Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Political Ponderings Take 2

I did a post back in November of 2012 after the presidential election. I remember waking up to feed my sweet Aubrey (who was just one at the time) and realizing that Barack Obama had won the election yet again.  I literally wept. I think I was just so overcome with despair and fear for our nation. I felt like we were walking further and further away from the truth of God's word. I did not feel like what President Obama stood for lined up with Biblical truths or even really just plain good morals. I was fearful of the unknown, not just for myself but mostly my children.

Here we are four years later and we have just completed another election. I will once again say that I do not have much trust or faith in the man we elected, however I am thankful that he does seem to align himself with Godly men and wise counsel.

But here is the kicker...the nugget of truth that I have discovered about our Presidents, both past and future.  It really doesn't matter.  There, I said it.  It really doesn't matter who is in the white house. The only thing that truly matters or makes a difference is Who reigns at our house. Sure government matters.  Sure amendments and regulations matter. But what if every single person could step back and solely focus their efforts and attention on their own house. What if we poured our hearts into our marriages, our own work place, our inner circle of friends and most importantly our children. That my friends, is where we would see huge results. One man or woman will not change our country. One president in power will not alter the moral decay of an entire nation. Congress or the courts will not bring us back to where we need to be. The only way our nation will really see change is if it starts within our homes.

If we are really committed to seeing radical results, which so many are looking for, I firmly believe that we must begin by working diligently in our own families and homes. The change will only come from within our own homes...not from the white house.

So what are we to do?

This is exactly what I wrote 4 years ago.  Not one thing has changed.  We may have a new person in the white house, but the same Ruler and Savior is in control at our house.

I'm going to continue to pray for our president.  Pray that he will have supernatural wisdom and insight for our country. I'm going to pray for him to make decisions that will benefit our country and bring us to a place of prosperity and growth. I'm going to pray that our president will refuse to allow ungodly things to be passed into legislation and that he will instead lead us onto the path of righteousness.

I'm going to continue to work hard to support my own family.  We are going to continue to get out of debt, save for the future and grow our nest egg so that we don't have to rely on our government for support.

I'm going to continue to raise our children up in the church and pray with them daily. I'm going to teach them what the bible says so that they can stand firm in the truth when they are older.

I'm going to continue to love people.  I'm not going to allow prejudices or hatred to build in my heart but instead reach out to those who see things differently.  I'm going to love them with all I have because that's all I can do.

I'm going to keep on loving my country. I believe America is a beautiful place and there is still hope for our nation.  I will not give up on standing for truth...even if those standing with me are few.

And lastly I will remember that this is not my home.  The United States is a wonderful place to reside but ultimately it will pass away and these petty things will be long forgotten. My forever home is in heaven with the only true Leader and Ruler. I must remember that He alone is what life is all about and I will do my best to live for Him each day.

Join with me as we pray for our president, love others passionately, raise strong children, stand on Godly principles and most importantly look forward to Christ's return.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Aubrey Lane-5 years old

Every year at birthday times, I tend to get a little emotional about my babies growing up. However, this year seemed to be much easier for me.  My Aubrey Lane is at such a wonderful age right now and she is just a bundle of joy. She has (for the most part) gotten over the horrible bedtimes, fit throwing, obsessive about clothes, just plain stubborn parts and she is pure fun!  I don't think you could pay me enough money to walk through those 2's and 3's and a little bit of the 4's with her again! She is was a tough cookie. She took a huge turn for the better around that 4.5 mark and I cannot even begin to tell you the difference a little bit of age and maturity (and lots of prayers) has made. Aubrey is the sweetest, funniest, most thoughtful little girl and I am just so proud of who she is becoming! She makes Christian and I laugh out loud all the time with the things she says. She is extremely smart and loves to learn.  She has this energy and spark to her, where everything is just a ton of fun...she gets so excited about just about everything!  The other day, I informed her that I had ordered some new vitamins and you would have thought I had just offered her a new pony! 

Aubrey is in Pre-K 4 (older 4's) at Broadmoor Presbyterian and she simply LOVES school. She goes 4 days a week and just the other day her teacher sent me a note saying that Aubrey had told her, she was going to start coming 5 days a week!  News to me! She adores her friends and is a true social butterfly. She can make friends anywhere and she isn't a bit shy.  Her best friends are Jackson, Ciel, Emorie and Zachary. She thinks the boys at her school are just hilarious. 

Aubrey is an absolutely amazing sister. She is adored by her brothers and I can't really stress that enough. Weston tells me all the time Aubrey is his best friend and Baylor smiles bigger for Bre than anyone else. It really makes me proud of how much she loves and protects her brothers. This weekend, she went and got something out of the treehouse for Weston and Weston told her thank you. She then told him, "You don't need to thank was my pleasure!" HAHA I just about died laughing.

Aubrey loves to play and dress up. She is into Jake and the Neverland Pirates, PJ Masks, Beat Bugs, and still a little of Frozen. She is so well rounded and can go from princesses to pirates in a heartbeat. Aubrey loves books, puzzles and her leap pad.  She does great at school, although I know we could never homeschool because the minute I ask her to work on something school's like I'm trying to pull teeth. The other day, we worked on her address and it took almost an hour to have her write it 2 times. Lordy Bee, thank goodness for teachers! 

This year for Aubrey's birthday, we did a special day at the mall with her cousins. We did Build-a-Bear, a trip to Claire's, Raising Canes, Cookie Cake and of course a ride on the carousel.  It was a wonderful day. We also celebrated later in the week with just our family with some cake and ice cream.

Aubrey loves to say really silly things and then pause and loudly proclaim, "JUST KIDDING".  It was funny the first 100 times.  Also, when she means something and is trying to emphasize the truth of what she is saying, she will say "for real life mom".  For instance, she came and told me Baylor smiled and cooed at her 5 times...for real life. HAHA. Anytime you say "butt" or "fart" just know that you will be the funniest person in the world to Bre. She is just such a mess. Right before her birthday, we asked her where she wanted to go out to eat (thinking pizza, something simple) and she quickly replied "Stabs". C and I just died laughing. A.) she has never been there in her life and B.) it's a very expensive restaurant and C.) She probably wouldn't like one thing on their menu! It was just too cute though.

We are so proud of our Bre.  She is just an amazing little girl and I am so excited to see her blossom even more in the years to come. We love you Aubrey Lane and are so thankful you are ours!!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

4 months old~Baylor Jace

Our sweet Bay Bay is now 4 months old. I am so in love with this little guy, I melt each time he smiles at me. I remember being in the NICU with Baylor, and feeling robbed of so much of his newborn weeks, not getting to hold him, bathe him, feed him, just be with him. However, now I feel like I was actually more richly blessed by Baylor coming early and being so tiny. I feel like I've had a "new" newborn for almost 4 months!  He is just so tiny, he still isn't even where Weston was the day he was born! He loves to be cradle-held and snuggled close, whereas when my other two were 4 months, they were squirming and starting to want more independence and freedom. Isn't that just like God to take something hard and devastating and turn it into something even more beautiful than we could ever imagine?

This picture cracks me up, this is how he likes to sleep!

Baylor weighs 7 pounds, 4 ounces and is starting to really fill out. He wears newborn clothes and size 1 diapers. He eats every three hours around the clock and takes about 2.5 ounces at each feeding. I'm exclusively pumping (with a nursing session here and there)with Baylor which is something new for me. With my others, I was able to breastfeed and nurse, but with Baylor being in the NICU and so small, I haven't been able to do that. I've had to pump my milk and then give it to him in a bottle. Again, at first I was just devastated about this, but now I find that there are benefits to pumping and bottle feeding.  Christian and other family members get the privilege and joy of feeding and bonding with him and it enables me to do more with my other two out in public and feed Baylor at the same time.

Making it work! Gotta do whatcha gotta do!

Baylor is becoming much more aware and responsive. He is quite a ham and loves to coo and smile. He is hilarious when he really gets to laughing. He is starting to grab at toys and enjoy playtime and music.  He still adores Aubrey and she spends lots of time trying to get him to smile at her.

Baylor loves to sleep on my bed (which is where he naps 90% of the time). He still sleeps in our bathroom in his rock and play at night.  He is an amazing sleeper and by far my easiest at nighttime. He hates his swing and mama-roo, but loves to be on the floor on his playmat. He also tolerates sitting up in his Bumbo seat. He still prefers to be in the wrap on me every waking moment, but my back is starting to plead for a break.

We are so in love with this boy and he just brings nothing but delight and joy into our family. He is my sunshine when things get chaotic and that smile can bring tears to my eyes. He really is a miracle boy and I am so amazed at how far he has come. Look out world...this little guy will be a world changer!

It's amazing how much they all look alike. I think Baylor and Aubrey really favor each other. Weston was my chunky monkey for sure!!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Troubled Waters

It's been a little over a month since our city faced it's worst natural disaster in history. A little over a month since nearly 90% of the families in our community lost their homes in the flood waters. A little over a month since this nightmare hit our town, our friends, our families. It has been absolutely devastating to watch so many people we know lose, homes, belongings...a lifetime of memories really. It's taken me this long just to process the magnitude of this disaster. I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that people are still out of their homes, still without a sense of normalcy and still suffering. I think I have a touch of survivor's guilt because we were one of the few who's home did not flood.  Many people in our neighborhood did, but we were absolutely amazed to find that we did not have water in our home. We are so fortunate not to have lost our home, but we we are just devastated to have our precious parents both lose absolutely everything. My parents and my in laws both got over 5 ft of water in their homes.

On Thursday, we attended orientation for Aubrey at Victory. We were thrilled to begin this new chaper in her life and we just knew this school was perfect for her. It rained on and off all day.  We never thought twice about the rain.

Friday, Christian went to work and the kiddos and I just hung around the house. It was still raining and we were beginning to hear word of flooding in our area. Nothing crazy...flash flood warnings happen frequently around here. My dad mentioned that the creek down the road from our subdivision would probably flood, just preventing us from getting in and out of the area our normal way.  Again that was something that had happened before and we were fairly used to having it flood. My dad came and got me and the kiddos and we decided to weather the storm out at their house. I knew if we lost electricity, I would need their generator for pumping. My dad managed to get us back to his house around noon and we knew then that this was a pretty intense amount of rain we were seeing. Many roads were beginning to flood and things were starting to close. Still though we did not have any sense of panic or concern.  It continued to rain throughout the day and most of the night.

Saturday morning, I awoke to numerous texts from my mother in love who was very concerned about water getting near her door. She was nervous that it was rising quickly and feared it would begin to come in her house. I also noticed a sense of panic from my dad, who was beginning to take precautions on his own home for the possibility of water. I immediately broke down in the living room and just cried. I knew things were getting serious and I felt helpless and alone. I had three babies, Christian was at work, really unable to get to us, and everyone around me was starting to worry about the welfare of their homes. My dad took me in his arms and assured me that we would be ok.  We would be safe no matter what and he would make sure my babies were safe. My dad immediately got on the phone with my brother and began a plan to get us evacuated. Somehow, Brandon managed to get to us and we were able to leave a few hours later and head to his house.  When we left, we had absolutely no idea the devastation that would come in just a few short hours.

Saturday afternoon was an absolute nightmare. Facebook was swamped with messages of people flooding and needing to be evacuated. It almost seemed like something from a movie and not reality. We watched through social media as our community was shaken to its core. We got word that homes in our neighborhood were flooding and I just sobbed thinking that we were under water as well. Christian was able to leave work and head back to our home to see if he could salvage anything. This began a long day of the guys taking boats, canoes, trucks...anything to get around and try and rescue people. Once the boys returned home that night, beat down and exhausted, did we even begin to realize just how bad things really were. We learned that night that both my parents and Christian's parents home were most definitely under water. We knew everyone of our loved ones was safe, but we also knew that things would never be the same.

Sunday we awoke to more troubled news. Things just kept getting worse and the area where my brother lived, where we were all evacuated too, was now in danger of flooding. Once again, we knew we had to evacuate and get somewhere safer. We were really out of options as to where to go, so it was either get a hotel or head out of town. We packed up and headed out of town. I can't even begin to describe the heartache of this day. We knew our loved ones had lost everything, we weren't sure if our own home was destroyed, we knew the rain was continuing to come and we knew things were just going to get worse. We felt that getting to a safe place was a priority.  Christian and Brandon drove us all to Alabama and got us settled and they both headed back to BR to help. We cried many tears throughout the next few days, just feeling helpless.  I know with three little ones, there wasn't much I could have done, but I just wanted to be near everyone...and help in someway.

We came back on Wednesday, back to a city in complete chaos and disarray. I know I keep using the word devastating, and really that word doesn't even do it justice. It was surreal...a complete nightmare. We spent those next few days and weeks trying to regain a sense of normalcy and in the meantime try to help those around us that were suffering. It seemed everywhere you turned there was a huge need for was very overwhelming.

Here we are a month later. Streets are still lined with trash, people are still displaced and things will probably never be the same in our city. My heart is heavy for those families still suffering. Yes, it is just stuff, but stuff is what makes our memories. My hope and prayer is that our community will rebuild and we will look back on this time and remember the good.  The neighbors who banded together and helped others in times of need.  The friends who brought meals to each other.  The family members who took in other loved ones.  Those are the things I want us to remember from this flood. We will continue to pray for those who have lost so much. Our hearts will continue to hurt for those families and we will continue to reach out and show love and support to those around us. Our community will come back and we will be stronger than before.

This was my parent's street and some from their neighborhood. 

Nana and Papa's house. 

Nana and Papa have never lost their smile or their spunk through this entire ordeal. Praying they can be back in their home before the holidays. 

Our street.

How we didn't get water in our home is a complete miracle. 

Cajun Navy...aka my dad helping others. His smile never left his face either. 
These are the real heroes. 

New beginnings are not always fun, but we have to remember that God has a plan in each step. I'm so proud of my parents and in-laws for standing strong and keeping those smiles.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

First Day of School

For some reason, I have struggled greatly with the decision of where to put the kiddos for school. I always seem to question myself and go back and forth on what is best. This year was no different and I literally spent months agonizing over the decision.  We ultimately decided that sending Aubrey to Victory Academy (a Christian private school) for K-4 was the best decision. We decided that Weston would go to Broardmoor Preschool (where Aubrey has gone for the past 3 years). We knew it would be a challenge doing two drop offs and pickups, but we felt that it would be worth the sacrifice for Aubrey to be in such a great environment. We signed her up, paid tuition, bought uniforms and even went to orientation. We were so excited and ready to go! 

Well...the best laid plans are not always what God has in mind. Once the flood hit our city, we had to totally reevaluate things. We were devastated to learn that Victory took on about 5 feet of water and lost everything. It was just horrible. Christian and I had to really re-evaluate things with my mom being misplaced and flooded as well...because I rely so much on her to help me with transportation to and from school with the kids...not to mention mom taught piano there, so she was at the school almost everyday. Now things have totally taken a different turn. The school has yet to reopen and they are working hard to get T-buildings in place for the students. Also, my mom won't be back teaching piano there this year.  Christian and I made the decision that for this year, it would be best to just keep her and Weston together at Broadmoor. Aubrey will definitely go to Victory for kindergarten, it's just for this year things didn't work out. We know God has a plan for our children, and we trust that He guides us in making the right decisions for our kids. I know both Aubrey and Weston will do great this year and it will be fun to have them together one last year. 

Here's to a great year for my sweeties. My prayer is that they will be a light at their school and blossom both educationally and socially in their classes. I pray for Godly friends and influential teachers and staff as well.  

First day for Weston was not quite the happy day we had hoped for. Weston has had a hard time adjusting to his new schedule and school. He sure is cute though.  

Aubrey on the other hand was all smiles. Miss social butterfly couldn't wait to see her friends.

Love these two and are so thrilled for new beginnings! Plus I am enjoying having a little one on one time with my sweet Baylor Jace!