A Boy's Winter Wonderland

Well, it's official. This beach lovin' family has a snow lover amongst us. To be honest and completely fair, he LOVES just about everything that has to do with outside. During our beach vacation he adored the sand (okay, so he adored eating the sand, but still...).

Anyway, back to my point. My Jaron boy was ecstatic this morning to wake up to snow, snow and more snow. He has pretty much lived at our window all morning long.


He even insisted on eating his snack at the window. Because, you know, he wouldn't want to miss a single second of watching that snow fall.


The bonus that comes with the snow are all the snow plows, or "no now's" as he calls them. Every time one goes by he yells for me to come look.


And this, well this is his big, happy smiling face. I know, it's a bit cranky looking, but I promise, whenever I ask him to smile his happy smile, this is what I get.


I think his excitement might make a snow lover out of me yet!

Embers

Jonathan and I meet with friends of ours every Monday night to worship together for an hour or so. We do this in harp and bowl style which is refreshing and challenging all at the same time. The last few weeks we have been singing through Psalm 18.

Y'all I have to be honest, it's crushing me. I don't know why but just getting through the first few verses is like trudging up a steep hill with 500 lbs on my back. In the dark. On an empty stomach.

In other words, it's rough. And I'm barely making it.

By verse 2 (which says, "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.") I am usually holding back tears. It's like the Lord is taking a fire poker and jamming it into the most tender place of my heart looking to stir up whatever embers lay there. It hurts and I don't like it.

I would like to take a cue from Jaron and throw myself on the floor and pitch a fit.

"Enough Lord!!! ENOUGH!"

I would like to go limp when He picks me up and just fall back to the floor. Because whenever that stupid fire poker thingy comes out it means stuff has to be dealt with. Old crap has to be cleaned up and cleared out. It usually means that a lot of work is ahead and I just am not in the mood to deal with it.

So there.

How's that for a little toddler fit??

Oh y'all. Why does it have to be so hard, this living life thing?

I suppose I'm just making it harder than it needs to be.

Also, I'm sorry that I have been MIA lately. Honestly I don't know what to say about it other than my priorities are just different right now. I have been thinking about stopping all together and just deleting this thing, but something keeps me from doing that. So for now, I'll blog when I have something to say and I will not pressure myself to keep this thing going on a daily basis. That okay with y'all??

A Little Innocence Lost

So, play date at the library this morning. Met a couple girlfriends (See, I'm making progress in the friendship department ! Yay!) and their kiddos in the children section. I don't know if y'alls libraries are like this, but ours has this big area with toys and puppets for the kids to play with. Lots of kids running around and having fun. Great time for mom's to chat and have some "bonding" time. :)

Anyway, kids are playing and running around everywhere. Jaron wanders up to this other little boy about his size. I am watching from a distance as he approaches and I can tell that he really wants this little boy to play with him. Instead of playing, when Jaron gets up close, this little boy grabs Jaron's face on both sides and scratches him!

Jaron's eyes welled up with tears, and he got a big boo-boo lip and was about to cry. Then he reared his arms back and shoved that little boy to his butt!! I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry! Obviously, I ran over to him and just then the other mom get's there. Of course she's bit perturbed b/c all she saw was Jaron pushing her son and not what her son did to Jaron.

Anyway, I made Jaron apologize for acting out of anger, but inside I was SO proud of my boy for defending himself. We are not a "just turn the other cheek" kind of family. We do not want to raise a bully and will not tolerate Jaron being an antagonist (like that little boy was) but we do want Jaron to defend himself when necessary.

Poor Jaron has a horrible scratch on his face and on the cornea (white part) of his eye. But the hardest part is that Jaron now knows that it's possible to hurt people like that. I'm sad that he had to learn that lesson at such a young age. I know I can't protect him forever, but I guess I was hoping it would be another year or so before he saw someone acting aggressively towards him.

And I have to be honest, I am bit mad at myself for not saying something more to the other mom. She has no clue that her kid scratched Jaron's face. I should have spoken up more and I'm sad that Jaron didn't see me defending him better than I did. I with I could redo the conversation I had with her.

I guess Jaron and I both learned something from this situation today.

On Friendships and Being Shy

In my head I am really this outgoing, gregarious person. I make good conversation with witty remarks always on the tip of my tongue. I am selfless and encouraging and always smiling.

In reality I think I am more like a hermit. A quiet, wallflower is more accurate. (Except when I am with my family, then I more closely resemble those traits I mentioned above.) This shyness is something I really dislike about myself, honestly. I wish that I could make friends more easily. I wish that I wasn't so darn weary about getting myself out there and meeting other moms.

But, ugh, the thought of having to go through that whole "who are you, where have you been, what do you like" phase just makes me sick to my stomach.

I have been working really hard at some friendships lately. Not trying too hard, but working hard. (And yes, there is a difference between trying too hard and working hard at something.) I feel like I am beginning to see some changes happening. Not in the others I am spending time with, but in me. I feel like the more I focus on being in the moment the more myself I am able to be.

The me I want to be, anyways.

I am happy with many of my character traits. And I do realize that God made us all with a special uniqueness that makes us, us. But I also recognize that there are things in me that need to change. I cannot live my life without companionship. My husband is great and all, but I can only talk for so long about cooking and decorating before his eyes glaze over! :)

I will tell you one thing that I love about myself though-- I love that I am a loyal friend. My parents taught me a lot about being loyal and it is something that has always stuck with me. I will defend my friends to the end and stick by through thick and thin. I think it's one of my best features, if I do say so myself! :)

Heaven knows that we can stand to talk about the good things since I'm sure we all obsess over the bad way too much! :) So, let's all get a little egotistical today-- what's the best thing about you?? What do you love most about yourself?

The Case Of The Missing Poop

Jonathan had to be at work early this morning and was out the door at 7:30. Jaron had just finished eating his breakfast and I was rushing around trying to get ready before the little baby I watch arrived. I was in the midst of craziness (in my drama queen mind) at the exact moment that Jaron appeared at my bedroom door. With poop smeared all over his hands.

And poop down his legs.

And poop on his feet.

And poop between his toes.

And, oh yeah, poop all over the floor too.

Here's the thing... there wasn't much poop in his diaper. And the poop that was clinging to his leg wasn't enough to paint the rest of his body, and my carpets, in as many coats of brown as there appeared to be. That meant that somewhere in my house was a pile of poop.

Fabulous. Just fabulous.

After getting Jaron and his cute little tush cleaned off, I searched my house high and low, looking for the missing poop. Y'all, it was no where to be found. No. Where.

That leaves only one logical conclusion.

Yep, the dog ate the poop.

I must go throw up now. And brush my teeth obsessively. And light all the candles in the house to rid it of the nasty smell, and memory, of stinky little boy poop.

Have a poopy, um I mean, a happy Friday, y'all.

Disappointment

Disappointment. What a nasty word. Webster defines it as “failing to meet the expectations or hope of” [someone].

I don’t see myself as a people pleaser. I don’t worry about meeting the unattainable needs of everyone around me. I know that I am only human, and a selfish one at that. I know that I cannot live up to everyone else’s expectations of who I should be or what I should do. But it’s different when it’s someone close to me; someone with whom I’ve built a relationship. When I let those kinds of people down, it is a hard thing to come to grips with.

As an adult looking back over my life, I realize I’ve always had hang up’s with disappointment. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of times when I was a disappointment to my parents. That’s not to say I didn’t have a happy and loving childhood. My parent’s are wonderful parents. But I could be a bit of a stinker as kid. Shocker, I know, but I was. And I remember a few times when my dad said, “Casey Michelle, I am so disappointed in you.” No other punishment was needed. Knowing I was a disappointment was harsh enough.

I don’t blame this hang up on my parents. In a way, I blame it on God. He’s the one who gave me a conscience. He’s lavish love has ruined me. Because He loves me, I know I can be a disappointment to Him. Because He’s sacrificed so much for me, I know I can, and will, let Him down. If He hadn’t given so much, or loved so deeply, the disappointment wouldn't be so bad.

It makes me think of Paul in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

First of all: I do not understand what I do. It’s true. I don’t always "get me" and the decisions I make.

Second of all: I do what I hate. Doesn't make sense, but I’m lazy and undisciplined. True confession.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end with disappointment.

“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life”. Psalms 23:6 (The Message)

Then GOD promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God's prayer”. Psalms 42: 8 (The Message)

“They found grace out in the desert, these people who survived the killing. Israel, out looking for a place to rest, met God out looking for them! God told them, ‘I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!’” Jeremiah 31: 2-3 (The Message)

My favorite part- “Expect love, love and more love!”

Salty Things, or A Continuation Of An Earlier Post

(In case you missed it, read Part I first.)

I feel that I first must say that this is hard information to adequately convey. I mean hard as in can't find the right words, not as in emotionally difficult. :) I have tried several times to get this all down in a way that does is justice. As if we were having a conversation face to face. It's hard to do y'all!

You see, as I studied the significance of salt I was really blown away. And then, out of this knowledge, the Lord started speaking to me in new and exciting ways.

Salt was a form of currency back in the day. It had value and importance. So much so that in Leviticus 2:13 the Lord God command it be apart of the grain offerings. “Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings.”

And get this; the grain offering was made to show honor and respect to God in worship. Salt was apart of their worshiping God! It was an acknowledgment that all we have belongs to God. It was seen as a symbol of God’s activity in a person’s life, because it "penetrates, preserves and aids in healing". (Haley's Bible Handbook)

In the middle of all this discovery, I was having some really hard days. The kind of days that find you grappling within your spirit. Do you know the kinds of days I am talking about? I was sick to my stomach and on the verge of a panic attack. There was 1 particular situation in my life that I was stressing over. An obligation that was doing me in. I really need clear direction and I wasn't getting any at all.

There I was reading about salt and reading Matthew 5:13 over and over and asking the Lord to shift something in my life, to make some change, to let things loose. (Really, this was a dangerous request, because who knows what He might do! Just shows how desperate I was for resolution.)

Anyway, as I'm reading I realized that I have lost my saltiness. I had become quite content with the status quo and let my flavor fade. At this point the only thing I could do was to cry out to the Lord. So that's how I start praying, "Lord make me salty again! How can I be salt again?!" I was really crying out to Him, seeking direction and I wasn't hearing any response.

Around that time was this worship night thingy that Jonathan was playing drums at. I was looking forward to a good soaking worship time. I thought that maybe I would hear from the Lord then. It would be a more free flowing service and maybe, just maybe, someone would have a word for me or pray over me and the Lord's voice would be made clear. Maybe I would figure out how to be salty again.

That night came and went with not a peep from the heavens.

My soul was downcast and I was feel forgotten. I laid in bed that night and bawled my eyes out. Feeling sorry for myself, I rolled over to go to sleep when, clear as day, my heart heard, "Your tears have salt in them and they are valuable to me."

(more to come...)

,

Funky Hair, Fun Fair

First things first... I got my hair funktified this weekend. I always, ALWAYS, have hair cutters remorse for a few days after the cut, even if I just get a trim. This is a huge change for me so the remorse is a bit more intense, but I think it's starting to grow on me. (Get it, "grow" on me?!?! Ha! I am hilarious!)

Anyhoooo... here are a few pictures...



Not the greatest shots, but I think you can get the idea. I got it cut and had some sassy red highlights added. I wanted something less blah and I would say I got it! :)

Now... on to the fair. We took Jaron yesterday and had a blast! We went with Nanna and Papa (my folks) and Jaron was in awe of just about everything. It was also the night that the Jonas Brothers were in concert so the place was packed with screaming girls! We got a few chuckles in at the antics of the crazed fans.

Here are a few shots of our day at the fair...







Now we are off to enjoy a family Bar-B-Que. Gotta love 3 day weekends! :)

Salt

I was smack dab in the middle of a dry spell. I was thirsty for something, anything and yet I was stuck. Dry. Parched. I was struggling with my faith; grappling with indecision; unable to move forward, unwilling to try.

One day I found another woman’s story and it spoke to me. Who she is, and what her testimony contains is not truly important to my story. What is important is that after reading her words, after hearing her heart, after witnessing her depth of peace, I realized my choice had already been made. I could wait it out as long as I wanted, but the God I bound myself to as a child was wooing me back to His heart.

One conviction I’ve had for a long time is that I tend to speed read the bible as though I am reading my favorite novel. That whole quantity vs quality conundrum, you know? As I was reading this woman’s words I found myself most drawn to the stories of her connections to God’s Word. She was going through a tragedy, yet time and time again she found endless comfort in the scriptures she studied. Her secret, she said, was taking it one sentence, one word, at a time.

I wanted what she had. I found myself longing for that connection. I wanted an answer to my loneliness.

A few days later I settled in with my bible… and a few concordances… and my journal… and of course, my favorite pen. :) (Had to be prepared, ya know?!) I quieted my heart before the Lord and asked him to speak to me. Immediately, the words from a Lifehouse song popped into my head.
Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

(Everything, by Lifehouse)
Those words consecrated my time with the Lord. They sealed off distractions; they bound up the enemy’s whispers. In the midst of those few phrases I found myself laid bare before Him and completely ready to receive.

When I opened up my bible I was drawn to Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt off the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?

As I quickly read this verse my mind was already on the next phrase when my heart yelled, “Stop. Go back. Slow down. DON’T MISS THIS!!” Surprised by the intensity of this quickening, I reread the text many times, taking it word by word. As I soaked it up I began to journal my initial thoughts…
Have I lost my saltiness? (YES!)
How does salt lose its saltiness?
How can I be made salty again? Is it possible?
What is/are the purpose(s) of salt?
Flavor, preserver, curing meats, causes water to reach boiling point more quickly...
The more I thought about this verse the more intrigued I became by what the Lord was trying to say to me. I began to research it more in depth and I was profoundly impacted by what I discovered...

(to be continued!)

Happy Last Year Of Your 20's, Babe!


Look how hot he is! I am one lucky woman! :)

Love Story

Andrea, at Sgt and Mrs Hubs, is hosting a Valentine's Day Lovefest! She has invited readers to share the story of how they met their spouse. I think it is a fitting way to celebrate the day of loooooove, so I am joining in. Happy Valentine's Day!! (And don't forget to visit Sgt and Mrs Hubs for some more romantic stories!)


I was lonely after my family made the cross country move. Finding friends my age proved problematic. My only social outlet was with the youth group (at church), where I was an adult leader. For months I went to work, hung out with the high schoolers, and slept. Rinse and repeat. Boring. Depressing. Blah.

I accepted my fate, begrudgingly, until one Sunday hope set a spark in my heart. Across the youth room I saw a handsome face that I couldn’t ignore. This was somewhat bothersome for I was pretty sure that the face belonged to a high school kid and I wasn’t in to cradle robbing. I left church that day putting it out of my mind, but as I said, hope had light a spark. I went about business as usual, forgetting the face, but not the feeling.

My younger brother, Andy, was meanwhile pestering me about some guy he had met at church. According to Andy, said guy was “awesome” and a “California dude” who loved In n’ Out burgers (that won big marks in Andy’s book) and he was a drummer. Since I come from a family of musicians this was an added bonus in Andy’s opinion.

Day after day Andy would taunt me, saying, “You have to meet Jon (name of Andy’s boy toy). I think you should marry him.”

Since my husband “criteria” was a little more sophisticated than “Must love In n’ Out burgers, be an awesome California dude and must play drums”, I didn’t give Andy and his quest much thought.

Several months later I was chaperoning at The Large Youth Event Hosted By Our Church. My brother, being the precocious 14 year old that he was, decided it was time I met “his” Jon, who was also a chaperon at The Large Youth Event Hosted By Our Church.

Trying to hide from Andy and his suitor, I introduced myself into a conversation that my other brother, Gabe, was having with someone named Jonathan.

(Do you see where this is going?)

Hmm, I thought, Jonathan looks strangely familiar...

Halfway through that thought Andy comes running up, "Oh, you've met him already?!"

Yep, you guessed it. Jonathan was Jon. Andy's Jon. The Jon that Andy had been raving about for months now.

But that’s not all… Jonathan was also the good-looking face from months earlier. The face that sparked hope- the one I thought belonged to a high school boy. Was I ever wrong! And folks, can I just say... I was smitten. Right on the spot, I was head over heels infatuated with that man.

I don't believe in love at first sight, but I knew at that moment Andy had been right all along. I was going to marry that man.

And, four years later I did just that.



To read a little more about my romance with Jonathan (it's even better than the first part!), check out this story: Sing A Song, Tell a Love Story

Thirsty

Have you ever found yourself without words? Without a way to express what it is your soul is trying to say?

Have you ever found yourself feeling something that you are unable to explain. Or make sense of. Or understand.

Have you ever found yourself speechless, yet wanting- no needing-- no yearning to be heard?

Have you ever found yourself sitting up, late at night, trying to figure out why your heart is beating so fast, and why your skin is tingling, and why you feel as though you might just jump right out of your own skin?

Have you ever found yourself needing to let it all out before it oozes right on out of your pores? And yet you have no idea what it might be?

Tonight I found myself struggling to speak, to be heard, to make sense, to understand.

Tonight, I found that this song said the words my soul was trying to say. And now, I get it.

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Casey
I am a lover of: God... my sexy husband... 3 of the cutest kiddos in the world... deep friendships... a good book... music that moves me... the beach... sunshine... cooking... and laughter.
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