Sunday, June 10, 2012

I moved!!

Hello, my few faithful followers!
After much thought and consideration, I created a new blog.
Just a little note to redirect you to where you can find me from here on out.
Here's my web address, if you wish to continue reading up on us!

The Haddock House

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I'm Just a Bus Driver...

Today I took my van to be cleaned out.
It hasn't been cleaned since before Christmas, so wow, it needed it. My mom had my big girls, so it was just Ruthie in the van, and she was NOT happy to be there. I opened the sliding door, and she automatically thinks it's time to get out. When I wasn't getting her out, she let me know very clearly that she was not happy with the circumstances. I went on to do the job as quickly as possible. Not fast enough for Ruthie. Eventually (meaning just having the floor of the passenger side vacuumed), I gave up and got her out of her car seat to set her on the floor of the van where I had just vacuumed, and tried to continue to clean. Not good enough. So I picked her up, attempting to do the job one-handed. Hey, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, right?
It was then that I met Byron. This, probably mid-50s, African American man who had been cleaning up his early 2000s model Chevy sedan next to mine.
He came up and asked if he could help me. Immediately I did what every average American does... I politely declined. He then said, "Well, I could just vacuum out your van for you while you hold her."
"I'm sorry?" I replied. Not really believing this perfect stranger just offered to vacuum my van for me.
"I could vacuum your van for you while you hold her," he said again.
"Oh... no, no you don't have to do that," why is it so hard to just accept help?
"Really. I'm off work today, I don't have anywhere to be, it's really no problem. I remember those days," he insisted.
I paused and thought this over while the Lord told me, just let him help you.
"Wow. Sure. That's really kind," I said as my over-emotional mommy self swallowed back the urge to cry.

So there I stood in the parking lot of the $3 car wash on Clinton Hwy, baby on my hip, while Byron vacuumed my van. Dumbfounded. Thankful. Hopeful that there are still kind people in this world. People in our nation whose lives aren't run by their watches, not too busy to notice the young mom struggling just to get the crumbs vacuumed out of her van.
Still though, I felt the need to apologize for just how disgusting my vehicle was. He laughed it off, told me he used to drive a mini-van, he had four kids himself. One he lost 5 years ago in a car accident. I had to swallow back tears again. No one ever expects to bury their child. We talked for a few more minutes, then he finished up in the back seat. He told me to wave if I'm ever out and I hear a honk from the city bus, because he drives for Knox Area Transit. He went on about how much he loves his job because he gets to meet so many people he typically wouldn't meet. He's met everyone from the mayor to tourists. He likes talking to the travelers. He was such a joyful man.
I sat there, perplexed about what would possess someone to clean my van for me? Surely he wasn't having to report back to someone about the number of RAK he could accomplish in a week. No. Just love. Just a simple love for people. Clearly, Byron loves people. He loves his job. A bus driver.
I'm sure Byron won't ever see a million dollars driving the city bus. His job may never earn him an upgrade from his early 2000s model Chevy sedan. He may not ever be considered successful in our world of money-hungry corporate vipers. But he loves his job. He loves people.
Byron reminded me of why I'm here.
The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind & strength. And the second is like it, to love our neighbor as our self.
God created us in His image, and He is a relational God. Perfect relationship exists in the trinity, so it is natural for us as humans made in God's likeness, to desire relationship. To desire community. To love.
I want to love well. I want to serve others: My husband. My children. My community. Because this is the example that I was given. Christ loved. Christ served. Though I know I will never do it perfectly, I want to lay my life down. To be selfless. To be remembered, if for nothing else, as someone who loved well. Only because this is what it's like to be a disciple of Christ.
Byron left me with all these thoughts today... and prayers, for him & for myself. I told him how thankful I was and how much it blessed me how he served me. I pray he knows the Lord. I didn't ask him, but some peace he left me with makes me think he does.
It also made me think of the (old) Caedmon's Call song bus driver. I've always loved that song because the statement it makes. "He's 'just' a bus driver, so what does he know?" But he knowspeople... his job is relationships. Just like Byron.
I don't know... just really thinking on relationships tonight... am I a blessing to others in my relationships with them? Like Jesus was? This is what it is to be missional. Living, loving, and serving like Jesus. Am I living like Jesus?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The old is gone, the new has come!

I am not even going to touch on my failure to blog the past couple months. Why? Because it's a new year & beating up on myself about my failures is one thing I'm committing to *quit* in 2012. A resolution, if you will.
My thought on New Year's Resolutions? I welcome them. I love the idea of a fresh start... I love the newness of opening a calender- or turning the page over- and seeing the blankness that lies before my eyes. A new year. A mystery that causes a smile to spread across my face. What will it hold?? Although many resolutions flop after a couple months (or more accurately for me, a couple weeks)... it's okay. Isn't that just another opportunity to look to Christ? Doesn't the same thing happen when we try to earn our righteousness? It's a flop. You can't do it. This new year, I'm striving to cling ever more so closely to my Savior, my righteousness.
My resolution? To grow. I just want to grow.
I would be lying if I were to tell you 2011 wasn't the hardest year of my life thus far. There were more changes in my life than I was ready for, which equal more challenges in my life than I was ready for. More deaths in my family than I could have imagined. More spiritual battles than I asked for. All resulting in some serious emotional battles. Jesus has definitely been walking me through a valley. And although He hasn't left my side, that hasn't made it easy.
I'm stepping into a new year with the promises that His mercies are new. If they are new every morning, that's got to mean they're new every year as well, right? I'm longing for & praying for an outpouring of His mercy and grace in my life in 2012. I want to grow... all the struggles I've been through in the past year are Him putting me through the refiner's fire. He's been pruning me. While pruning is such a painful experience, it's necessary for new growth!
I want to grow in my relationship with my Savior... which will pour over in my relationship with my husband and daughters. I want to grow as a wife, as a mom & homemaker. I want to grow in forgiveness. If it's one thing I've learned this past year, it's that I hold onto things for way too long. I don't forgive as my Christ has forgiven me. I want to lay that down at His feet & grow in that. I want to grow in my love for & service to others. To love like Christ loved & serve as He served. I want to grow in knowledge, to learn... we're never done learning. I want to read more- the Word, fiction, nonfiction. I'd love to become a part of book club. Any suggestions on that would be appreciated! I want to grow in fitness. I've posted before that I love to run, and "in another life" I was a runner. I want to take this up again, and begin working out again. I just want to be healthy- spiritually & physically. I want to grow in thankfulness... instead of sitting back & dwelling on the things that are hard & painful, I want to receive those things with a heart of thanksgiving- knowing that all things my God allows for my good.
This desire, this resolution, is nothing if I attempt to work it out in my own strength. In all things I want to be seeking God's glory & His power through to work through me. I wanted to post about it because it's been on my heart, because I want my readers- however few and far between- to know I haven't given up on this blog, and I want some accountability!
Anyone else want to share their resolutions? Anyone want to grow with me?

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Baby Loves to Dance

Yesterday, on October 9th, my precious oldest daughter turned four.
Where, or where, does time go? To be honest, I've been dreading this day. Turning one was exciting and fun, as was two & three. But four. Four I've had a hard time with for some reason. Over the past few months we've all noticed her just *acting* bigger- phrases she says, or silly jokes she tells. This past year, she's truly gone from "baby" to "little girl". I think that's the part I've had the hardest time with.
She has become so much more independent in the past year. She is able to go entertain herself- she get's crayons & a coloring book out, and can sit at the table by herself & color... and clean up too. She is able to potty all by herself. She is able to put herself in bed for rest time. She is able to clean her room (for the most part). She loooves to brush her hair all by herself. So many big girl things! I can't believe the changes in *just* one year!
Gabbi is an amazing little girl. Absolutely unique from head to toe. She is, what I believe to be, the perfect combination of "tomboy" & "girly girl". She has the best imagination- including her friend "Frances" in on most family occasions. She loves to play princesses- something I never encouraged or pushed on her, but she just loves them so I won't hinder that. As I type she's sitting here with a little Melissa & Doug dress-up magnet Princess. Not only is she dressing her, but she's talking to & carrying on with her- in a totally different world. I love listening to her & watching her play.
At the same time, she loves the outdoors. Camping & hiking are at the top of some of her favorite things to do. She loves to look at the trees changing colors, and on hikes she is constantly stopping to pick up or take a closer look at something. Oh, the things we can learn from a child! While we are such goal-oriented people and just want to get to the destination, my sweet girl reminds us it's not about that destination, the end... it's about the walk we are taking, stop and enjoy it.... take it in! She loves to play sports outside with her daddy. Kicking around the soccer ball, or throwing a ball. She also loves exercising. Her little version of it anyway- which include yoga stretches (not the whole yoga exercise in its entirety) her & I look at on youtube, or doing sit ups/ push ups with her daddy.
She loves to learn, and has started asking so many questions that I (most of the time) love taking the time to explain to her. Why are the leaves changing colors? Why does it rain? And recently, a very important one, what does it mean to be separated from God? I pray her curiosity never ceases, and that I don't burn it out or blow it off because of selfishness & lack of patience.
She is able now to write her name from memory, and can copy words that I write. I don't know what a "typical" 4 year-old's art work looks like, but her pictures are amazing! She draws some excellent pictures of princess, our family, and rainbows.
She is such a silly little bundle of energy. Telling "jokes" she makes up. For instance: "knock knock!" (who's there) "Orange" (Orange who?) "Orange pudding, I didn't say banana!" ... she tries :)
Her favorite color is purple (and pink). Favorite food is broccoli. Her favorite TV show is Strawberry Shortcake. Favorite movie is Tangled. Her favorite place to go is "Nana's house!" Gabbi's favorite animal is a sheep, and her favorite book for us to read is "Take Care, Good Knight" (because it's silly). Her favorite song to sing "God Made Me" (on Slugs & Bugs CD). A game she likes to play is "Duck Duck Goose". When asked who her best friend is, she says Madison (Franse). And she says when she is *all grown up* she wants to be a Princess.
Finally, my baby *loves* to dance! She started dancing right as she turned a year old. I will never forget living in this little townhouse in Powell, where our washer/ dryer were in the dining area. When a wash was running its spin cycle amd making a steady beat, Gabbi sat in her high chair eating lunch, dancing to the beat. No music at all, but she heard music.
She dances everywhere. Up & down the hallway, all around the house. Sometimes, to be honest, it grates my nerves because our house is so tiny... but I'm working on & praying for my ability to let things go. Choose my battles. On most days, I love that she doesn't want to sit still. She is so much like me in that way. I had her signed up for a dance camp this summer, and was so sad when she came down with strep throat the same week. Maybe next year things will work out!
My brother & sister-in-law bought Gabbi & Catie a CD for Christmas last year called "Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies" by Andrew Peterson. There is this song on it called "My Baby Loves to Dance" that I thought of Gabbi the moment I first heard it. I decided to post the lyrics with several pictures of my baby growing up over the years.

"My Baby Loves to Dance"
My baby loves to dance,
She loves to spin around
She's only two feet tall,
But I don't mind at all
She hears a song in every little sound.

And my baby loves to move,
She settles on my chest,
She doesn't stay for long, a moment and she's gone

She's off to find another heart to bless.
And the leaves were turning golden brown,
People came from miles around,
To see her when she came to town.
Then I turned to walk outside,
Stood beneath an Autumn sky,
I felt a season falling,
And a new one taking flight.
My baby loves me so,
She loves me as I am.

She lifts her little hands,
Her wish is my command

I'll pick her up forever if I can.
-Andrew Peterson

Gabbi, we are in awe of what the Lord has done in you over the passed four years! You are growing up to be such a beautiful little girl- you are learning and doing so much! Our prayer is that as you grow & continue to learn, the Lord would open your heart to Him. That you will learn & believe His love for you. He loves you so much more & so much better than we ever could. Happy Birthday, Pumpkin!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Catie-Bug Birthday!!

Seeing as how Gabbi's birthday is on Saturday, I think I should get a post on here about Catie's!

On Friday, September 9th, Dustin & I were able to take Catie out on a Birthday Date! The first of what will be a yearly tradition with each of our sweet girls. As our family grows, especially in these little years, individual attention seems to be precious & hard to come by. So on our babies' birthdays, we want to be able to take them out, on their own, and devote some quality time to just them- doing whatever they choose to do. Of course, this will look different for each child & different with each age. This year, for instance, Catie couldn't exactly tell us where she wanted to go. But we know this girls looooves pizza, so we chose based on what she likes!
In an effort to find good, handmade pizza and stay in the Old North Knoxville community, we decided on Harby's Pizza & Deli. Well, it wasn't until after her birthday we were told we should have gone to Pizza Palace on Magnolia. But ah well... Harby's was good, but not somewhere we'll be going back again, I don't believe. Catie sure didn't complain!

After pizza we headed to Marble Slab.
How sweet it was of the girl at the counter to give us her little kiddie cup "on the house". They don't typically do anything special for birthdays at Marble Slab, but I guess that little face is just irresistable! We got Catie "Cake Batter" ice cream with sprinkles. I never will understand sprinkles to be honest, they don't have much taste, but kids love them. I guess I understood them when I was a kid :) I enjoyed my Key Lime ice cream with graham cracker mixin'.
Honestly, Catie loved eating, but I'm not sure she really enjoyed the quality time as much as we did. Especially since she cried almost the whole way to the pizza place for her "Sissy". But next year she will understand more... and we're looking forward to our time with Gabbi this Friday.

Saturday, Sept 10th we loaded up & headed to Adair Park for Catie's Minnie Mouse birthday!

My super talented friend Lauren Pulliam made Catie's Minnie pillowcase dress.
And I was able to get a bit crafty on a few decorations as well.
Catie's little friend Zoe came out to play & celebrate with us.

My brother, sister-in-law & our little nephew came out. Only something as special as Catie's birthday allows for Ben to wear something other than UT Orange on game day! Notice his little Mickey ears :)
My daddy, the self-appointed family photographer, often drives people a little nuts with his checklist of group shots at family functions. You'd think we were at a wedding sometimes. But we all have to admit, years down the road we'll be thankful for shots like these. Four generations of ladies! My girls, myself, my mom, grandma, and *great great* aunt (great-grandma's sister). She lives in Newport News, VA and this is the first time she's been able to be out here with us to celebrate a birthday!
My grillin' man & his friends.

Sweet, silly friends. Gabbi adores little miss Adah.

Apparently someone doesn't like all the attention that comes with being sung to. I will treasure this picture always!

Yummy Rita's Cake! Mom has been getting the girls' cakes from there for two years now. They are delicious, as well as adorable.

I just love birthdays!!!
It is my prayer that as we celebrate our children on their special day, we are always pointed to the One truly worth celebrating. We want our children to know the One who has entrusted them to us, the One who created them uniquely, individually, and perfectly. That HE never makes a mistake, that they are beautiful because they are made in HIS image & that they are lovely because HE loves them. We are forever grateful to the Lord for blessing us in such a mighty way- with our beautiful & precious baby girls!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Please Pass the Polenta

I am losing my mind. I'm pretty sure that pregnancy/ breastfeeding kill brain cells (joke).
But seriously, I went grocery shopping a couple days ago while my mom was here with the two big girls. When I got home, it was time for Ruthie to take a nap. Mom left, and I proceeded to lay Ruthie down. It wasn't until I was outside opening up the door to the van that I realized "What in the world am I doing trying to put Ruthie in the van?! She needs her bed!" Sooo we walk back inside & I put her in bed. Now it was time to get groceries (what I believe I was originally trying to do while holding Ruthie). So I walk outside, think to myself "it's beautiful out here!", go check the mail, thumb through it, come back into the house and realize "Wait, I wasn't meaning to get the mail I was meaning to get the groceries!!"
So you could imagine my frustration with myself & how convinced I was that I was *crazy* when I completely misplaced dinner yesterday.
I was making chicken and cheesy polenta (similar to grits, but a "healthier" version) with broccoli. The chicken was already in the oven, as I was on the phone chatting with my friend who recently moved to Nashville. I pulled everything out of the pantry, turned water on to boil, thena few minutes later when it was boiling reached for the bag of polenta. It wasn't there. Hmmm...
I searched all over my counters again, searched and researched the pantry, I even looked in the refrigerator thinking I placed it there. I was laughing at myself out loud to my friend as I went on and on about how crazy I am that I even misplaced our dinner! (I had just told her about my recent temporary loss of insanity the previous day.)
Trying to retrace my steps, I looked in the girls' bedroom & the bathroom (remembering that Gabbi had recently gone potty & Catie woke up from her nap). Maybe it was there? Nope. My friend told me to go ahead and get off the phone to figure it out & call her later. Once I was off the phone, I looked at G & C sitting at the table coloring. I picked C up & looked in her booster, then asked Gabbi to move so I could look in her chair.
"Have you seen a bag of food?" I asked G.
"Nope," she replied, as I walked back into the kitchen and began searching again. "I just hid it."
"You hid what?"
"That food you were talking about. I hid it," she said cheerfully. "Come on! I'll show you! Follow me!" I followed her into the living room, where she reached under the side table that sits between our two couches and pulls out the bag of Polenta... giggling.
"Why did you do that?" I asked, laughing.
"I was just being silly," she shrugged.

What a silly girl!!!

She heard my entire conversation as I frantically searched our home for some missing bag of polenta, convinced I had lost my mind. I can only imagine what was going on in her little head.
As I continued cooking a few minutes later she looked up at me from her coloring book, "Mommy, I'm sorry I hid that from you."
"Aw Baby, I forgive you, you were funny. Just don't do it anymore okay?"
I'm absolutely thankful for little moments like this in my life, where my sweet silly girls keep me laughing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Waiting on Autumn...

I love this time of year.

I do love autumn, it just barely beats Spring for my favorite season.
Right now, I'm lying on the couch and our windows are open. A breeze gently blows and the curtains dance. Anytime of year where the windows can be open is good... but there's something about the bringing in of Fall that just makes my heart happy.

Maybe because I was kinda a nerd & loved school growing up...
Maybe it's because during this time 5 years ago I was newly engaged and starting to plan a wedding. Engagement pictures were made, and I was just floating on Cloud9...

Maybe it's because two of my three babies were born this time of year & there is just nothing in the world like a newborn filling your home with joy...

Maybe it's because my family loves football, and I have countless great memories from my childhood that revolve around "football season".

Regardless of what it is, there is something about the changing seasons that I love. That make me meditate on the faithfulness of the Lord. His timing his perfect, right down to the changing seasons. The seasons are constant... we always know Fall follows Summer, Winter follows Fall, then comes Spring, and Summer follows Spring... we never question it. In the same way the Lord is constant, His ways are constant, His faithfulness is forever. He commands the seasons to change, and the seasons show the character of God. Consistent. In every way the seasons show His mercy.
Summer is so hot & at times unbearable, the cool breathe of autumn is what we all wait for & we receive it with thanksgiving.
Winter is chilled, and with it comes the sleeping of plants, the longer nights... but it gives way to the warmth & life of spring.

It's cloudy now & I even love that. It's as if time is standing still... and we are all waiting. Waiting on Autumn, when we will all take a big, deep sigh of relief... Ah, summer is over. Fall is here. We'll put on jackets, we'll go on hikes, we'll pick pumpkins, and then as if it couldn't get any better, we will feast. There is so much to celebrate about Autumn. So much to celebrate about our great God.

Psalm 95:2