Sunday, August 24, 2014

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Though I initially was against it, we visited First Presbyterian Church of Opelika in the fall of 2008...and we continued to attend every week, joining within a few months.   The Gospel was being preached in such a lucid, honest way--I was hooked.  And I've grown sooooo much in my faith and Gospel application and knowledge since stepping foot behind those blue doors. We have been at this church for six years; there have been a TON of changes there in these years, and we have just rolled with the punches, adjusted to the discomfort caused by a growing church body.  Because in the scheme of things, the discomfort is a small price to pay for the JOY of seeing God work in such BIG ways.

And change is upon us again, bigger than anything that has happened heretofore.  My heart aches from the turmoil caused by the conflicting emotions of sadness and excitement.  Our pastor and his family are leaving, walking in faith, accepting a calling to a different church in a different state.  Our worship director and his family are leaving, accepting a calling to a different church in a different state.  Separately.  And they are leaving soon.  Too soon.  This causes deep, deep sadness.

But as the fastest growing church in the denomination, the ground is fertile.  I'm so excited to see what God has in store for His church body here in this small town in Alabama.  Who has He been preparing for us as senior pastor?  Will he (presumably?) have a family?  Young like his predecessor?  Or seasoned?  Most importantly, will he preach the Gospel unashamedly?  Will he live transparently and humbly?  Will the church continue to grow? Will we be able to build our new education building?  Will we pay off our existing loan (I HATE DEBT!!) on the sanctuary in the original time frame (or sooner)?  Will he be willing to preach a children's message during the early service even if there are only two kids (mine, usually) the old times when the church was small?  Will he know and use the word "narthex" as seamlessly as he uses other GRE vocabulary words? ;)  Will our new worship director read music?  Start a choir?  Strike the same balance between contemporary and traditional, knowing that to see Ms. Joanne sing the timeless hymns from memory is one of the most moving forms of worship I've experienced??

I have such HOPE in my heart as I write this.  The Lord will not forsake his people.  I've read that.  And may or may not have googled it to find the the Psalms (several times) and 1 Samuel.  I BELIEVE IT.

I also have such hope and joy for the families that are leaving us, leaving what is comfortable to follow a call of ministry, to walk in faith.  God will be faithful in their lives, too.  He's doing such BIG things.  Just to think, while they have been faithfully serving here at our church, there has been the "meanwhile" happening as God has worked in the background readying their paths.  Amazing.  Utterly, utterly amazing.

Great is Thy faithfulness, indeed!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Under $2K

Another milestone!  With all the Army work that Eli is doing, he was able to put a major chunk on the loans today, and our total is under $2000!!!  (By $.30, but still!!!)  So close we can taste it!!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Happy birthday to the most hilarious 4-year-old I know.  Can't believe he's growing up so fast!  

The best gift--his very own flashlight!

Sweet sentiments from the big sister:


Monday, August 11, 2014


I'm completely excited to announce that we are on our final debt thermometer!!!  We've paid off $50,000 in nearly three years, and we have about $3600 left to go!!!  I mean, can I use enough exclamation marks?!? No!!!!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

3 months of Gladys

It's strange how the exact same amount of time can seem both so long and so short.  Sweet Gladys has been with us for three months now.  She is still a dream come true--sleeping well, eating well--with such a patient temperament.  I look at her smiling sweetly at me and ask her, "Are you going to be sassy like your sister when you're five?"  I can't even imagine it, though I understand that it's a developmental guarantee.

There is not a doctor visit associated with 3 months, but I can say that we are still wearing size one diapers, though once these ones are all gone, we're transitioning to size two diapers.  She's still in size 3-6 month clothing, but I can tell that she's getting longer.  She's sleeping less, though she's still sleeping a lot.

She doesn't take a pacifier, and she's only had a bottle one time (right before Eli left for AT--she didn't love it, but she didn't scream like a banshee, either).  She has, most recently, discovered her fists, and she will suck on them as soon as she can break them out of the swaddle.

She can mostly sleep through the chaos and commotion caused by her siblings, and she can sleep through a whole lot of hammering, as I found out when I took her to the Home Depot Kids' Workshop yesterday.

Tomorrow she goes to daycare for the first time.  It's weird knowing that this little person was inside of me for nine months, and pretty constantly with me for 3 months, and that year of togetherness is all about to end.  E & O will be spending the first three days at daycare with her until school starts on Thursday, so that's good.  But I do have mixed emotions about leaving her and am going to try not to cry so that the big kids don't think I won't miss them, too. (I'll miss them, but in more of an "absence makes the heart grow fonder" kind of way...haha.)

I don't know if I chronicled it, but the first day that Elsie went to daycare, she was twelve weeks old, and it was the first day of new teacher orientation at OMS.  I started crying the minute I dropped her off and kept crying even after I made it to school and walked past all the district's principals and our superintendent.  Yep.  That's something to remember and be remembered for.  Can't believe that was five years ago.  

Tomorrow should go much more smoothly.  :)


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer Lists

Well, summer is quickly coming to a close--I go back to work on Monday and the kids start school on Thursday.  I knew that this summer was going to be a challenge with my two big kids and the new baby.  Also, the kids frequently would ask me to do activities and I would say, "Maybe later," and then forget about it.  So, I gave the kids the opportunity to make a list of things they wanted to accomplish this summer, and they marked things off as we did them.  Here they are at the beginning of the summer, Elsie with wild hair and Oscar with almost no hair:

Here we are accomplishing different tasks:

Oscar's list:  Eat tomatoes.  Here we are after we bought some green tomatoes at the Opelika Downtown Farmer's Market.  We fried them and he ate them.  Yum!  It was a rainy day, and they may have put their shod feet in the fountain at some point.

Elsie's List:  Go to FrogLegs.

Oscar's list:  Go to a splash pad.

Elsie's list:  Paper crafts.

Oscar's List:  Get a pretzel at Target.

Elsie's List: Go to Texas.

Both Elsie's and Oscar's lists:  Go to the beach.

Elsie's List:  Make a strawberry cake.

We had lots of adventures that weren't on our list, too.  Here's a sampling:


Friday, August 1, 2014

August 2014 Debt Update

Good news!  Neither did I lose the envelopes for July, nor the envelope money.  In fact, we did not use cash in July--not a great move, but it is what it is.  July brought a giant debt payment and some unexpected expenses (dentist and dermatologist bills) along with some expected expenses (school supplies, etc.).  I really should budget better for my own school supplies.  We're putting together the back-to-school budget and are blessed that O-man won the lottery for public preschool, so our only expenses there are for after-school care (which is really cheap for district employees) for him and E, plus care for G.  In fact, we're paying a little more in care for G this year for some extra time so that I can get things done after school instead of trying to [unsuccessfully] bring work home.

Anyway, we can taste the rainbow this month:

Fifth 10K Chunk, started 4/17/14 
fundraising ideas
Fundraising Thermometer

Our debt is down to just over five thousand dollars.  It is unreal.  We'll probably finish off the thermometer this next month after Eli comes back from Annual Training (he's there now), and have just a smidge left to go!  I'm so pumped!  Stay with us, because our goal has been to get this paid off before the end of the year!!