94. I'm starting to be a coupon mom!
95. I have learned so much from my husband and am a better person because of him.
96. I marched in the 1994 Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia. For a Florida girl, it was BUTT cold!
97. I'm going to my first Keith Urban concert this week!
98. I worked as a waitress at a fine-dining restaurant the summer before college to save money. It was the hardest job I've ever done!
99. I'd love to live in a log cabin one day.
100. I enjoy spending my days assisting my boss at a counseling ministry for recording artists.

"A thankful heart is a happy heart."

I don't know how many times we watched the VeggieTales movie Madame Blueberry from here to NC over Thanksgiving but it was too many to count! One thing I know is that the sweet theme song with the lyrics "A thankful heart is a happy heart" keeps going through my mind. I haven't been able to shake that line and I know it's God's simple way of reminding me to continually give thanks for what I DO have. I am a thankful lady today.

17 November 2007

Surprises are the best!

So a few weeks ago my sister flew in for a surprise visit. Our birthdays are 5 days apart (mine is today and hers is the 22nd) and she told her husband she wanted a plane ticket for her birthday to come see us. CNB made up this truly incredible story about having to pick-up a manager from the airport and talked it up for weeks. I HAD NO CLUE we were actually going to pick-up my sister! It was a fabulous weekend with her!

And today, CNB left early this morning to go get the oil changed in the van before our trip to NC this week and ended up being gone for a few hours. When he got back, he made up a story about there being a stain on the backseat of the van and told me to go check it out. When he opened the back hatch, there in the well was my Mom crunched up and yelling SURPRISE! We spent the whole day together as a family and had a blast!!

I'm loving these surprise blessings!! CNB, on the other hand, is glad they're over! It's been killing him to keep them a secret for so long!!

16 November 2007

Unexpected blessings

God is constantly stirring in me to cultivate a heart of gratitude. One of the things I started a few months ago is journaling unexpected blessings. I love reading over the list again and again as I remember God's goodness and faithfulness to provide not only the things we need at the time but also so many fun, amazing surprises. These are just a few....shoes, giftcards, numerous meals out, random checks in the mail, really great hand-me-down clothes, free Starbucks coffee, flowers from my hubby, steak dinner at a friends, books, surprise visit from my sister, bonus check, clothes and toys for Brit and so much more. The mere fact that I'm so undeserving, makes me so much more grateful.

15 November 2007

"Action is GLORIOUS"

I was busy filing something today and when I looked up and out of the window in our office, I saw a precious elderly woman across the street raking leaves in the cold. My heart longed to help her but I stood frozen, just watching her for a good 5 minutes. I wanted to help but that would mean action on my part. Should I go, should I stay? I can't just leave work. Maybe someone else will help her? Then it went to thoughts like...well, this IS something I can do. It’s a small sacrifice. I’m not looking for recognition, I just truly want to help this sweet lady in need. So instead of talking myself out of it (like I frequently do), I took action. It was a sweet time of raking and talking with sweet Hazel about her life. A joyous time!

Deep blue sky with orange & red splashes of color

God painted a beautiful dark blue back-drop in the sky yesterday. It was the perfect background for the bright bold orange & red leaves dancing from the trees. My heart was captured as I took in the scenery around me everywhere I went. The drive down 3rd Avenue in historic downtown Franklin was captivating! I’m in awe of God’s breathtaking creation this time of year.

18 October 2007


When people come over, BEB wisks them off to show them around. She LOVES our new home (as do we!) and loves giving tours. As she enters a room (any one!) or shows off her new pink, retro kitchen set, she flings her arms in the air and shouts "Ta-Da!" with so much passion! Oh the simple joys!!!

04 October 2007

Morning noise

When I took the dog out this particular morning, I noticed and really listened to everything around me. I heard the rustle of the brown leaves sweep across the pavement. A fluttering white butterfly floated by. Mr. Rabbit sat quiet and still in Cotton's front yard. Sirens screamed in the distance. A cool, gentle breeze filled the air as I listened to my daughter chatting wildly. Our dog whirled around in circles barking at the two birds chirping in the tree overhead.
I usually miss these sweet, abundant moments from my Creator because I'm too busy rushing off to the next thing.

03 October 2007

On the move....AGAIN!

Yes, that's right! The Byers family is on the move again! We close on our BRAND new home in Franklin a week from tomorrow and are so thrilled! The whole experience happened so quickly we're still not really sure what hit us. We've been working on a building project the past few months to build a house but the land and everything fell through about 3 weeks. We then starting actively looking for "affordable" homes online. We found a cute, cottage type home and called our realtor. The moment we walked in, we KNEW it was home! Later that afternoon we submitted an offer to the seller and by the next morning we got a call saying our offer had been accepted.

Everytime we've gone to check-in on the new place, neighbors keep coming over welcoming us to the neighbor. There are lots of kids BEB's age and everyone has been so friendly. There are only about 15 homes in the subdivision and we're on a cul-de-sac so we don't have to worry about crazy traffic.

CNB and I were laying in bed late last night WIDE awake, unable to drift off into lah lah land. And we started thinking about how many times each of us has moved over our lifetimes. Coincindentally, we BOTH have moved 21 times each - that's 42 moves combined!! Needless to say, we're both ready to get settled.

We're excited about this next chapter of our lives God is going to write in our new home. More to come...

17 August 2007


The Byers family has already experienced some incredible milestones this month!

We started out the month taking a plane trip to NC to see Nana, Bell, Aunt Jordie & Uncle Stevie (aka Unc Fevie!). BEB did surprisingly well on the plane trip - coming & going! CNB flew out with us, which proved to be so helpful! Plus, he didn't want to miss the experience of her first flight. The challenging times were keeping her in the seat AND trying to take her potty on the airplane! We were a little concerned about her ears because she had tubes put in earlier this year but the change in air pressure didn't seem to phase her at all. She enjoyed conversing with the passengers around her and met a little friend, Jacob (age 3) who sat in front of us on the flight home. It was just BEB & I on the plane ride coming back to Nashville - CNB was out in Monterrey, CA on a business trip. I was super stressed about going it alone with her but Jacob proved to be such a blessing! Anytime BEB got anxious and fussy, I would "yell" up to Jacob (in front of us) and tell him to play with BEB some more. They would talk back and forth through the cracks in the seats and share their toys. He didn't like the fact that Brit pronounced his name Jayco!

On the 5th, Chris and I celebrated our seven year anniversary! We celebrated at Saffire, the best restaurant in town! An incredible place decorated in cobalt blues, old wooden tables with mismatched chairs and long, burgundy velvet curtains don the windows. A vibey place with amazing food! We both savored the filet mignon and key lime pie! Then we watched a Christian Bale movie at the theatre and took a drive in the country. A wonderful way to start our 7th year of marriage!

This past weekend, we took a leap of faith and converted BEB's crib into a day bed. We bought all new bedding and girly pillows to make it special! In preparation for the new freedom she would have, we gave her pep talks all last week about staying in bed and explaining the consequences if she decided not to obey and get out of bed without asking first. She's done amazingly well in the evenings. Naptimes are a different story!

Oh and today, BEB said out of the blue, "Mommy, I want a baby sister NOW!" Not quite ready for THAT milestone yet!

It's been a fun month of wonderful milestones for our family...

28 July 2007

Mema the beautiful

I've heard it quoted that "it takes a lot of thankfulness to live life."

When CNB & I first started dating, his family graciously welcomed me into their family like a daughter. The biggest blessing was "inheriting" two more grandmothers. My grandparents (on both sides) have since passed on, so it's a true blessing to have these women in my life (and now in BEB's).

Mema B. has shown me what true beauty is. From her slender Olive-oil (Popeye's wife!) like stature to her heart deep within, she radiates beauty. She lives life with a grateful heart that is bursting with Jesus and spilling over with love for her family and the world around her. She has suffered great losses and knows what it is to be lonely. Despite the trials, her gratitude and joyful heart are what keep her alive.

We are miles apart but she keeps us close in prayer and monthly writes beautiful letters that express her immense love for us. I so long for her to live close. I think about what it would be like to have her in our lives daily. I think about having a woman like her pouring into me.

I believe she is truly the most free and content woman I have ever met. She is a dear soul.

In her loving and optimistic words "We're gonna have us a good week ahead!"

27 July 2007

I'm back!

It's been almost two months since I last sat down to blog. While I've still been exercising my creativity, I haven't made the time to write. I've been painting, making bows and managing my Myspace page but I've missed this expression of creativity.

I'm back and hope you enjoy my two latest entries below.

I'm an addict

You might be an addict, IF...you can send a text message to your "drug dealer" and instantly get a fix.

That's what happened yesterday. I was desperately in need of a fix. My fix, however, comes pretty cheaply - only $3.06! And it's the ONLY fix that seems to work!

I've been getting headaches a lot this year. The kind that make me sick to my stomach. Wednesday I felt one coming on at work and made a Starbucks run. I purchased a Coffee Frap lite (only 2 points on Weight Watchers!) and within 15 minutes, I felt like a new woman!

Yesterday's episode was a little different. I was talking on the phone with my parents and when I stood up, it was like the lights went out...and I couldn't see for a few seconds. Then the WORST headache I've had yet, came on viciously. I couldn't function. I literally couldn't get off the couch. In the midst of the episode, I was still trying to take care of BEB. In an attempt to communicate through the pain, I tried to let her know that Mommy wasn't feeling well. She would sweetly come up on the couch, lay her head up to mine as if to console and comfort me. Regardless, she still wanted her toys right then and she was pleading for dinner. I nuked a pizza in the microwave and mustered up the energy to serve it to her. Pizza, dried cranberries and grapes, that's a decent meal - at least the best I could do at that moment. Then back to the couch to warm my chilled body and shut my eyes for a few minutes. I could hear her moving around and just prayed she wouldn't take a dive in the trashcan or worse get into the knife drawer. Poor Scout was doing circles - which means he has to GO!

I kept thinking about all the women who are addicted to "real" drugs. Wondering how they manage to take care of their children when they're laid up on the couch, getting a fix. It was a horrible feeling being so out of control.

Tylenol wasn't touching it so I sent a text to my dealer (CNB). Little did he know what he'd be walking into when he got home. A war zone, a crying daughter, a dog about to wet himself and a lifeless wife. In spite of all this, my hero came home with the goods, took control of the situation and sent me up to sleep it off. Thank you, CNB, for loving me so well. I love you!

Advice from Momma

This blog contains info about female stuff! Just wanted to forewarn you!

I entered an essay contest. Not something I've ever done before but this one piqued my interest because it was asking you to submit one piece of advice your Mom passed down to you that has impacted your life. And the fact that the winner would be awarded $25k didn't hurt either!

So here's what I submitted...we'll see how it turns out!

Ode to Momma
"This too shall pass"

Encourager. Servant. Nurturer. Comforter. Words that come naturally as I think about my Mom. She is an amazing woman who has loved her family well. Over the years, she has passed along numerous nuggets of valuable wisdom. One in particular came at a crucial point in my life - the dreaded middle school years! Four simple words, "This too shall pass" has had a profound impact on my life. Many times throughout my life from a kid on to a wife and mother, I have clung to these words like a toddler clings to a security blanket.

Imagine the scene. A pre-teen entering into womanhood. It happened. I got my period! Like it was yesterday, I vividly remember thinking, there's absolutely NO WAY I can go through life wearing bulky pads and dealing with this horrific rite of passage! Embarrassment first came when I had to change in front of the other "chatty" girls in gym class. Everyone could see my panties bulging from the enormous diaper-like pad! Even my Dad would lovingly make things worse by displaying the newly purchased winged-pads in the back window of our wood-paneled station wagon as we were packing up for family vacation. Mortifying!

Consolation came when I rested in the loving words of my Mother. If Mom and Grandmommy could make it through, I knew I could too. "This too shall pass" has empowered me to look beyond my present circumstances and smile (more like a grimace) with hope at the future.

31 May 2007

Confessions of a singer/artist wannabe

More often than I'd like to admit, I have little pity parties for myself and foolishly compare myself to others who (in my eyes) are so much more talented and gifted than I could ever dream to be. I don't sing, can't draw, have no athletic ability whatsoever, not a lick of rhythm in my body to dance and only hope to write one day (I mean the kind of writing that actually gets published in books!).

I know better, I know that it hurts God's heart when I belittle my own giftings and covet what others have. Just recently, I've started learning to embrace the gifts I do have and really explore what's ready to burst forth.

I'm the girl that never developed any hobbies of my own for fear of failure. If it didn't happen quickly, I gave up. When I learned I wasn't a natural at playing the guitar, I got frustrated after a week and gave it up. Instead, I waited around on guys to call or spent too much time on the phone or out on dates. Silly and such a waste of time, I KNOW!

My mind's whirling with the thought that maybe, just maybe God chose not to give me any outward (is that the right word?) talents and instead, wants me to focus all my time and energy in loving Him and being the best wife and mommy I can be. I think that's worth something so much more in Heaven than being able to kick around a ball (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

Back to the singer/artist wannabe thing...so in my readings the other day in the 'bountains (as Brit calls them), I stumbled upon a few writings that really screamed out to me.

"The song we sing in heaven is undoubtedly a song of triumph - a hymn of victory to the Christ who set us free. Yet the sense of triumph and freedom will be born from the memory of our past bondage. Your Father is training you for a part the angels cannot sing, and His conservatory is the school of sorrows. He sends sorrow to educate you, thereby providing you with the proper training for His heavenly choir. In the darkest night, He is composing your song. In the valley, He is turning your voice. In the storm clouds, He is deepening your range. In the rain showers, He is sweetening your melody. In the cold, He is giving your notes expression. And as you pass at times from hope to fear, He is perfecting the message of your lyrics. O dear soul, do not despise your school of sorrow. It is bestowing on you a unique part in the heavenly song." (taken from a devotional in the book "Streams in the Desert.")

"The coming day is a canvas upon which you can compose a beautiful work of art if you choose to do so. If you choose to walk along the path that was first walked by Jesus, your life will become a masterpiece, a powerful work of art, and a tribute to your Savior. The Christian faith is meant to be lived moment by moment."

So maybe I'm not really a wannabe in some respects. Maybe the musician and artist in me has been there all along and isn't really all that hidden. My hope lies in God's faithfulness to continue writing my story, in the moments.

30 May 2007

Oh the view...

So we're just coming off an incredible 5 day vacation in the gorgeous mountains of North Carolina with my family. Nana & Bell (my mom & dad), Aunt Jordie & Uncle Stevie (my sweet sister & her husband).
There's something about a mountain getaway. The newly built cabin with rustic vibe was only 11 miles off I-40 but that's 11 country, mountain, twisty, curvy miles. Translated, it took about 30 minutes to get to town! We were so secluded. Nestled up in the trees with an amazing view.
Amidst family time and conversations, I found myself so enjoying the 'extra' time to think and pray. I completely utilized my family's help and took them up on their offers to watch little BEB. I was able to get away by myself to read and take walks. CNB & Uncle Stevie had fun camping out on the porch a couple nights.
My soul was nourished and replenished. A sweet time of reflection - both personal and spiritual.
If any of you ever desire to stay in a secluded cabin right outside of Asheville, I know the perfect one!

18 May 2007

I Hacked Her Blog!

To All:

It's always awkward for someone to brag on themselves. And if anybody knows my wife, she would never do that anyway. I thought that I would hack into her BLOG and tell you a pretty cool story of how awesome she is. I am sure that I will mess up some of the details, but you will get the gist.

Last weekend, we were at a thing for one of my pastors and a Lady and her daughter from our church sat down next to us. Recently, we found out that the little girl
(7-8 years old) is a big fan of BEB - which is a no-brainer! Anyway, I realized that you really do have to be careful about what you say or do because you never know who is watching or who you have an influence on. This obviously gets me into more trouble than her because I am always putting my foot in my mouth. The lady shared with BEB that her daughter that day had gone into her Mom's bathroom and broke into her hair and make-up stash. She made herself up with hair curly doo-dads and some tasteful make-up. Much to her Mom's surprise, the little girl presented herself in true princess style and said to her Mom, "Look, I am as pretty as Ms. BEB"

Being the humble Cool-Cat that she is, BEB was blown away that this little girl that we don't even know, picked BEB to be her Dream girl/Hero! No surprise to me, a lucky husband who definitely married up! Some kids make Spiderman, Batman, or Princess Fiona their heroes. I am thankful that I have an incredible wife that is the hero to a little girl. Boy, are BEB jr., Scout, and I lucky!

13 May 2007

Mom-mee Day

Of all the roles I've played in life, being Mom-mee is by far the BEST and WORST all wrapped into one. Best because God has entrusted a special gift to me (& Chris). To raise and care for in a godly way. Worst because we only get one shot at this. What I do and don't do has a profound effect (good & bad) on this precious child. Fearful yet rewarding - a high calling. This is nothing new to anyone. Just a reality that becomes more and more clear to me as I am only 2 years into this journey.

Today was priceless. Early morning love from Chris and Britain. Family time at breakfast. Handmade cards. Gifts. Lunch with my family. Moments together celebrating the wonderful gift of motherhood.

I pray all the mothers reading this know that they are loved and so appreciated.

"Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (all the mothers before us), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

06 May 2007

Heavy chains

Beth Moore's bible study book "Breaking Free" has been collecting dust for more than 3 years now. For some reason, God drew me to it today and this quote stirred something within me, "A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for her."

Oh, the chains - the heavy, heavy chains! They've made their home around my ankles, strapped on tightly for the long-haul. To be free - I think about it often, not fully knowing what life would be if I were truly, I mean r-e-a-l-l-y free. I think my sweet husband knows. He casts the vision of what it will be like for me when I can fly. I'm slowly catching glimpses of my life without these heavy, life-sucking chains.

My tendency, though, is to sink back to believing the lies that I will never be rid of the weight that holds me down. BUT, God is prying my eyes open to life in the moments. Moments where all I can do is live in the present instead of dwelling on the 'what ifs' and past failures. These life-giving moments are oh so freeing and give me the confidence to keep pushing forward one moment at a time.

Just to write about this with honesty and transparency is FREEING.

26 April 2007

Quote of the day

"Every change in the quality of a person's life must grow out of a change in his or her vision of reality."
-Brennan Manning, "The Wisdom of Tenderness"

25 April 2007

Mama's in prison

They enter with hard hearts, callous from life’s twisted fate.
Rough and tough,
Their destiny, four bare cement walls and confinement.
Separated from their addictions and family,
They have time to think, to wrestle with themselves, to fight with God.
Who will they turn to? A seemingly hopeless state.

Then enter two unknown, non-criminal women. They come to bring hope. They come to give. They come to love. They come without fear.
They wash feet and give pedicures, teach Bible studies, lead worship and pray.
Hearts humbled. Tears fall. Walls broken. Lives restored. Hope renewed.
The battle hasn’t been won but the women are better, stronger, ready for a new life on the outside.
Jesus becomes real. He gives life. Victory is seen in the near distant future.

My mama’s in prison....giving pedicures, washing feet, teaching Bible studies, leading worship, praying. All for Jesus.

21 April 2007

Pea Party on the Patty

BEB loves "Pea Parties on the Patty" translated Tea Parties on the Patio! Her Nana Lin & Pa Bell gave her a folding, off white metal table & chair set that is easy enough for a 2 year old to carry around (thus the knee bruises!). After watching her move the table & chairs from here to there and back again, all over the patty and to and from Cotton's patty, I believe she'd make a great designer on Trading Spaces or one of those TLC Redesign or Design on a Dime shows.
When she actually sits down for a minute, we enjoy tea with sugar in her Princess tea cups. She likes serving tea to anyone who will join her!

*Title written by BEB's Aunt Jordie. Thanks for the idea!

19 April 2007

Adios papi

Tuesday marked a milestone in BEB's life. A few months back, we prepped her and told her that once she turned 2 years old, papi (her beloved pacifier that she only gets at bedtime) would be going bye-bye. We've shared how the Papi Fairy would be coming to take her papi(s) and give them to all the kids who don't have one. We explained that she would be helping other kids and that it's all part of sharing what we have with others.

Her birthday came and went and with the ear surgery still ahead, we decided to give her a little more time. We wanted to make it disappear Monday night but didn't feel like it would be fair to leave that task to our babysitter while we were at a meeting.

So, Tuesday night, we endeavored what we thought might be the impossible. CNB explained the whole process to BEB and my task was to be the gopher and encourager. CNB had me get her Tinkerbell wrapping paper, an empty gold box, a blank card, her baby Karen's papi and her beloved pacifiers. He picked her up, set her on the counter, and proceeded to tell her that it was time to wrap up her papies and give them to the kids. She put one in the box and one in her mouth. It stayed there until the last second before the gift would be wrapped – never to be seen again! We wrote a card to the Papi Fairy and encouraged Brit to color a picture for the kids. She thought it would be nice to give them some of her crayons and a pack of fruit snacks, too. So the gold box contained 2 papies, her baby Karen's papi, 5 crayons and the card. The fruit snacks made it to her mouth before making it in the box! CNB wrapped it up in Tinkerbell paper and we took a family walk to the mailbox, with Mimi, Papa & Scout in tow. BEB has learned which box is ours in the long row of mailboxes and went straight to it and opened it up. We said a little prayer and tucked the box in and told her that we'd come back tomorrow to pick up a note and prize from the Papi Fairy (Chris is shopping for the prize & I'm in charge of the card!).

She did amazingly well with the whole getting rid of process. It went almost too well. We thought we could be in for a long night as it's not unusual for her to wake up in the middle of the night calling out for papi. During our bedtime prayers, she made a shout out to papi twice but that was it. We bundled her up in her 'blank' and tucked her in with her favorite bedtime animal 'Lambey'. From the beginning, Lambey and papi have been inseparable – when she has one, she's always had the other. It was time to cut the ties between them and show her that Lambey can survive on his own! She whimpered a few times during the night but never once screamed out for her device.

Wednesday: After work, CNB secretly 'planted' the Tinkerbell wrapped package from Lily the Papi Fairy in our mailbox. We got out the video camera and took BEB for a stroll down to check the mail. Retrieved the package, came back in, tried reading the card from Lily (she wouldn't let me finish!) and watched her slowly tear the Tinkerbell wrapping paper. Inside she found a beautiful, blue barbie-like-doll Fairy (we named) Lily.

She's had fun playing with Lily the last few days and when she mentions papi now she quickly follows it up by saying 'kids' indicating she's well aware of where her beloved papi has gone.

You better believe we thought about a back-up plan! We kept one papi on-hand – just in case!

For those parents out there - if your kid needs to let go of something, you might want to try our technique. It's a little like telling them about the Tooth Fairy - they give up something to get a little treat. Successful so far - but we're only on day 3!

15 April 2007

Ladies: Do you ever feel like a Potato Head?

Me vs. the plastic potato....

We bought BEB a Mrs. Potato Head for her birthday. She came fully equipped with glasses, shoes, big eyeballs, a sun visor, green hoop earrings, a red purse, large pink ears, lanky white arms, plump red lips and a round nose. A frumpy looking lady, to say the least. BEB loves to rearrange her parts - some days, you'll find Frumpy PH lying around the house with an arm coming out of her head, lips for an ear and eyes in her mouth. My sister also gave her a package with beautiful Princess Potato Head accessories. When Princess PH is all put together, she's crowned with a tall, veiled hat, bright eyes with lashes, full lips, pink high heels, one hand on her hip and a green frog perched in the other. She's a gorgeous sight!

Some days, I feel like a frumpy, plain, 30-year-old. On days like this, I feel like somethings literally sticking out of my head! These are the challenging, hard moments in life when reality stares me in the face.

And on other days, I feel like a beautiful princess. When all seems well....joys overshadow the darker things and I feel confident and secure.

I never thought I'd have so much in common with a plastic potato!

10 April 2007

I'm a genius!

We've been anticipating this day for a few weeks now. BEB has had over 14 ear infections in less than a year and a half so today she got tubes put in both ears.

We quietly woke her up early this morning and rushed her into the van so she wouldn't have time to think about breakfast or milk. No juice or food until after the surgery! The ride to Baptist, time in the waiting room, pre-op, the surgery and recovery couldn't have gone any smoother. CNB and I were on edge but BEB was calm, cool and collected. Nurse Lori loved on her and gave her a stuffed bunny Daddy named Johnny! BEB told the nurse "I'm a genius!" and the next thing we knew, all the nurses and doctors came around asking to meet the genius! Her reputation preceded her.

We're praising the Lord for such a great day! BEB hasn't missed a beat - you'd never know the genius had surgery this morning!

28 March 2007

Oh Happy Day!

Today has been an INCREDIBLE day celebrating BEB's life! Her day was filled with surprises, lots of love and time with family & friends. She opened every present with excitement and said Thank You this morning when we told her we decorated the house just for her! CNB and I bought her her first pair of HOT PINK Chuck Taylors! They ROCK - problem is, she won't put them on! Maybe with time, she'll warm up to the idea of them. We're hopeful!

At the end of this long, joy-filled day, we are in awe of our little girl and praising God for choosing us to be her Mommy & Daddy. She brightens our lives each and everyday!

24 March 2007

Sunset over Franklin

Early evenings are my favorite - especially in beautiful Franklin. Where the sky's shades are blended together over the rolling hills. The sun barely peaking over the trees as it sets. This was the view that captured us as we drove into downtown this evening. We love strolling the sidewalks, BEB looking in the store windows - especially at the toys in the vintage Toy store windows, and ending at Starbucks to get 'Daddy's favorite coffee' as BEB proclaimed tonight. Some of our best moments as a family are spent enjoying each other's company walking up and down Main St.

BEB drew a bit of a crowd tonight as she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk in front of Ben & Jerry's (YUM!) to do a little jig. She was enthralled by a man strumming songs on his acoustic guitar. Her little foot started tapping and at one point she did a crazy, spastic dance and that was that! She was ready to keep pushing her stroller - not much into sitting in it tonight. It was a delightful evening!

A Friend of Al's...

My boss, Al shared this prayer need for a friend and his parents.

Eric Volz, the 27 year old son of Al's friends, was falsely accused and convicted of murder in Nicaragua. He’s currently in prison for 30 years for a crime he didn’t commit.

Here’s the link to a brief film on YouTube. Check it out and pass it on so that others can join in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YChhOHrFA4

Thank you for your prayer support for Eric and his family.

22 March 2007

Happy Burfffff-dayyy

In less than a week, BEB will officially be 2 years old! How can this be? I mean just yesterday we were literally celebrating her birth in March 2005.

Now we have this autonomous little lady who, of course, wants to do everything on her own, sings 'Happy Burffff-dayyy' to herself and knows she'll be turning 2! The once boobie-feeding chair that's a permanent fixture in our living room, has now become BEB's chair - the place where she loves to sit and look through all of Mommy & Daddy's photo albums. The chair arms which were once covered in boobie juice, now shows evidence of goldfish crumbs and toddler slobber!

Her days are spent with MiMi & Papa (I'm so thankful she has such a special relationship with her MiMi & Papa at such an early age. It's a JOY to see them together!) - cooking in her play kitchen, cleaning the floors with Mommy's Swiffer or her toy vacuum, going on wagon rides, riding her tricycle, reading in Papa or MiMi's lap, eating lots of snacks (we're pretty confident she's going to turn into one!), running around in circles with her arms out making airplane noises, chasing Scout around the house or walking him on his leash from room to room, playing in the ball court, playing on the swings & slide, and coloring. She loves going to her Mother's Morning Out class twice a week. Weekly she gets to play with her best guy buddy, C-man and usually gets to go to the Library on Tuesdays where she learns new songs and gets to play on the computer. Her favorite outings are going to the mall to look at the animals in the Pet store, play in the kids area or dance in Abercrombie! She starts groovin' when she hears the thumpin' music.

She's faithful about praying for her family every night and has to include all her friends at 'school'. Daddy's usually the first person she asks to pray for. They have such a special bond - it's incredible to see them together. CNB loves her so well and is good about setting healthy boundaries with her.

As of late, she's taken to my boss, Al aka "Owl" who has nicknamed her "Birdie", Dr. Davis - her pediatrician and sweet Cotton - our elderly neighbor. She's in love with Dr. Davis and chatters about him all the time. I made MiMi dig a brochure out of the trash the other day just so we could have his picture mounted on our fridge. She proudly points and says Dr. Davis when she sees his pic. I think she'd go see him everyday if we'd let her!

God has blessed us with a loving little girl who has so much compassion for others. We are so honored to be her parents!

Our sweet Cotton

Sweet Mr. Campbell aka "Cotton". When you meet this precious 90-something year old man, he claims that people started calling him Cotton because of his bright white hair but now, he snickers - his hair's just dingy! On any given day, you'll see him walking the neighborhood pushing his blue walker. He gets around just fine - when he has trash to take to the dumpster, no problem - he just piles it up on a large plastic canvas and drags it to the dump. He gives BEB rides on his "stroller" as she calls it and has even been seen pulling 2 kids in a wagon - one hand on his walker, one hand pulling the red Radio Flyer.

Today, we spent time with him on his patio as he was tilling the soil in his overgrown garden. Getting it ready for this year's tomato plants. He adores BEB and loves to hear her say his name. I told him that BEB woke up this morning, looked out her window at the back of his house and said, "I love Cotton!"

Thank you God for our sweet Cotton.

19 March 2007

Sharing my heart

A few seasons back, about 3 years ago, God stirred in my heart and prompted me to start writing one evening while CNB was on the road touring. The poems below came out of a time of allowing God to overflow from my heart onto paper. I share these as an expression of who I truly am. A child of God on this journey of life wanting to please Him, desiring to be the women He created me to be and longing to seek Him first.

Judge Not

I am first to bang the gavel,
And point the finger.

Concerned and worried too much
about them and not enough about me.

Over and over, God reminds
me He is the ultimate judge.

Yet I find myself constantly
focused on others instead of BEB.

Lord, turn my eyes inward
to see all the wrong in me
before throwing the first stone.

For who am I?
Take my pride and stomp it out cold.
Humble me so I only see self
and no one else.

Face to the Ground

On my knees, I ask You to speak.
I want to see the world
through Your eyes today.
For I am too weak.
I look out and feast on Your beauty.
You nourish me with Your
Word all day long.
Moment by moment I
seek Your face.

How precious was that time
that now lives in the past.
Why is that so?
I long for the day to come again.
To devour Your words
and live out Your truth.
You spoke, I listened
all with my face to the ground.

What do You see?

When You see my heart Lord,
do You see a reflection or do You see me?
Is it fully compliant or completely defiant?
At rest or seeking success?
Giving or living to impress?
Attentive to Your voice or making a choice?
Open to good or wanting to be understood?
Quiet and still or looking for thrills?
I can tell as I write, these are all in sight.
For You are the God of Grace, only asking
that I always seek Your face.
When I bring my confession,
that's when You see Your reflection.

All I Can Be

Lord, help me see my sin,
all that lies within...
I'm all off beat
trying so hard to compete.
Why do I fail
when perfect love prevails?
It's so easy to compare,
when life seems unfair.
Quench my desire, God
refine me in the fire.
May I love You more,
You have so much in store.
I give it all to you,
what more can I do?
Take my heart,
strip it apart.
Let me see
all I can be.

17 March 2007

I want it!

So - I'm way behind filling BEB's baby book with pictures but I've been pretty good about writing down all of her new developments each month. Thanks to MiMi & PaPa for keeping good reports on her each day - new words, learning & playtime activities, new interests....
This morning I purposed to get up-to-date and wrote down all of the new things in her world since January. Boy, God sure is teaching me a lot about my own selfishness through this sweet little girl. Her new phrases are "I did it", "it's mine", "I want it", "I need it", "NO", "I like it" and so many more "I" exclamations! The majority of my time is spent thinking about what I need, what I want, what I like, what I did and NOT about others. I can't seem to get past God's word in Psalm 23 "I shall not be in want." I get stuck there everytime and have to ask for God's strength in the moments of my life when I want so much more - more for my marriage, more for my family, more for my life.

16 March 2007

Nowhere Music

An ordinary February day...

The quietness of the house,
the beating rain on the window,
the clap of thunder rolling in the Heavens,
the sound of water from the shower washing away hints of yesterday,
the chirping bird outside my window,
the rustle of the family dog quietly nestled in his bed,
the flash of light from a far off lightning bolt,
the rumble of the fridge,
the creaks and groans of the wood floors settling,
cars in the distance,
my alarm clock beeping...

These are the noises I hear this morning -
the symphony that greets me this new morn.

Soon a toddler's cry will be heard,
the hustle and bustle of another day,
but for now,
I am content in this moment.

The moment of nowhere that will never be again.

I finally did it!

With no help from my computer-guru-husband, CNB - I FINALLY set-up my very own blog page! I've been wanting a place where I can capture my thoughts, connect with friends and share photos. MySpace seems like the logical thing to do these days but it has no lure on me. So, today is the day that I stopped dragging my feet and made the plunge to become a blogger!