December 26, 2012

Dear Joycie: Christmas 2012

Dear Joycie,

As I sit here in the quiet of the early morning, my heart is full - swelled up with love for you, your Daddy, for the life that we share...full of the precious memories that were made yesterday. Memories, I hope to remember even when my hair is gray, my face is wrinkled, and I am bouncing great-grandbabies on my knee.

And they are memories that I want to share with you.

And so I'll write you this letter - in an non-traditional way. 

And someday when you are older, I share it with you.

Joycie, my sweet girl, Christmas 2012 started with a phone call from Nana Becki. It was 9:20 - and you were still sleeping, snuggled in Mama and Daddy's bed.  After a little coaxing, a few tickles, and some kisses, you woke up and headed into the living room to discover the treasure that Santa left for you.

You ooo'd and aah'd over the dress up clothes that Santa had put into the dress up closet that Daddy built for you.  You hugged the Dora and Boots doll, and you swiped a few bites of the chocolate bars left in your stocking.

Then you quickly jumped up, ran into your bedroom, picked up the baby Jesus from your Little People Nativity scene, and said "Happy Birthday Jesus!"

And Mama's Christmas was made in that single moment.

Throughout the day, when people would ask you what Santa bought - you'd proudly proclaim "Chocolate bars".  Guess you got my sweet tooth after all?

And you were quick to tell them that Daddy had built you a dress up closet. 

You must have loved your dress up clothes - as you wore 1 outfit to breakfast at Aunt Lane's, another to Nana Becki's, and a 3rd to Nana Nancy's.  You carefully put them all away last night, making sure everything was just so.

After a busy day of running from place to place, you, Daddy, and I came home - snuggled on the couch and watched movies for the remainder of the evening.  Then we all piled into our bed.

And as I listened to you and your Daddy breathing in unison, my heart swelled once again. And I thanked Jesus for the best gifts I'd EVER gotten - you and your Daddy.

Merry Christmas, Joycie!



December 03, 2012

'Twas The Write Before Christmas 2012: Day 1

As the season grows busy, I find myself longing for just a few moments of quiet..of rest. The lovely ladies of Bigger Picture Blogs have created something that fits that bill. It is called 'Twas the Write Before Christmas.  12 days of prompts that will help you to find your creative spirit and perhaps calm your soul admist all of the holiday hustle and bustle. If you are interested in joining, click on this link for today's prompt and more details.

Day One Prompt: Silent Night
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent Night has always been my favorite Christmas Hymns. The melody is haunting, lingering in your mind long after the last notes have died away. The words evoke a beautiful picture – a mother cuddling her sleeping child, basking in the miracle of His birth, and resting in the peace of Heaven’s love and grace.

But this year, Silent Night took on a new meaning for me. I began to think of the Heavenly Father and His reaction on that first Christmas. The 2nd Chapter of the Book of Luke, tells us that the skies were filled with an angelic choir who heralded the birth of the Savior.

And I like to think that this was the Heavenly Father’s “Proud Daddy moment” – much like earthly Father’s handed out cigars in the waiting rooms in yester years, and Daddies today send text messages with pictures and stats to family far and near – God was telling the world “See, that’s my boy. Isn’t He wonderful?”
Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
 Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Yet, I can’t help and wonder if there was not just the tiniest bit of sadness in the Father’s heart that day.

He knew that Jesus’ birth was just the beginning of the story.

He knew that the tiny babe would grow into a man that would be despised by men.

He knew that those small cries that echoed in the stable would one day become an anguished voice calling out “Father, why have thou forsaken me?”.

He knew the world that embraced the baby would turn against the man. They would call out for his cruxification.

The Father knew that the moment would come when He would have to turn His face away from His Son.

God knew that Christmas was the start of the salvation plan. He looked in the future and He saw the Cross.

However, God also saw beyond the cross.

He saw me. Lost, alone, living a life full of sin.

And He knew that as painful as what was to come would be for His Son, it was necessary. For the death of His son, would be the only way for me to find salvation.

Yes, His son would cry out “Father, why have thou forsaken me?”.

But His Son would rise again, and make a way for me to be able to sing “I am Redeemed”.

And so I like to believe that the Father shook away the sadness when He thought about what lay ahead for His son, and once again smiled at His son resting in Mary’s arms.
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

November 30, 2012

Greater: Day 5 - Chapter 2 Discussion Questions

1. Describe your own “lesser loser life” – the ways that things like fear, self-doubt, and self-criticism make you question whether you’re a candidate for a greater life.

Satan loves to tell me that I am unworthy. He uses my past failures and trials (namely my eating disorder) to try and make me believe that I am flawed, broken, and so screwed up that I would never be useful to the Kingdom of God. When I listen to his lies, I become so wrapped up in self-doubt and dislike that I forgot all that God has done for me, and all that He was used me for in the past.

2. If you’re troubled by condemning messages in your head, where do you think they come from?

I believe that condemning messages in my head come from Satan. But he uses words that I have spoken to myself in the past. He plays on my deep seated insecurities. In my younger days, I had little to no self-confidence. I saw myself as ugly and an outcast of sorts. Satan whispers those words in my ear when he seeks to stop me in perusing the Lord.

3. In the past, how has your lesser loser life kept you from doing something you believed God was calling you to do? What do you think that you – and others – might have missed as a result?

I often wondered if I missed a calling to go into mission work. In the summer after my freshman year of college, I attended M-Fuge, and I remember distinctly feeling as though the Lord wanted me to pursue missions. But I thought that I was not a “devoted enough” Christian to do that. Then I worried what my family would think if I told them I wanted to delay college to pursue this call. So I didn’t do it. And I have to wonder if I missed a chance to reach lost souls for the Lord.

4. To you, who is a good example of a person who got past his or her lesser loser life to take hold of God’s greater things? What can we learn from this example?

The first person who popped into my head when I read this question was my father-in-law. He is just an ordinary man, not well educated, who has worked his whole life. He is soft-spoken, down to earth, and not at ALL the type of person I would expect God to call to preach. Mr. Mike thought those same things. So he spent numerous years ignoring God’s call on his life. He tried to appease God by working as a Sunday school teacher, a youth Director, singing in the Choir, and VBS chairman. But each work just left him feeling hollow, empty, and sad. When he finally submitted, he has become a powerful preacher and has won souls to the kingdom. The lesson here is simple: Trust that God knows WHO He is calling and WHAT He is calling them to do.

5. How would you describe your level of trust in God’s ability to do greats things through you?

My level of trust is small but growing with each passing day. The more time I spend with God, the more I realize how great HE is and how much He desires to use me for greater.

November 29, 2012

Lifted Up (Great Day 4)

Today’s challenge is to compose a blog post that lifts up some in your life that inspires you to live greater. I have two people that I want to blog about – my husband and my daughter.

I suppose to some, it seems cliché to blog about them as my inspiration. But there are not 2 people on this Earth who have inspired me more than my husband Micheal and my daughter Joycelen.

Micheal inspires me with his quiet strength. When I see an injustice or wrong in the world, I rail, shake my fits, demand that things change. Micheal simply steps in and works to fix the situation. He does not seek to blame anyone, he does not shout, he just does what he is called to do. Micheal also inspires me with his unconditional love. As my husband, Micheal is called to love me as Christ loves the church – meaning he is willing to die for me. And while I pray that he is never placed in such a situation, I know that in a moment he would offer his life for mine. In fact he does each day, when he chooses to put his own plans aside to do something I am “nagging” him about. When I get mad and snap, he just respond with a smile, shrugging off my angry words. I marvel at how he can see the darkest/ugliest parts of me, and still look at me with wonder in his eyes as if I am the greatest gift he has ever seen. It is this love that inspires me to love those around me who I may not always like.

Joycelen is my unexpected blessing. Micheal and I had only been married 3 months when we learned we were pregnant. As a newlyweds, pregnancy was not in our plans. I remember be shocked, saddened, but mostly scared. I was only a year or two removed from a 5 year battle with bulimia. I feared that pregnancy would stir up all of my old demons. But the opposite happened. As Joycelen grew inside of me, I marveled at what my body could do. Before she was ever born, my daughter taught me how to love and be at peace with myself. Then in March 2010, she came into this world, 7 lbs and 11 ounces of wide-eyed wonder. From an early age, she wanted to see the world around, to question, to learn. She inspires me to look at the world around – me to see what I can do for others. Joycelen is a happy child. In fact her cries were so rare during infancy, that the tiniest sniffle from her would bring any adult within ear shot running – because we knew there was a problem. Joycelen lives her life with joy. And she is teaching her mother how to do the same.

A loving husband and a beautiful daughter…

Two ordinary people…..

Who are my source of extraordinary inspiration.

November 27, 2012

Greater: Day #2

Today’s assignment was to answer the discussion questions found in the back of the book.

1. Tell about a time when you found yourself wishing you were accomplishing more in life that really matters. What caused your discontent?

In all honesty, I am in that moment now. I have a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a job I enjoy, a home, a car, all of needs and most wants are satisfied. But I find myself wondering if I’m really making a difference if my life is having an impact on eternity. I remember times early on in my faith when I felt on “fire” for God. Now, I find myself going thru the motions – Sunday school, church, prayer meeting on Wednesday, repeat – and I want MORE.

2. As you think back over your Christian life, what has been your most grandiose (and unachievable) pipe dream about doing something great for God?

The summer after my 9th grade year, I attended M-Fuge where I dreamed of becoming a missionary. Um, so yeah, that didn’t happen…..

3. Steven says, “We wake up one day to find ourselves stuck in miserable mediocrity.” Is that true for your life right now? If so, describe how you are stuck in mediocrity?

I’m there. I attend church – but more because I feel guilty than because I desire to be there. I teach Sunday School – but put little effort into the lessons. And I am not sure that the life the other 6 days of the week really reflects Christ to those around me.

4. What’s your reaction to this book’s concept of greater (as opposed to grandiose greatness and mediocre great enough)? How does it affect your perspective on your future?

I finally feel excited about the future. I know longer feel as though I have to live a life that is either stuck in neutral or fails to live up to the “ideals” in my head. I don’t have to see myself as striving to be a “Super Christian” ala Billy Graham, Steven Furtick, etc. I can just be me – a wife, mother, career woman who is so sold out to God – that He uses me to do GREATER things in my little rural town in South Georgia.

5. If you already have an idea of what greater thing God might have in mind for you, what is it?

I have NO idea what the Lord has in store for me. But I am so eager to find out!

I am participating in an Online Bible Study via Melissa Taylor. We are using the book Greater by Steven Furtick. I will be sharing my thoughts/feelings here on the blog. I hope that you are blessed my this.

November 26, 2012

Greater: Day 1

This morning I began an online Bible Study via Melissa Taylor.  The study is using the book "Greater" by Steven Furtick.  The premise is to look at how we can move beyond mediocre Christianity and live a greater life in Christ.

For me, the study is an answer to my prayers.  I have felt - for months if not years - that my Christian walk was stuck in neutral. I was going thru the motions, the routines, the rituals - wanting to do more but having no idea how to get there.  I am eager to see what truths the Heavenly Father has in store for me with this study. I decided that I would document the lessons here on the blog. My hope (and prayer) is that it helps someone else who is struggling in their faith. 

Here is what I learned today:

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

~John 14:12

  1. If I hope to have any impact on the Kingdom of God, I first must have FAITH in Christ.
  2. My FAITH in Christ will lead me to do the works that Christ did - sharing the gospel, loving others, serving others.
  3. I can NOT be greater than Christ - after all I am flesh not God.  But I can be GREATER if I allow the Holy Spirit to empower me.  By living out my FAITH and seeking Christ's guidance, my life can make a difference.
Do you ever feel as though you are living a mediocre Christian faith?  Do you long to live a life that is greater?

November 24, 2012

Life with the Lees: Another Milestone

It’s been happening for awhile – I just did not want to believe. I would notice it in the once chubby legs that keep growing longer, sleeker. I could hear it in the broken sentence full of mispronounced words and a few babbles but are now entire conversations. I could feel it when angles of knees and elbows would jab into my sides during a Sunday afternoon nap. She’s declared it loudly for nearly 6 months. But yesterday, my baby officially became a big girl.

Yesterday afternoon, M and I built a toddler bed for Joycie. For months, we had stated that it was time to move her out of her crib – after all she will be 3 in a mere 4 months. But all attempts to find a bed that a) fit our budget, b) fit Joycie’s room, and c) fit both of our styles had failed. Then one evening while scrolling thru Pinterest, I found a link to a homemade toddler bed. I clicked it.

The finished project was a cute toddler bed. I showed the link to M who agreed we could do the same project for Joycie’s room. So with a few pieces of donated lumber, $30 in fabric and batting, and an hour’s worth of work, this beauty now rests where a baby’s crib once did.

And in it sleeps a “big girl” who doesn’t understand yet – but will someday realize that no matter how big she grows, how old she is, or what bed she sleeps in – she’ll always be my baby.

November 02, 2012

I don't think Amazon sells those....

Recently a couple in our church celebrated the birth of their second child, an adorable baby boy.  His big sister Amelia is in Joycie's Sunday School class and was excitedly telling her classmates about her baby brother.  When I picked Joycie up from her class, the following conversation happened.

Joycie: "Mama, 'Melia has a new baby budder."

Me: "A baby brother, that must be so nice."

Joycie: "Uh-huh. 'Melia says she LOVES her baby budder. I want a baby budder, Mama."

Me (quite suprised as Joycie usually tells her grandparents that she does NOT want siblings): "Oh really, and when would you like this baby budder?"

Joycie: "I need him at our house by Thursday!"

Oh dear, I hate to tell the sweet thing that it does not work quite like that. :-)

October 23, 2012

Go Tell It On the Mountain....

I can not remember the last time I shared my faith in Jesus Christ with someone.  Sure, I teach Sunday school on Sunday mornings, volunteer with the youth group on Wednesday nights, and have had long conversations about faith with co-workers.  But that's not what I am talking about.  Those conversations are safe, comfortable, shared between fellow believers.

I am referring to sharing the gospel with a person who has never heard of or does not believe in Jesus Christ.  I am participating in the She Reads Truth study of Philippians.  Today's reading comes from Chapter 1 verses 12-30.  Paul writes to the church telling him that there are those who preach for selfish reasons and those who sincerely desire to share their faith.  Paul does not care of the motives - sure he is not happy about selfish ones - but he sees the bigger picture that the message of God's grace reaches as many lives as possible.

The author of today's reading challenged me to think about what is keeping me from sharing the gospel. Paul was so in love with Jesus that he shared his faith even from behind prison walls.  So why don't I share my faith?

The answer is two-fold.  First, I am not walking with the Lord as I should.  If I am not in fellowship with my Savior, how can I share Him with others.  Secondly, I am scared.  Scared of being called names, judged, or rejected.  But I am CALLED to share the gospel, so I must but fears aside and boldly go forward with the truth.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I am ashamed that I have remained silent for so long. Forgive me for not following your command to share the "Good News" with all the ends of the Earth.  Instill in me a spirit of boldness, not of fear.  Reveal to me, Lord, someone around me who desperately needs to hear the message of salvation.  Empower me to reach out to them and share the message of Christ's death for them.

In Jesus Holy Name,


August 30, 2012

Busy Summer Winding Down


We have had a busy summer as a family. It began with blueberry season, where we spent most afternoons, evenings, and Saturdays picking blueberries. While the work was hot and dirty, the rewards were worth it - as our farm reached a new production high! Once blueberry season was over, we threw ourselves into preparing for our church's Vacation Bible School.


Once VBS was over, we spent a few weekends at the beach. Joycie is absolutely in love with the water! She spent nearly of her time wanting to play in the waves, which meant her Daddy and I spent all of our time keeping her safe. She is quite fearless!

Now we are preparing for the start of college football season!  As season ticket holders, we will spend many weekends in Atlanta cheering on our beloved Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Joycie is already practicing her “Go Tech!” cheer. But before that happens, we have a few more fun trips planned – including a day at the lake!

How was your summer? What fun things do you have planned for the last days of summer?

July 19, 2012

Bigger Picture Moments: The Storm

The lightening flashed outside my window, as the rain pelted again the roof, and the thunder bellowed so loudly that the house seemed to shake. The lights flickered..once...twice..three times and our home was plunged into darkness.

"MAMA!" my daughter screamed as her tiny feet scampered across the wood floor, fleeing from her room into the living room where her father and I were resting.

Snuggling into my lap, she whimpered "I scared, Mama."

"I know baby. But remember who makes the lightening?"


"And who makes the thunder?"


"And who makes the rain?"

"Jesus. Mama, I not scared now." With that pronouncement, she left lap and went to play in the glow of the candles on the mantle.

Later that night, as I lay in bed, listening to the storm. I marveled at how a simple reminder of who created the storm calmed my daughter's fears. Why then, do I her mother, get so fearful when I face a storm of life? Can't I remember who is in control - that the Creator of all things is with me when the black clouds roll in, the ligthing streaks across the sky, and the thunder rumbles loudly.

"Father," I prayed " Help me not to fear. But rather to rest and trust in the simple truth, that You know the storm I'm facing. And that You are with me in the midst of it, and will walk with me until the sun shines once more."


Live Remember that as I am facing the storms of life, my Heavenly Father is in control and with me. Therefore, I have no need to fear...that's my moment this week. What moment do you learn to live in this week?

Capture Write, take a picture, just capture the moment.

Share Link up yours at Sarah's this week

Try to visit the other participants and comment on their post.

June 29, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Dance

On Fridays, the lovely Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama, host a blog carnival called Five Minute Fridays. Each Friday, Lisa-Jo gives us a prompt, then we write about that prompt for 5 minutes - that's i. I have particpated in the past, but then life got in the way and I stopped. But I want to join in the fun again. So here is my humble offering for this week's prompt of DANCE.

My feet ache from being incased in high heeled shoes for 8 hours. My legs are tight and sore from my most recent 3 mile run. I long to sit on the couch, blanket draped across my lap, resting.

“Mama, Mama, MAMA.”

The shouts of my daughter interrupt my daydreams and I scurry to her room, wondering what crisis I will need to deal with now.

As I enter her room, the sounds of her favorite song are drifting thru the CD player’s speakers.

“Did you need me baby?” I ask

“Dance with me, Mama”. Her chubby hands reach for mind and she begins to walk in circles.

I smile as she awkwardly moves to the music. She spins, then stops changes directions, and spins again. Laughter bubbles up from my throat, as I watch this miracle I birthed, dance with abandon.

Suddenly thoughts of aching feet and tired legs drift away, as I shake my own hips and spin in my own circles. My movements garner laughter from my daughter. We dance, dance, dance, until we fall into an exhausted heap in the middle of her bedroom floor.

“Tanks for dancing, Mama” she says as she hurries off to another adventure.

As I watch her gangly legs carry her away, I think “ No, baby, thank you.”

June 28, 2012

Bigger Picture Moments: Redeemed

This week Bigger Picture blogs is turning two. To celebrate this joyous occasion, the members of the Bigger Picture community were asked to accept a challenge. Create a collobration with another member of the group using a song as a prompt.

I was paired with the lovely Alita . And our prompt was Hold the Light by Caedmon's Call.

Here is our birthday gift to Bigger Picture Blogs.

I wander thru my focused on what I want, what I hope to achieve. Pushing forward to my goals, at the expense of all else.

But as the sun lowers in the sky and darkness closes in on my spirit...I realize how I have faltered and failed once again.

Yet, the sorrow of failure is chased away as light fills my heart. For faults and all I am redeemed. And the Creator of the world holds the light to lead back onto His path and toward home.

June 21, 2012

A Girl’s Night In….

Yesterday, Mikey had to work a job at the Swisher Cigar Plant in Jax…which meant he went in at 3:00 p.m. and came home at 11:00 p.m.  Since “Daddy” was going to be gone for the night, I thought it would be fun to play a special Girl’s night for Joycie and I. When I picked her up from daycare, I took her to our local grocery store – but not to buy groceries. The store has a mini carousel located outside. Joycie begs to ride this each time we go – so last night she got to ride.




She LOVED it!  She kept shouting “Yee-hah” as she spun around.  I had to smile at the amount of pleasure she got out of something so simple.  Once her riding was over, I let her pick supper.  She chose “'icken nuggets and French fries”. Granted, it was not the healthiest of choices, but as a special treat it ranked high on her list.  But even better was how we ate our supper…..

Tea Party

The weather was beautiful last night, so Joycie insisted we have a tea party on her porch. I obliged by moving her table, chairs, tea seat and 2 stuffed animals to the porch. We dined while the birds chirped, watched bunnies hop across our yard, and laughed.  It was a glorious time.

After filling our tummies with food, we each got baths, then snuggled in my bed while watching Joycie’s favorite cartoons.  We fell asleep with Joycie snuggled in my arms – which was how Mikey found us when he got home. Yesterday did not cost me a lot other than my time, and it was well worth the price so that I could create special memories with Joycie.

June 16, 2012

Happy Father’s Day


Today I get to celebrate the 3 most important men in my lives – my daddy, my husband, and my father-in-law. Since two of the three read this blog, I thought I would post a tribute to them here.

December Upload 014

Daddy- You are one of the most dynamic, determined, and loving people that I know.  From the time I was small, you were always telling me that I could do anything, be anyone, reach any goal. And you always stood in support of my goals and dreams, even if they did not always match your dreams for me. I remember when I was 10 that I asked you if you ever wished for a son, your reply was simple “No, I have the two best daughters in the world….I don’t need anything.”  Your unconditional love for me has always been my source of strength.  Thank you for teaching me to work hard, be honest, to not take the easy way out, and to do everything that I do with 100%.  I love the memories I have of going on football scouting trips with you, ride dirt roads in the summer while eating ice cream, and the millions more that I have.  One of the greatest things you ever did was to show your love for Mama – you set the example of how a man should be, and gave me guidance in what I wanted in a future husband.

 The End

Mikey: You are my very best friend. You are the safe place that I turn to when life gets hard, I am stressed out, or I just need to cry for no good reason. You love me even when I am being moody and mean.  I love you for so many reasons. I love how you work so hard to provide for our family – even if that means early days, late nights, and long hours. You do whatever it takes without complaint.  I love the sound of your laughter, and how you will find the humor in even the darkest of situation.  My heart falls in love all over again when I watch you with Joycie. There is no doubt that you adore her. Every day, you show us how much we mean to you.   Thank you for supporting me when I decided to run a 5k, when I changed jobs, when I started teaching aerobics…. you believe that I can achieve anything that I want….and your belief in me allows me to believe in myself. I love you so much!


Mr. Mike -  The man that Mikey has become is due in large part to the man that you are.  You taught him how to work hard, love deeply, and to place his faith in the Lord. Even though you never had a daughter of your own, you have been a wonderful Daddy to me. Much like my own father, you have lent me your shoulder to cry own, offered fatherly wisdom when needed, and pushed me when I needed to be pushed.  Thank you for loving me and accepting me into your family long before I became your daughter-in-law.


Daddy, Mikey, Mr. Mike – You are all LOVED very much. I hope that your Father’s Day is the best yet.

May 28, 2012

Joycie – The Negotiator


Joycie ate non-stop yesterday – devouring chicken nuggets, blueberries, strawberries, banannas, milk, french fries, chocolate chip cookies, and M&M’s. (Note: This is not her typical diet, but since it was a holiday weekend, her grandparents snuck her a few of her favorite treats)

Therefore, I was not suprised when she refused all offers of food today.  As of 3:00 p.m., she had only had a few blueberries, a cup of cereal, and some milk.  When I insisted that it was time for a nap, she smiled sweetly and replied “I not nap…I eat ‘ikin nuggets and ‘nanas”


As you can guess, she got her wish. Well played, Joycie, well played.  Maybe law school is in her future?

May 26, 2012

My New Venture

In the past, I have used to this blog to capture bits and pieces of my health journey. However, I really want to use this blog as a true family blog. So I have started a new blog Redefining Kimberly. I hope that you'll pop over for a visit.

May 22, 2012

Little Eyes are Watching, Little Ears are Listening

Each evening afternoon bathtime, pj's and teeth brushing, Mikey, Joycie and I pile into our master bedroom for snuggle time.  Every night, either Mikey or I will offer prayers before we close our eyes and wait for Joycie to fall asleep.  Last night, as we lay there listening for the even breathes that indicate Joycie has drifted off - we heard something different.  A tiny voice whispering the names of her school friends " 'Lana, Lexa, Co-Co (that's Chloe in Joycie speak), and her favorite cartoons, Dora, Boots, Umi Zoomi, and Mama and Daddy.  Amen."
I asked Mikey if he had heard what I had heard.  He squeezed my hand and answered that he had.  Our precious girl was offering up her own prayer - thanking our Heavenly Father for the things she loves most in the world. It made me smile...and reminded me that we bear the responsiblity of teaching Joycie about the love of God, and how to live a life that is pleasing to him.  The weight of that responsiblity is heavy....but moments like last night remind me that perhaps we are doing it right after all.

May 11, 2012

Things I want to Remember

Joycie is growing up so fast that it feels as though she is changing right before my eyes. This blog has allowed to capture and document all the memories, emotions, milestones and moments that I never want to forget.  These days I am marveling at how much her vocabluary is expanding, and chucling at her slight and sometimes large misprounication of words.  My favorites at this stage:
Pee-yooo instead of Pillows
Covees instead of Covers
Muiins instead of Muffins
Dere instead of There.
And that when she couns 1 to 10 she always skips over number 4. When I correct her, she responds "Mama, I not like four."  

April 21, 2012

Joycie Changed My Saturdays


Before Joycie, I spent my Saturday mornings sleeping in and devoted my Saturday afternoons to cleaning the house top to bottom.

Today, I woke up early to squeeze in a run, then took Joycie to a Princess Pancake Breakfast.  Then we came home to have a tea party, and watch an episode of Team Umizoomi.  Once I post this entry, I am joining her for a nap.

I sleep a lot less on Saturdays, and my house is not as neat as it once was….but my Saturdays are so much richer thanks to a little girl that I love so much.

April 18, 2012

Joycie’s 2nd Birthday (Long Overdue)


Joycie offically turned 2 on March 5th. However, since my nephew’s birthday is on February 23rd,  my sister and I decided to have a joint birthday party this year – on the 25th of February.  One party means less work, less stress, and twice as much fun.

The theme of the party was Cowboys and Cowgirls, as chosen by my nephew Trenton.  He insisted that he have a Woody Cowboy cake and that Joycie have a Jessie Cowgirl cake.  My amazing MIL bake and decorated two cakes


Trenton’s cake was chocolate cake with cream cheese icing. Joycie’s cake was yellow cake with buttercream icing. Both tasted amazing and were beautifully decorated.

As part of the activities, we rented a jump house that was enjoyed by children and the adults alike.


When the kids were not jumping, they either played in Joycie’s room or swung on the swings in our backyard.  I had to laugh at the site of a dozen kids packed into Joycie’s small bedroom. But none of them seemed to mind the tight quarters.


After an hour or so of playing, we had cake, ice cream and chips. Then we unwrapped gifts.  Following the gifts, I organized some cowboy themed games.  The first was capture the bandit – in which the kids chased M, my BIL Jason, and good friend Travis who were the “Goody Bag Bandits”.  The guys had stolen the goody bags and stashed them away. The kids had to catch them (tag) then find the good bags.  The game was a HUGE hit.  The 2nd game was the coin toss.  I divided the kids into two teams, and gave them gold coins that they had to toss into a pair of Mikey’s boots.


The party finally wound down around 6:00 p.m. (it started about 1:00) when the cooler weather moved in and we are longed for warmth.  Joycie was amazing at her party – behaving so well in spite of skipping her nap.  It was no surprise that shortly after the party was over I found her like this…


Face down, sound asleep on the living room floor, with a potato chip in hand.  She stayed that way for the next two hours, woke up to eat supper, took a bath and was out cold again at 9:00.

I had so much fun planning this party. I have a million ideas for next year and can not wait to share them with all of you.

April 13, 2012

Terrible 2's

Joycie has always been mild-mannered, easy going, and generally laid back. As an infant, everyone marveled at how calm she was, as a toddler how content she could be no matter where she was or what was going on. As her 2nd birthday approached, everyone warned me that the "Terrible Two's" would soon descend.  But I naively believed that Joycie's personality would continue, and that my sweet, loveable, easy going daughter would remain as such.  HA!


Seemingly overnight, Joycie began having temper tantrums – and since she is my daughter – she can't do them half-way. These tantrums are not just a few tears and screams.  They are full on lay in the floor, scream, kick your feet, cry for nearly an hour fits.  A few tantrums and my nerves were stretched thin.  M and I have tried all methods of discipline – time outs, loss of privileges (no Dora episode after supper), spanking, etc.  Nothing was working.


Yesterday, Joycie screamed for nearly an hour, over seem unknown injustice (She was not tired, hungry, in need of a pull up change, hurt, etc.). She was just mad.  M was still at work, and I felt like the world's worst Mama.  So I chose to ignore her screams and we went on with our evening routine.  I told her "Joycie, I understand you are upset. But throwing a fit does not mean we stop doing what we need to do."


And while she screamed, I gave her a bath, put on her pajamas, gave her a dose of her nighttime meds, and got things ready for the next morning.  When Joycie realized that her fit was not garnering a reaction out of me, she simply stopped.


Now, I know that this is not the end of her temper tantrums.  But I feel as though I have turned a corner in how her tantrums cause me to feel. My game plan for now is to administer discipline so that she learns that this is not the proper response to life and then to simply forge on ahead with our day.


Okay, experienced Moms, is this a good approach?  Any other tips/advice for dealing with the Terrible Two's?

March 21, 2012

My Anniversary

Three years ago, I stood at the front of my childhood church and pledge to love, honor, and obey my best friend. Before all of our family and closet friends, Mikey and I joined our lives together. At the time, I thought I could never love him anymore than I did -- but I was wrong, I fall deeper in love with Mikey every day.

For over a week, I have thought about what I wanted to write to my husband....but I kept coming up short. How do you find the words to express your love to the man who is your safe place when life gets trouble, let's you cry on his shoulder, pushes you to pursue your dreams, and is an amazing father. I am not sure I can.

So I started reading thru my old blogs...and I came across this entry written in 2005

"Now, at the ripe old age of 23, I do find myself warming to the idea of being married and raising children. However, I am in no hurry to rush to the altar. Moreover, my idea of a marriage is vary different from the stereotypical marriage.

Here's what I want out of my marriage:

1. A husband who is willing to be an equal partner in all aspects of the marriage - this includes and is not limited to Cooking dinner, Cleaning up around the house, Changing dirty diapers, Completing his fair share of 2 a.m. feedings

2. The ability to maintain my own full-time career, should I so choose. By the same token, the right to decided to be a full-time Mom, but not to be told that it is "What I'm suppose to do"

3. A husband who understands that I am horrible when it comes to ironing, would rather read a book than cook dinner, will never under any circumstances learn to sew beyond sewing on a button or hemming a pair of pants.

4. A husband who is willing to treat me with respect and love - even when I don't deserve it."

Did I get what I wanted -- yes, yes, yes...and so much more!

1. Mikey has taken on more than his fair share of cooking duties - sometimes cooking every night of the week, he has changed more than his fair share of the dirty diapers, and has done his turn at the 2 a.m. feedings. He has also mopped the bathroom floors at 9:00 p.m. - after Joycie got sick, stayed up all night with her and then went to work the next day.

2. Mikey has always supported the choices that I have made in career - and has always told me that if I wanted to change things, then he would stand by me.

3. Three years of marriage later, I have only ironed for Mikey 4 times - and that's only because we were running late. He knows that I hate it, and he gives me a major pass on this household duty. He laughs when he finds me at the kitchen table reading when I am suppose to be cooking, and as of yet has not asked me to sew a single thin.

4. I am not always easy to love. In fact, I have to admit that in the past 3 years there have been times when I have been mean - even downright cruel to Mikey. And yet, he still loves me, treats with respect. He brags on me to his friends, shows me affection in front of Joycie, as well as when we are alone. And he still looks at me like he did on our wedding day - as if he is thinking "How did I get so lucky?".

I am wonder the same thing, baby. 6 years ago I had vague idea of what I wanted out of a marriage. 3 years ago, God took that vague idea and put it to life in my marriage to you. And with each passing day, I realize that I got way more than I could ever of dreamed of -- I am the lucky one!

Happy Anniversary babe!

March 17, 2012

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Joycie!


Dearest Joycie,

You turned 2!!!  For more than 24 months, we have shared our lives with you – and we are so blessed for it.  I thought you changed so much in the first year of your life, but I think you might have changed even more in the 2nd. Let’s start off with you stats. We had your 2 year old check up last week and you are now 34 inches tall and weigh 30 pounds.  Doctor C was very happy with how well you had grown and progressed since your 18th month check up.


This year you mastered the art of walking, then running, and jumping. You went from babbling, to saying a few words, to carry on entire conversations.  You continued to develop an outspoken, fun loving, joyful personality. 


You love to be on the move – whether it is jumping on the trampoline with your cousins, riding the tractor with Daddy, or dancing around the house with Mama.  You are “Go…Go…Go”  from the time you wake up until your head hits the pillow at night.  While at times, it makes us tired, it gives us so much happiness that you are living life to the fullest.

You are also very smart and kind.  You are already learning the various letters of the alphabet, how to count, and can identify some colors.  At school and church, you tend to look after the younger children – bringing them toys, giving the hugs and kisses, and playing with them. Mama got to see your nuturing side, when she found you likes this:


Standing on the chair reading to your baby dolls – each of which was tucked in a blanket.


The past 24 months of been full of so much joy and happiness but there was also a bit of fear… as you starting experiencing seizures. But you faced that challenge like anything else – head on and with a smile.  You went thru an MRI and an EEG with very little fuss – something that would be hard for most adults, much less a little girl.

Our greatest prayer for you has always been that you would grow up to have a heart for Jesus.  We can already see our prayers being answered as you get so excited when we go to church, love to sing Sunday school songs, and often wave at the stars and say ‘Hi, Jesus’.  We continue to pray that we can raise you to love our Savior with all of your heart.

And we continue to thank that same Savior, that he chose us to be the parents of such an amazing little girl.

We love you!

~Mama and Daddy

March 05, 2012

Test Results are In (Joycie's Seizure Update, Part 3)

Today on her 2nd birthday, Joycie underwent an EEG. After the EEG, we met with her neurologist and learned that both the MRI (which she had last Thursday) and the EEG were perfect normal. Basically, we have no true reason for why Joycie is having seizures, however, the medicine seems to be controlling them. For now, we will continue with the current dosage and will see the neurologist again in 3 months. Please pray that the meds continue to keep Joycie seizure free. Thank you all for the prayers over the last few weeks.

February 22, 2012

Update on Joycie's Seizures

In early October, I shared with you all (assuming anyone is still
reading) that my daughter Joycie had begun to experience seizures. I
todl you of how scared I was, but that I was trusting the Lord to lead
our family thru this trying time. And then I never said another word
about it.

Earlier today, I had a reader reach out to me, concerned about Joycie.
After communicating with her, I thought I would update you all on
Joycie's condition. We saw a pediatric neurologist in December, who
stated that all of Joycie's symptoms and behaviors pointed towards
seizures. She told us that she wanted Joycie to have a sedated MRI and
an EEG to see if it could be determiend why Joycie was having
seizures. She sent us home from the appointment with a prescription
for Kepra and orders to fill it only if Joycie had another seizure.

Christmas came and went, then the New Year, and Joycie showed no signs
of having another seizure. Then on Thursday, January 26th, Joycie had
her 4th seizure. Joycie was with me at the aerobics class that I teach
at our church. She had been running around, laughing, playing, and
behaving normally. She asked her Aunt Amy to pick her up, but when Amy
did, Joycie began to cry softly. I took her out of Amy's arms -
thinking she was just tired. But almost immediately, her eyes rolled
back in her head, her whole body stiffened, and she began posturing
(hands and feet turn inward). I screamed for my MIL who was there and
happens to be a nurse. By the time she made it across the room, Joycie
was once again aware of her surrondings. But she was extremly pale,
sweaty, and clingy.

I called her neurologist the next morning. And Joycie immediately
began taking Kepra. Thus far the medicine seems to be working, as she
has had no seizures since the 26th. Next Thursday, we will take Joycie
for a sedated MRI and her EEG study will be the follow Monday.

We remain hopeful that these tests will give us insight into why this
is happening to Joycie. And even if the tests are inconclusive, we
trust that the Lord is holding our bayb in His Hands. Please remember
us in your thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks.

February 17, 2012

Getting Real – Week One

It’s been nearly a week since I announced to the blogging world that I was Getting Real with the foods that I use to fuel my body.  When I made my announcement, I had no true plan other than to not eat a meal that came for a box or a bag.  And I have been about 85% successful, I did have a frozen meal on Wednesday – but only because I had 20 minutes before church services started, a toddler with a head cold who wanted to be held, and no real plan for dinner.  There has also been chocolates consumed – but it is Valentine’s Day – and M bought me a whole bag of my favorite truffles… can I say no?

But the week is winding down, the truffles are almost gone (sniff), the frozen meals are no longer in my freezer – and at 85% success I feel better. I see less bloating in my belly, less tummy aches after meals, and the scale shows a small loss.  However, I can not keep winging it, and thus I began searching for a plan.  Oh my!

There are literally thousands upon thousands of plans on how to eat real.  I have read article after articles,  compared and contrasted, talked with friends and family,  read some more, prayed for guidance, and then made a choice.  M, Joycie and I will be following the Paleo Style of eating.  This feels like the best fit for our family, since M and I are both sensitive to grains and dairy products. Joycie will be allowed grains and dairy as she desires, but they will be whole grain and organic dairy from now on.

I plan on documenting my journey here – sharing receipes, talking about tempations, highlighting my stuggles, and the slip ups that are sure to come.

I promise not to turn this into a healthy living blog. But this is my blog about what’s happening in my life, and right now adopting healthier eating habits is a huge part of that journey.  I hope that you will follow along with me.

February 12, 2012

Getting Real (Food)

Today I stepped on the scale and saw number that I haven't seen in 4 years - except for when I was pregnant. I generally don't let the number on the scale affect me -- after I focus on living a healthy lifestyle, as health is far more important that what I weigh. Bu the truth of the matter is, I am NOT living healthy these days. Too many diet cokes, too many candy bars at 3:00 p.m., too many meals that come out of boxes or bags -- has added up.

I feel sluggish, lethargic, uncomfortable in my own skin. Something has to change...that number was my wake up call to get real. And so I begin the journey of weeding out the processed junk that I had convinced myself was food, and replacing it with real food - proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats.

And hopefully by getting real, I will get back to the best version of myself.

February 10, 2012

23 Months



Dear Joycie,

You are now 23 months old.  Can we take a moment and let that sink in….23 months old means you are almost 2?  How did that happen?  I still find myself looking for the tiny, snuggly baby that I brought home from the hospital….but instead I see a funny, spunky, loving little girl.

You are weighing between 28 and 29 pounds – Mama couldn’t get you to stand still on the scale to get more accurate numbers.  In terms of height you are 44 inches, and wear 2T and 3T clothing.

You continue to talk more and more in sentences – telling us what you want, where you want to do, what you want to do.  You love to tell everyone to “cry” or “laugh” on command – and if we don’t you show us how to do it.

Music is still your absolute favorite thing.  Last weekend, you went to a Father/Daughter dance with Daddy….and danced the entire time.


When you are not dancing to music, you love to play house – either tending to your babies or cooking meals for us on your kitchen set.  When you do watch television, you enjoy Chuggington, Phineas and Ferb, and Babar and the Adventures of Badou.

On a more serious note, you had another seizure this month. It only lasted 10 to 20 seconds….but it was the most terrifying 10 to 20 seconds of my life.  Thankfully, you recovered quickly – and we were able to really see what happens when you have one.  After consulting with your neurologist, you are now on your medication while we await your MRI and EEG.  The medicine seems to make you tire more easily but it has also increased your appetite.


Potty training is still on the back burner. You now what the potty is for, you like to sit on it, but actual use of it is still hit or miss.  However, you are telling us when you need a diaper change, and point out the big girl panties in stores, so we think potty training will go smoothly when we start.


You have a zest of life and tons of unbridled passion – which is wonderful. But sometimes your stubborn streak rears its head, and we have to reign you in.  There have been lots of time outs in our house lately….and tears (both ours and yours).   However, it never lasts very long.  You quickly become are sweet girl again.


And even on the most difficult days, we wouldn’t have life any other way!


Mama & Daddy   

January 31, 2012

Updated on my 30 Before 30

As you may remember, on my 29th birthday I posted a list of 30 things
I wanted to accomplish before my 30th birthday. Nearly 6 months in, I
thought it would be a godo time to evaluate what I have or have not

Here are the goals I have met:

Dance in the rain with Joycelen.

-- Joycie and I have danced in the rain several times over the last
few months. She loves it - tossing her head backing, laughing out loud
and shout "Rain go... We wet Mama".

Take dance lessons.
- Does an instructional DVD count?

Try at least 1 new recipe each month.
- This goal has been a smashing success. M and I have been cooking at
home a LOT, and trying lots of new recipes. I am enjoying learning to
prepare new dishes.

Start a children's choir at my church.
-My sister in law and I have laid the foundation for a children's
choir, when we led the children in a Christmas musical. The kids are
now interested in learning specials to sing before the congregation
and we are busy planning our next performance.

Chase lighting bugs with my nieces and nephews.
- Done – although we never managed to catch those little bugs.

There are a few goals that I have let go of:

Run a 5K race with Mikey.
Run a 5K race with my running group in each of the 4 seasons.
Run a 10K .
Complete a half marathon.
Run a 10 K race with my running group in each of the 4 seasons.

These goasl pertained to running. Due to life circumstances and some
medical issues, I have had to postpone a great deal of my running.
Therefore, it seems unrelastic that I will achieve this goals. But I
am okay with that - as my long term health and wellness is more
important. Hopefully, by spring I can train again, and will look to at
least run a 5k with Mikey and 1 to 2 5Ks with my running group.

Attend a professional football game.
- Almost happened, but then Joycie got sick. Family trumps football any day.

What's left to achieve:

Take a week day off from work, have M do the same, and spend the
entire day at home with Joycie. (Bonus points if we spend the whole
day in our p.j.s)
-- We have not done this yet. However, we did spent a few Saturdays in
our p.j.'s, cuddled in our bed, watching cartoons, having pillow
fights, and spending time together.
Attend a Nascar Race
Taking a cooking class with M.
Visit at least 2 states that I have never been to before.
Take a mission trip to another country. However, if this can not
happen a mission trip to another state will be fantastic.
Take an unplanned, uncharted, unknown roadtrip with M & Joycie. Just
load up in the car and go.
Spend an afternoon listening to my grandmother tell family stories.
Record these on video.
Treat my Mama to a spa day.
Spend a day fishing with my Daddy.
Treat my sister to a girl's day out - mani's, pedi's, a little
shopping, and a nice lunch. Complete a bike race.
Ride in a "poker run" with M.
Find something to be grateful for every day for the next year. Post a
picture of the item on my blog.
- I have started keeping a gratitude journal. It allows me to capture
the small moments of life that make me so grateful.
Practice random acts of kindness. The goal is at least one each month
for the next year.
- This goal is going well. I love finding ways to make people smile –
whether they are friends, family, coworkers or total strangers. Their
happiness has brought me immense joy.
Have something that I have written be published in a newspaper,
magazine or online.
Research, begin, and if possible earn my personal training certification.
Take a digital photography course.
Spend the day playing tourist in my tri-county area. Visit the
attractions that bring out of town folks to the area.
Read at least 1 new book each month. A new book can be defined as
either a newly published work or an old work that I have never read.
-I have managed to read 8 new books in the last 6 months. I have
fallen in love with reading again.

Not a bad start, here's to the next 6 months and all that it holds!

January 30, 2012

One Sentence Journal: 1/29/12

The perfect Sunday afternoon is a long nap underneath warm blankets
with Mikey and Joycie snuggled on either side of me.

January 27, 2012

One Sentence Journal: 1/26/12

I felt helpless tonight as I watched Joycie have another seizure.

(I will post full details later).

January 23, 2012

One Sentence Journal: 1/22/12

When Joycie saw me at church, she ran down the aisle shouting "Hi,
Mama, Love you, Mama"....I guess she had missed me.

One Word Journal: 1/21/2012

After the ladies retreat ended, I enjoyed heartfelt conversation with
several ladies and was amazed at how much we all had in common.

January 20, 2012

One Sentence Journal: Singing in the Morning

Yesterday, I read an article in Good Housekeeping, where the Mom keeps
a one sentence journal. Each day she writes a sentence about
something that happened to the family that day. Sometimes it is a
memory she want to capture, a funny story, or a simple description of
the activites of the day. I was inspired by the life is
racing full speed ahead.....Joycie is constantly changing, learning,
growing, there are things I want to remember years from now. But I
would rather spend my precious spare time playing tea party with her
than blogging. And by the time she is tucked away at night, the great
post I was going to compose gets lost in my sleep seeking brain....and
thus those moments slip away. I think for this stage of my life, a
one sentence journal is a great idea. I still plan on writing lengthy
posts, but you will be seeing more "snapshots" of life for the time

With all that being said, here is today's one sentence.

Each morning, I sing "This is the Day" while I dress Joycie but today
was different - today Joycie sang the song to me, it may have come out
"Dis is da day...Dis is da day", but is was more beautiful than any
song I have ever heard.

January 13, 2012

22 Months




You are now 22 months old.  You are weighing 28 pounds, are  44 inches tall, and wear 2T and 3T clothing.

Just like last month, your vocabulary continues to expand. When I pick you up from daycare, you tell me “Mama, I go home”.  You are also expressing your wants/needs in more sentence like statements “I want moo (milk”,  “Juice please”, etc.

You continue to love music – last weekend you sang and sang as Lacey and London strummed their guitars. If the radio is on in the car, you dance and clap your hands.


We are working on potty training – and have some minor successes. You now tell us when your diaper needs to be changed, and a few times you let us know before you went.  We will work more on this when you move up to the 2 year old classroom in March.

You are very loving and helpful. Your teachers tell us that you are always helping the smaller kids in your class take off their jackets, put away their toys, or hug them when they get upset.


You are also showing a more daredevil personality. Earlier this week, Daddy and I turned our backs for just a minute and we found you on top of the ktichen table. 

You certainly keep us on our toes, Joycie!  And we love every minute of the adventure!


Mama & Daddy

January 05, 2012

Embracing My Camera


Right after Joycie was born, M gifted me with a shiny, new DSLR – it was  a hybrid push present/ Mother’s Day Gift. I was beyond excited as I dreamed of all the gorgeous, professional looking photos I would take.  I vowed to learn all I could about photography so that I could capture all of Joycie’s special moments.

And while I have taken literally thousands of photos in the past 2 year, my knowledge of photography and my camera has not advance beyond the basics.  I figured that I was just too busy – and we have an amazing photographer that we use for professional shots – so I did not pursue the issue.

But then my friend, Kevin started this this amazing blog that showcases a daily photo of his life.  His beautiful work inspired me to dust off my camera, revive my interest, and starting shooting again.

For now, my goal is to simply take a photo every day. I need to get comfortable with my camera.  I am also going to head to the library to find a book on digital photography – in the hopes that I can learn how my camera actually works beyond the auto setting.

I’ll wrap up this post with my first photo of 2012.