January 26, 2010


Being a mother and having my own child helps me understand my relationship with God a little bit better. I try to teach Clover right from wrong. When she knows that she is about to play with something that she is not allowed to, she says “no, no, no” while still doing it. Sometimes I get frustrated when I tell her “no” and she still does it. I’m not disappointed in what she is doing. I’m disappointed that she’s disobeying me and isn’t being obedient. There is nothing she can do that will make me stop loving her, or make me turn my back on her – she’s my child. I love her more then I love myself. In the same sense, I am trying my best to teach her what is right from wrong, and I get discouraged when she doesn’t comply.

My Father, God, feels the same way about me. He will never stop loving me, no matter what I do, but when I’m disobedient, it disappoints Him.

I’ve disobeyed a lot in my life. I’ve done things that I knew God didn’t want me to do. I’ve even said “no, no, no” while I did something I knew I wasn’t supposed to. I wasn’t trying to deliberately disobey God. I just wanted to try to find out why He said no. So often parents simply say not to do something without explaining why. We put covers on outlets to prevent kids from touching them, without explaining why they can’t touch them. Then, the first opportunity where an outlet is left uncovered, a child goes for it – and gets hurt.

I became a Christian in 7th grade. I remember the moment so clearly. We were on a ski trip with Mountain View Church. In the middle of a worship song I felt this overwhelming sense of peace. It felt like God’s arms were wrapping themselves around my body. It was an amazing feeling. I was so innocent at the time and untouched by so many evils.

I made it through high school pretty unscathed; my usual bubbly, friendly personality overshadowed by my fear of acceptance. Then, came college. For the first time I was able to truly be myself without worrying what other people thought. I was bubbly, outgoing, made lots of friends, started dating my first real boyfriend…started to experience things that I knew I wasn’t supposed to do. I didn’t care that I was being disobedient. I still had a relationship with God, and I knew He still loved me. I was a 14 month old crawling towards the Christmas tree saying “no, no, no” and doing it anyway.

My personal relationship with God has never disappeared. My obedience is something I’ve always struggled with. Sometimes, when you get tired of telling a child not to do something over and over again, you let them keep doing it so they will get hurt and feel the consequences. You let them realize for themselves why you kept saying no. God let me learn from my defiance.

Dustin and I got married when I was pregnant. However, we didn’t get married because I was pregnant. We knew we were meant to be together, and we knew we weren’t taking the necessary precautions not to get pregnant. We also knew we were disobeying God. I do not regret our decisions and I absolutely love my life. However, I will always have to deal with the judgments. That is my punishment and that is what God allowed to happen because I disobeyed him on purpose. Every time someone puts together the fact that Dustin and I were married just six months before Clover was born, they will know we got married when I was pregnant. And they will judge me for it. Just like I, regrettably, judge others who get married when they are pregnant. They will know, not only did we have premarital sex, but that we also got pregnant before we were married. This is something I will always have to live with.

Add to this that Dustin has another baby with someone else. He was stupid, got drunk, made a bad decision, and disobeyed God. Now, not only does he have to suffer the hurt from his mistake, but so do I. My stepdaughter is not the hurt of the mistake – the pain is when I know people are judging me because I have a 14 month old daughter and a 2 ½ year old step-daughter. I know this; because I would, and do, judge myself.

I’m a Christian. I love God. God loves me. I yearn for Him to be an integral part of mine and Dustin’s relationship. I crave His love and a deeper relationship with Him.

I wish I could lay all my disobedience's on the table, enter a room full of other Christians, and learn more about God. I wish I could tell everyone the truth about me, without being judged and still be accepted for who I am – God’s daughter.

One of my favorite verses, one I strive for everyday, is Matthew 22:37:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

I feel like a lot of Christians spend too much time judging others. Others like me. I long to join a couples small group or bible study, but I’m scared I will have to pretend that I’ve been obedient my whole life. I’m scared that I will have to pretend like I regret getting pregnant before I was married. I made that decision. I knew I was disobeying God. I know He told me no. If I could choose, I would have done it in the right order (gotten married, then gotten pregnant), but I can’t choose that now and I refuse to pretend like I am ashamed of my husband, or my marriage, or most of all my amazing daughter – because I’m not. I’m ashamed that I disappointed God, but I’m not ashamed by my life.

So, how do I move on?

Everyday we are slapped in the face by judgment and lack of acceptance.

I’m a Christian.

modern day Picasso

I'm an artist, my Dad is an artist, my brother is an artist, my Papaw was an artist...and I'm pretty sure Clover is going to be an amazing artist!

Yesterday, I covered the table and floor, put out some pieces of paper, got out our Crayola washable paint and let Clover go at it! She took the job very seriously.

She really enjoyed picking out the colors she wanted, smearing the paint around and making a mess.  Despite the mess, I think it is important for Clover to experience everything she can. Messes can be cleaned up.  Missed experiences and opportunities can't be redone.

The beautiful end results:

Besides, the paint is washable, and everything came clean!

January 24, 2010

Postal Exam Office SCAM

Before I begin, I would like to write a little disclaimer: I love my husband. He has great strengths, he takes care of us and we balance each other out. With that said, he has a little weakness - he sure can fall for a scam.

Tomorrow, I will be going to change our bank account number for the 3rd time. Yes, the 3rd time. The first time we changed it was because we wrote a serious of bad checks and wanted all of the stuff for free.... Juuuuust Kidding! I'm sorry Granny.

For real though, the first time was because he thought he was approved for a really cool credit card - no limit, a small minimum payment each month - sweet! Only catch, a one time $200 activation fee. He paid it. It was fake.

Think he learned his lesson?

Guess again. He did it again. A little different this time, but generally the same thing happened. He wasn’t allowed to apply for any type of credit card ever again. He was banned from making any type of activation fee payments.

That brings us to the most recent escapade – The Postal Exam SCAM: (before I continue I just wanted to acknowledge again that I love my husband. I know I have faults too. This post is not to talk bad about my husband, but really to warn other people!)

Dustin has been slowly learning about computers. He has learned how to search for things and how to browse the web. He found the following Web site (WARNING: DO NOT FALL FOR IT) https://postalexamoffice.com and it sounded great! The site has a big blue box that says “Post Office is Now Hiring!” and promises a starting salary at $38,000 a year plus benefits and also states “average full time postal employee makes just over $57,000 per year with benefits and overtime included”! Another sweet deal, right? There is an eligibility quiz that you take and no matter what you put for the answers, you are eligible to work for the post office!  Then, the Web site says that you have to take a postal battery exam and that “There is a one time refundable fee of $29.95 for your registration materials and study guide.” So…Dustin did it.

He asked me to take a look at the material they sent him. My first red flag, the Postal Exam Office logo looked pixilated. I thought that was both weird, and funny that it was the first thing I noticed. Second red flag, I couldn’t find a link for information on the test. Third red flag, at the bottom of the site, I read this “Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the United States Postal Service or any U.S. Goverment agency. Our fees are charged for the use of our propietery online form assistance service, our website bandwidth costs, marketing expenses and postal fees. All goverment forms are provided free and can be obtained at any goverment website. By using this website, you agree to hold PostalExamOffice.com and its sole owners free from any litigation that may arise from the use of this website. All sales are final. Once the application center has been accessed no refund will be issued.”

Then, I check the bank account and find this:

See where it says $29.95? Yeah, me neither.

So, to sum it up: https://postalexamoffice.com IS A SCAM – pass it on.

And my husband is only allowed supervised computer time (kidding again).  

January 21, 2010

Who needs teething tablets when you have Gladys?

Clover took a break tonight from her irritable/whinny/clingy/only wanting Momma – self to smile, wave and show off for a sweet 96 year old woman with Dementia (meaning "deprived of mind"). Dustin’s Mom helps take care of sweet Gladys in the evenings and brought her over to have dinner with us tonight. When she walked in the house, all four feet of her, called out “howdeee”! She tells people that she is Minnie Pearl. My heart swelled when Clover immediately cheered up when Gladys walked into the room, waving and smiling. It was like Clover could sense this woman’s love for children, as well as her loneliness and perhaps a little discomfort.

We start off as babies, so helpless and trusting – in need of constant care. As we get older, we become more independent, cynical, un-trusting. We learn to lie and “be polite” and not say exactly what we’re thinking. Our pureness disappears and we are replaced by the person we want to be. Gradually, as our bodies age and weaken, we start to regain that sense of helplessness and innocence that we once had as babies. We have to learn to trust again as the vulnerability sets in and the need for care once again emerges. Gladys doesn’t know what day it is, she doesn’t know who takes care of her, and she doesn’t know that she is constantly repeating herself (like 10 second Tom in 50 First Dates). She can’t remember what she ate for lunch and doesn’t understand why she can’t drive herself somewhere. But when Clover smiled at her and waved to her – she felt something. She asked me nine times how old Clover was; but she remembered that she liked my little girl.

Gladys doesn’t have any family left. She has two people that help take care of her, and she can’t remember them on a daily basis. How fearful to be so trustworthy of someone who is essentially a stranger to you. It was such a humbling experience and so refreshing to be with someone who thoroughly enjoyed being with us; who thoroughly loved my daughter. Because let me tell you, a 96 year old cannot lie about these things.

She had her pills sitting next to her glass at dinner and turned to Dustin’s Dad and said “Whose pills are these?” and Allan said “Well, I believe they’re yours”. To which she replied “Want to take them for me?”

January 20, 2010

Ahoy! It's a Boy!

One of my best friends, Amy, is expecting a baby in less then two weeks! I had the honor of throwing her a baby shower! For those of you who don't know me, I LOVE throwing parties! I love the planning, the research, the details, the shopping, making things for it... and most of all, the success of a good, well-planned party!

The theme of her baby shower was sailboats, as is the new baby's room! I made sailboat invitations, and with the help of the Grandma-to-be, we created a sailboat baby shower!

Here is my very first diaper cake!
(Clover got a hold of the "B" and added a little teething charm!)

 The sailboat onesie I made:

Amy's Mom made all the food (so I can't take credit for it!) and it was adorable! It was a little bit of a relief not to have to worry about the food! I can usually come up with good ideas, but lack in the cooking department!

The table was complete with little sailboat deviled eggs! (I made the flags) The best part about the eggs, was that they slid around on the plates like real little boats!

When the guests arrived, I had them write their name on a calendar and guess when Bradley would be born (a game from my baby shower!)

I also had the guests write a few words of advice, for example "newborn babies make lots of weird grunts and noises when they sleep - they are okay!" and then a few words of encouragement for the parents-to-be for those sleepless nights when they need a little pick-me-up to get them through.
I wrote "enjoy the endless moments of rocking, singing and nursing...because you WILL miss them".
(the picture is a little blurry)

We played a few games - most of which came from this great web site.  In the first game, I passed around a roll of toilet paper and everyone guessed how big Amy's little belly was. For the next game, I brought out the diaper cake I made and let everyone get a good look at it, then I took it away and the guests had one minute to write down as many items as they could remember from the cake! The third game was the "spare change challenge" where everyone (who wanted to participate) took all the spare change out of their wallets and put it in a piggybank for Bradley. Whoever had the most change, won! The last game, and the favorite amongst this group, was a baby shower version of BINGO. When the guests arrived, I put a number and letter combination on their presents. As Amy opened the present, she called out the number and letter on the present and the guests marked that one off of their BINGO card.

The party was a success, and I can't wait to meet little Bradley Wayne!

January 09, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010: The stores were brimming with shoppers as the weather reported that the blizzard of 2010 was near. In true Georgia fashion, schools were already planning on closing early the next day and panic was setting in...

Thursday, January 7, 2010: With the impending blizzard near, and all weather stations alerting the treacherous coming weather, we anticipated staying indoors for days, maybe weeks, by driving around town and meeting my Mom for lunch - I mean seriously, who knew how long we would be stuck in our house once the snow hit?
Around 2:00pm, the first of the snow flakes began to fall. By 5:00pm, we knew we were in trouble:

Friday, January 8, 2010: We awoke to a true, Georgia Blizzard. Schools and businesses were closed statewide.


We decided since the weather was so bad, and no one could leave their homes, that it would be a perfect time to go grocery shopping. So we did.

I emailed our horrific news to my family in Indiana, and here were some of their responses (I think they were really terrified for us):

"That is sooo funny!!!  It started snowing here sometime Wed. night or early Thus. We got 5.5 inches and today it is still snowing a little.  We may get another inch or two.  Crawfordsville school was not canceled."

" funny. We're having a blizzard too...I think it was 4-7"

"Grandma has not been out since 12/24.  Our drive way is treacherous.  I'm sick of it."

"We got 6 or so inches...imagine that!  Your town would lock up and close shop!  Only thing is, your will be gone soon, ours probably won't be gone until March.  Lucky you!"

January 08, 2010

A girl, and her bags.

My daughter is the girliest of all girls. She will be 14 months old (tomorrow!) and already LOVES shoes, clothes, jewelry (bracelets especially)

headbands, make-up, purses and bags! bags, bags, bags!



If it isn't really a bag, she will make it a bag!


She sure makes my heart happy! <3

January 07, 2010

Still, I can’t stop.

I don’t like when things are “out of their place”, but my house is often a wreck.

I love to cut my cuticles.

I talk too much. All the time. I can’t stop. I know when I sound annoying, but I can’t stop. I have too much to share.

I’m a very passionate, loving person.

I don’t own an umbrella because I have given away every umbrella I’ve ever owned to someone stuck in the rain without one.

I’m obsessed with names. I used to want 5 kids. I think just to name them. I have a note on my phone where I store names that I like so I won’t forget them.

I love to paint, but I always have a problem coming up with what to paint. I google other paintings and make my own from the ones I find. I’m a painting stealer.

I pray, a lot.

I can’t use the lid on the top of the pile (of plastic lids in a fast food restaurant). I honestly feel like it’s dirty.

Loud. Chewing. Sounds. Make. Me. Want. To. Strangle. You.

I like everything made with tomatoes, but I hate tomatoes.

I could wear a vest every day. I think they make me feel more secure with my body becuase they hide it.

I’m insecure about how much I talk, but still – I can’t stop.

I hate when someone doesn’t like me.

I can find the good in most everyone.

My brother and I still play “I’m thinking” when we are bored.

I have a problem interrupting because my mind goes about a mile a minute and I’m already thinking about what I want to say after what I want to say next – and I don’t want to forget it, so I interrupt. Then I feel bad. Then I’m insecure I’m talking too much. But I can’t stop.

I love Dr.Pepper like an addict loves crack.

I’m strangely good at games – poker, board games, card games, etc.

I’m just as attached to Clover as she is to me.

When I rock Clover to sleep at night and sing to her – I daydream that I am performing for a crowd. Sometimes I get really into the song I’m singing.

I think my Dyson vacuum is freaking awesome. I still look in it after I’ve vacuumed a room, show Dustin, and say “Look how much dust and dirt was in here!”

Dustin is very patient with me and my talking “problem”.

I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since June 2008. I don’t plan on ever having one again.

I can quote almost every single FRIENDS episode.

I love rap music. Like, the dirty south, heavy bass, rap music. The more ghetto, the better. I miss the 2 – 12 inch subs I had in my car.

I also love bluegrass music.

I really wish I was half black. So I would have more rhythm and so I could go to an all black church. I really love the way they praise the Lord.

I wish I was Italian too. I love the family quality that Italians have.

Can you be half black, half white AND Italian? I totally would, if I could.

I don’t lie very well and I hate liars. My brother and husband think I am too honest with my parents and tell them “too much”. I just don’t see the point in lying.

I never thought I would be a breastfeeding advocate, a co-sleeper and an attachment parenting Momma – but it works for us, and it’s who we are. I don’t like feeling judged for it.

I don’t like feeling judged at all.

I honestly tell my brother everything.

I’m going to take sewing lessons, and crochet lessons. I already know how to knit. I want to learn to do as much as possible, with my hands, as I can.

My favorite kind-of gum is that really hard kind they sell at Mexican restaurants – the kind that feels like wax when you are chewing it. I love it.

Did I mention I talk too much? I just have too much to say and I really can’t stop.

January 02, 2010

Touched by a blog

As my napping child lay snoring in the bed, I decided to “take some of my nuts out of my basket”, as my Mom would say. The nuts represent those nagging things we need to do, but put off for one reason or another. Eventually they build up in our “basket” and weigh us down. When you take a nut out of the basket, the weight lifts a little bit. So, I decided to take some nuts out of my basket this morning. One of my “nuts” was to get the Marietta Playgroup going again. I researched a few fun places we could take the kids in Atlanta and then went on our Facebook page to find some more local “Mom” friends to add to our group. I ran across a note from one such friend, which led me to her blog: http://thestanleyclan.blogspot.com. While reading her story about a family they were helping, I felt a tug at my heart that I have not felt in a long time. I felt like God was leading me somewhere I’ve wanted to go for so long.

For those of you who know me on a personal level, you know that I have always been sort of a dreamer. I’ve never been able to choose one thing I want to do with my life, and stick with it. Growing up, I wanted to be an artist, a singer, an actor, a dancer – then through college, I majored in interior design, drawing and painting, criminal justice, business, and then finally received a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a concentration in PR. With the exception of a few party planning opportunities, I have yet to actually use my degree. Shortly after I graduated, I became a Momma. THIS is the one thing I have truly been sure about. The one “job” I wouldn’t trade with any other. The one thing I KNOW I was meant to do. However, I still have so many things I am passionate about. Most of all, I love to create things and help others. My creative outlets are usually fulfilled on a daily basis, but my need to help others is not. When I came across that blog I felt that fire start to burn in my heart. The passion start to push through and whisper “this”, “this is it”, “this is what you are looking for”… THIS is the missing piece – helping others – doing God’s work.

My 3 passions – my family and my daughter, creating things, and helping others. So far, I have been able to fulfill the first two. Now I know what else God has planned for me.