Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Testimony ~Part 3

It was some where around ten or eleven years old that I started having the nightmares. And at first, I thought that's all they were. That is until my cousin, *Rose, came to me and asked me if I remembered what they did to us. Oh, dear God it was true. It was not just some crazy dream-it really happened. From that moment on, my life would never be the same.

I don't have all my memories even now, and maybe I never will. And maybe, it's better that way. What I do know is that when your mind blocks out pieces of your life, it is for your own protection, because mentally and emotionally, you are not strong enough to face it yet. I have known those who have pushed themselves through therapy and hypnosis to remember(usually to help them prosecute their offenders in court)-only to fall into very deep depressions and in some cases face the fall out of a nervous breakdown. I have learned from others that the Lord has placed in my life along this journey, and I can tell you that I will hold God's hand as I face each memory or flashback and we will cross that bridge together as we come to it.

Facing my own s<#*@/ abuse has been by far the hardest thing I've ever had to face in my life. At times, I've nearly let it destroy me. Life experiences and the circumstances which we grow up in are what shape us into the people we are to become. For some of us it is an encouraging, nurturing environment, and for others it is a survival of the fittest -filled with crisis and chaos at every turn with every man for himself. And for some of us, it's a little of both. As I said before, when my mom stopped drinking and my parents made the effort with God's help to start healing, I made up my mind to shut the door on that part of my life and start a new one. My mom always said that going into rehab hospitals never helped her, but the Lord Jesus did. On June 1,1986, as we moved into a new home, in a new town, in a new state, momma prayed with her whole heart for the Lord to deliver her from the desire and temptations of alcohol. And He did just that. She felt that He instantly took it away from her, and she was ready to start over. For years we never even mentioned it, not even to each other. It was our secret. Secrets. I feel like my childhood was filled with so many secrets. And if I thought keeping a secret about our family was hard to cover up, gloss over and smile through, well I had no idea how hard keeping my own little deep dark secret was going to be. Pretending that you live in the perfect little family is one thing, but when you wake up in your own body everyday (a body that has been violated, a body that disgusts you, a body that is filthy and wretched and dirty no mattered how many showers you take, a body that has been stained and scarred by the evil of someone else's lust) it's a lot harder to pretend away.

I used to feel like an apple, all shiny and red on the outside that was brown, mushy and rotten on the inside. Why an apple? Well, I guess because it reminded me of Adam and Eve, and the story we hear as children. The apple that looked good to them on the outside, but held their very death on the inside. The death of their innocence, the death of their family and intimate relationship with their heavenly father, the death of all His hopes and dreams for them. They found themselves in filth, cut off from God and no matter how hard they tried, it would never be the same. How our Abba's heart must have broken in that moment. He had tried to protect them, but sin was already out to steal, kill and destroy. And then there is the flip side of that point of view, where an apple is perceived as good and wholesome, an aid in health and wellness. As a young girl, I wanted so badly to be that girl, you know, that all American apple pie girl. The sweet and innocent one. Even now, it may seem old fashioned and out of date to some, but it is an ideal I still hold to in my mind.

I could write a million posts on my thoughts and feelings about abuse and the devastating effects it has on young children. I don't think many people understand just how crippling it is or how hard it is to over come. I spent so many years scared, and angry and ashamed. TOO MANY YEARS. I hated my self for what I thought I had let happen to myself. (Which is only a lie from the pit, because I was merely five years old.) I tried so very hard to make myself better. I thought I had to work harder, just to be as good as everyone else. I tried to be the best girl,daughter, friend I could be- whatever it was the someone needed me to be -in order to validate the worth of my existence at all. Other times, I just prayed for God to let me die. I just wanted to escape. I fell into an eating disorder, for a few intense years when it really got bad, because it was the only part of my body I felt in total control of-(what a laugh.) I would binge to cover up and stuff down all the feelings I couldn't deal with whenever I started having an anxiety attack over a flashback. And it helped for a few brief moments- I would feel calm. But then, then I'd feel so ashamed and disgusted with myself that I would purge to get out not only the food, but the feelings and the filth and the secrets and the lies and all the things I hated about myself that I couldn't control. And again for a few brief moments I'd feel calm. I have to be careful, because even now, just writing about it, I feel such a high...I have to stop myself and say NO! I am attracted to my own insecurities and self destructive thought patters even now. There is a part of me that would love to be back there, in that place where at times I actually felt beautiful, accepted, and in control. But, I know now that it was all just an illusion another lie from satan.
And although food in some form or another (emotional eating or emotional purging and fasting,) is still a battle for me, it is something I am trying desperately not to pass down. I may not be an alcoholic, but I still struggle with the effects of "learning" addictive behavior. I pray everyday for the Lord to help me to break this pattern, and become a healthy woman, wife and mother. I want my daughter to grow with a healthy body image. She will have so many pressures to face from this world. I will not add to that, by the grace of God, I just won't! I will not have her watch me stare at myself in the mirror, pulling on my fat, belittling and degrading the temple the Lord has given me. I don't want her to ever see that and then look at herself and think there must be something wrong with me. And you know so many of us have done just that, not even knowing it. We see our mother's so unsatisfied and over preoccupied with their bodies. Naturally, we think they are beautiful, and how could they ever think they're not. (I think most little ones really think this way because they look up to their parents and love them so much.) And we think well my goodness, if she thinks she's fat then there must be something wrong with me. It's bad enough we face that kind of thinking subconsciously as we look at our friends, neighbors, or other women on t.v. As a mother, I want my daughter to be able to come to me or just be around me and escape the world's image pressures, if just for a moment. I want her to feel not just accepted, but, treasured. I just feel like it is important that in her own home, she ought to learn what a beautiful young lady the Lord created her to be.

Have I overcome all my own self-hatred, insecurities, and self destructive behavior that are a direct result of my abuse? No, I still have to lay it down at the foot of the cross over and over again, every time it comes bubbling to the surface. Does that mean that I don't trust my Lord or believe that He can and has wiped it all away for me? No, that is not what I am saying at all. But, I can say from experience that the devil will use anything he can against you to break you down or sift you as wheat. He will tell you that God doesn't care, that He can not forgive you, that you are not worthy of His love and acceptance. The devil will use your memories, thoughts, flashbacks, emotions and insecurities to try and destroy you again and again. And every time I feel that old feeling try to swell up within (especially when I face a new memory or flash back,) I rebuke it in the name of Jesus and I lay it down. And I will keep doing that no matter how long it takes. -And I know He will always be there right by my side.

There are a few verses that I hold on to in times of battle. 1 John 4:4 ~Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Philippians 4:13 ~I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

And Romans 8:37~ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

I am not just a survivor, I AM A CONQUEROR! I live my life as a promise of that fulfilled, EVERYDAY. I hold tight to that promise and to His love. I know now that no matter what fiery darts satan throws at me, Jesus is my shield, my protection, my shelter and fortress. I pray for this to be a promise fulfilled in your lives as well. Blessings to all!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I am a Daydreamer

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

NBPC - The Daydreamer

Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Color

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow.

Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

I am Emma Woodhouse!

Take the Quiz here!

You are Emma Woodhouse of Emma! You like being the queen of your social circle (small and provincial as it may be), and feel it's your duty to help those less influential than you. You often meddle in the affairs of others, though you do it with a pure heart. You are often deluded in your flights of fancy, but your good intentions and creative spirit make you someone anyone could like. ~I must admit that I have not read Emma yet, but I think when I finish at least one of the three books I am currently reading, I will have to pick this one up. I found this cute little quiz over at Tracie's My Petite Maison. Thank you Ms.Pearl for recommending her blog. I loved it. I love finding little quizzes like this along the way as I read and find new blogs. This looked like fun, so I thought I'd try it out. If any of my bloggy friends are interested, try it out and then let me know which heroin you are.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Attention, Attention Please!

My dearest friend since childhood, Peige, now has her very own blog. YEAH!!!! It's called Down South, How Devine! She is a God fearing, Jesus loving, sassy southern girl, (like myself.) She is also incredibly beautiful, hilariously funny, and sooo much fun to be around. She is the kind of friend that leaves an imprint on your heart for-evuh!! A true-blue sweetie-pie, if I do say so myself. And I ought to know, because I am her best friend and all! hee-hee! No seriously folks, you have to check out her blog and give her a great big bloggy welcome! You won't be sorry, I promise! Blessings to all!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

How Well Do You Know Yourself And Your Mate?

When Hugh and I were first married, we took a nearly wed/newly wed class at our church, Colonial Heights Baptist. It was a very interesting and informative class. During the class, we filled out a "personality survey." I remember that everyone else in our class were opposites of their mates, while Hugh and I were exactly the same. We were golden retrievers; loyal, happy to remain quietly in the background, with a small circle of close, intimate friends. It's funny what you remember. I can't tell you now, why the personality types were depicted as animals, or anything else about the survey for that matter. It just stuck with me that Hugh and I were the same and I wondered if through the years as we grow and change, if that would remain the same.

I started thinking about this last week, when our friend the CDO, of The Crazy Carellis Chronicle shared a link to a personality test at Hugh and I both took the test. According to the test, I am an Idealist, which I kinda already knew about myself....... Here are some highlights of what it had to say about my personality type....

Idealists are enthusiastic, they trust their intuition, yearn for romance, seek their true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom.
Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic.
Idealists tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and they are focused on personal journeys and human potentials.
Idealists make intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders.
Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists are incurable romantics who prefer to focus on what might be, rather than what is. The real, practical world is only a starting place for Idealists; they believe that life is filled with possibilities waiting to be realized, rich with meanings calling out to be understood. Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. They cherish a few warm, sensitive friendships; they strive for a special rapport with their children; and in marriage they wish to find a "soul mate," someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds.

Idealists are relatively rare, making up no more than 15 to 20 percent of the population.

Hugh is a guardian, which is described in this way....

Guardians pride themselves on being dependable, helpful, and hard-working.
Guardians make loyal mates, responsible parents, and stabilizing leaders.
Guardians tend to be dutiful, cautious, humble, and focused on credentials and traditions.
Guardians are concerned citizens who trust authority, join groups, seek security, prize gratitude, and dream of meting out justice. Guardians are the cornerstone of society, for they are the temperament given to serving and preserving our most important social institutions. -- And they use all their skills to keep things running smoothly in their families, communities, schools, churches, hospitals, and businesses. Guardians can have a lot of fun with their friends, but they are quite serious about their duties and responsibilities. Guardians take pride in being dependable and trustworthy. Guardians also believe in law and order, and sometimes worry that respect for authority, even a fundamental sense of right and wrong, is being lost. Perhaps this is why Guardians honor customs and traditions so strongly.
Practical and down-to-earth, guardians are meticulous about schedules and have a sharp eye for proper procedures. They are cautious about change, even though they know that change can be healthy for an institution.
Guardians make up as much as 40 to 45 percent of the population.

Many of you may have heard of another personality test called Personality Plus. I know it has been used from time to time in Sunday School classes and small group Bible studies. It deals with four personality types: SANGUINE, CHOLERIC, MELANCHOLY, and PHLEGMATIC.
I am a Sanguine married to a Melancholy personality. If you click on each highlighted type you can read their strengths and weaknesses. It will make you think. I know both Hugh and I asked each other if that was a true depiction of ourselves. All of this led us to sit down and take the S.H.A.P.E. personal Profile we had received from one of our former churches. It helps you understand your spiritual gifts and how you are equipped to serve in the ministries of your church body.

I scored the same in three areas...

Mercy-The ability to detect and empathize with those who are suffering in the church family. The ability to provide compassionate and cheerful support to those experiencing distress, crisis, or pain.

Encouragement/Exhortation-The ability to motivate God's people to apply and act on biblical principles, especially when they are discouraged or wavering in their faith. The ability to bring out the best in others and challenge them to develop their potential.

Hospitality-The ability to make others, especially strangers, feel warmly welcomed, accepted, and comfortable in the church family. The ability to coordinate factors that promote fellowship.

I am also characterized as FPCF, (flexible-people-conceptual-feeling.) In other words....Warmly enthusiastic, high-spirited, ingenious, imaginative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Quick w/ a solution for any difficulty and ready to help anyone w/ a problem. Often rely on their ability to improvise instead of preparing in advance. Can usually find compelling reasons for whatever they want.

Hugh's two highest scores are in the areas of ...

Mercy-(see explanation above,) and Discernment-The ability to distinguish right from wrong, truth from error, and to give an immediate evaluation based on God's Word. The ability to discern whether the source of an experience is Satan, self, or God's Spirit.

He is also a STFT,(structured-task-factual- thinking.) Described as ....Serious, quiet, earns success by concentration and thoroughness. Practical, orderly, matter-of-fact, logical, realistic and dependable. See to it that everything is well organized. Takes responsibility. Make up their own minds as to what should be accomplished and works toward it steadily, regardless of protests or distractions.

I think it's kinda neat the way a lot of these tests coordinate so closely together. And I think we learned a few new things about ourselves and each other in the process. I hope some of you will try it out and let me know how you scored. Blessings Y'all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Break From The Oh So Intense And Six Randomish Things About Me

I would like to thank my bloggy friend Marsha for tagging me today. I needed to lighten the mood here. (Not really sure which direction to go in after my last post.) So, let's take a break from the intense and serious to share a little randomness.

Here are the rulz of the game...
1. Link to the person who ‘tagged’ you!
2. Post the rules on your blog!
3. List 6 random facts about yourself!
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post!
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by commenting on their blog!
6. Let the tagger know the entry is posted on your blog!

Ok, I have to admit that I had my husband help me with this one. I asked him what are some random, but, intersting things about me that people may not know. So here are Six random facts about me:

*I spent the summer of 1996 touring Europe and singing with the United States Chorale, String and Wind Ensemble. I never really had a desire to go to Europe before this trip, but now that I've been, I can not wait to go back. It was so wonderful.

*I am very limber and can pinch incredibly hard with my toes, (as well as pull leg hair.) Just ask my hubby, hee-hee. We are still very playful with one another. And some times this is the only defense I have against him when he pins me down and tickles me.

*I had the honor of serving his majesty, King Juan Carlos I, and Queen Sofia of Spain dinner, when they visited Jackson, Mississippi in March 2001, for the opening of ''The Majesty of Spain: Royal Collections from the Museo del Prado and Patrimonio Nacional.''

*I have actually danced with my husband (who at the time was my boyfriend,) in the middle of a mall. We had just attended a late night movie and as we were leaving a very romantic song came on, and he asked me to dance. I thought it was so sweet, because he didn't even care if people were watching. He is deffinately a keeper.

*There have been a few times in my life that I have been in the hospital, and expirienced bizzare episodes while on pain medication. Hugh still laughs about the time I had my gallbladder out and was on demarol. Apparently, pain medication makes me talk out of the side of my head. I kept asking my friend, Datha if she'd take the turkey out of the oven, and if she'd ever been to Mississippi, because if she hadn't, we just had to go. "You'll love it!", I said. Then, some how, I started talking about being a wedding planner. (I don't know folks, don't ask me. -I mean I love to plan a great party and all, but where this came from- I have no clue.) "Oh, I've done a dozen or so weddings," I said. "People love my work." (Yes, apparently my wedding planning alter-ego is very modest, as well.) Hugh said, "Really, well tell me all about that." I'm sure they were laughing hysterically at me.

*My honey says I was born in the wrong time. I really do love the music, clothes, decor, and all things from the early 20th century Americana/World War II era. (1930s-1950s.) I like to mix in a little of the old with the new. I just bought a black vintage Coblentz purse to go with a black and white dress I'm trying to fit back into. (A little inspiration never hurt, y'all.) I'm going to pair them with what Hugh calls my movie star sunglasses and a string of pearls. I'm also on the search for a pair of strappy, pin up heels to complete the look. I don't really follow trends all that much. I'm more the classic conservative type. You know a bright cardigan set, accented with a diamond drop or string of pearls. I love to browse vintage shops. There is one down town here that has a wedding gown complete with the veil, head piece and shoes from the 40s. They also have the wedding picture of the original owner wearing it. It's breath taking. I like to dream, but I'd never buy it. They also have this beautiful 1930s, full length fur coat in the style I've seen old pictures of Bette Davis in. I could go on and on about the things I love in this category alone. Maybe I'll do a seperate post on it sometime.

Well, now you know a little more about me. I would like to learn a little more about the following people.
Ashley @ The Happily Ever Afters of the Lancasters.
Suzanne @ The Barnettes.
Christy @ Mommy Brain.
Ms. Susan @ Penless Writer.
Dawn @ By Sun and Candlelight.
Ashley @ The Ingram Gang.
And I have to add one...Rachel @ The Crazy Carellis Chronicle.
Have fun with it, and pass it on! Oh, and Marsha, I want the details on you dancing with Tom Cruise. ~Blessings!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Am I? Part 2 ~ My Testimony

If you haven't read the first part of my testimony, you can catch up here.

My parents were far from perfect, but the most important, most precious gift they ever gave me was to raise me in a Christian home. I knew from the time I was a very little girl that what I saw in them was real. No matter what kind of problems we had or faced as a family, I knew that they truly loved the Lord and they tried to do the best they could. But, life is not always kind, and I have found that sometimes when you grow up in chaos, you become comfortable with it. So much so that many times you unconsciously create your own at the very same time you are trying like heck to pull yourself out of it. You crave normalcy, and yet once you have it in the slightest measure, you panic. It feels uncomfortable and unnatural. And while you are waiting for the roof to cave in on you, you inevitably create more chaos/drama somewhere else in your life. It's comfortable, and you know how to survive and function in it. It's a vicious cycle, and it's not pretty. But when it is all you know, and you grow up in it, you can't always see it for what it is. Even when you are faced with the stark reality of it all, you can try to do better- to be better. But it isn't easy. The road seems to be filled with stumbling blocks at every turn. And sometimes you fall down over and over again. You're lucky if you can reach out and take God's hand and let Him help lift you up out of the mess you've made. It is very hard for me to write about this. Most of you know that my parents have passed and I don't want to do anything that would mar their memory or disrespect them in any way. But, I want to be truthful about where I've come from and what the Lord has brought me through, because that is where my testimony lies. I used to feel intimidated about giving or sharing my testimony, because I don't have some great conversion story to tell. But, I am a testament to how God can take something broken and make something beautiful out of it.

Addiction has plagued my family for generations. Alcohol runs deep in our veins and seems to be a part of an everyday ritual within our environment. I know it has destroyed lives four generations deep within my family and is as wide spread as it is long. I can not name one living family member who hasn't been touched by it and changed by it's devastation in some way. It is a very powerful disease. My mom struggled to free herself from the strong hold it had on her until the day she died. I don't think my parents realized for a long time that she was an alcoholic. I remember a story she told me once of how she fell a part when she found out one of her brothers had been murdered. She was hysterical, and my dad couldn't calm her down. Being an old fashioned military man, he was raised in a time when emotion was a sign of weakness, and frankly, he didn't know what to do with her. He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her, telling her to stop it. She was still crying hysterically when he slapped her, sat her down and then set a drink in front of her and told her to pull herself together. I don't think my mom ever had a single safe place in her life to express her emotions, which only perpetuated her drinking all the more. She survived extreme poverty, abuse (both physical and sexual,) neglect and abandonment, as well as the effects that addiction had on her own family growing up. As I came to know my mother as a woman in my adult life, I was utterly amazed that she emerged out of that part of her life as a whole, sane person. And I think she tried to drowned out the memory of it all in her drinking.

My mom would drink herself to sleep a lot when I was younger, but as the disease progressed, it seemed to wake a rage within her. It was never directed towards me, but it was in turn met with an equal and ample amount of anger and rage from my dad. He did not deal well with her drinking. And when she was drinking, they could really tear each other a part. I always hid when the yelling turned to blows and breaking of furniture. I'll never forget one night hiding under the pool table as I watched blood fall down around my feet. I never remember being scared, just very sad. I always knew that Jesus was protecting me. And I would talk to Him kinda like you would an imaginary friend. But, He was very real to me even then, and I believed in Him with my whole heart. I knew I was safe and that He was with me.

I had to draw upon the comfort and strength I found in His presence when I finally faced my own anger toward my parents. I felt very used by them both, like a pawn in some kind of game they played to hurt each other. They would fight, she would drink, they would fight some more. Then she would take me and leave. We would fly half way across the country to be with her family until he apologized and then we'd return. This happened at least two or three times. Or he would take me and leave and we'd live some where else for a while. She wouldn't be allowed to pick me up from school or dance. (I remember a teacher actually hiding me in a closet one time in school so my mom would think I had already been picked up. I'm sure the teacher thought she was doing what was best for me, since she 'd been told my mother was a danger to me, but it hurt me none the less, and I felt very ashamed.) I remember my dad even pulled me out of school at one point and had a lady watching me at her house during the day, just so my mom couldn't find me. It was only for a couple of weeks. Until of course they made up and we were all back together again. I felt like a rag doll being pulled back and forth between them. After years of the drinking and fighting, false hopes of recovery (she was in and out of six different rehab hospitals in six years,) and the looming threats of divorce, we finally moved out of state again with my dad's job. It was a new start for all of us and my mom prayed long and hard for the Lord's help with her sobriety. She quit drinking and stayed clean for almost twenty years. That was June 1,1986.

When my mom quit drinking, it was as if it had never happened. I closed the door to that part of my life and walked away. I did what I could to get passed the anger and hurt I had and tried to concentrate on building a normal relationship with both of my parents. It wasn't perfect, but it was good. Finally, I felt like I'd found some peace. (I can hear the devil laugh even now, at my false sense of security.) The most difficult challenge of my personal life was yet to come.

Hooray, I finally got a playlist!

Hey Y'all! Hope you're enjoying some of my favorite songs. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong with loading the songs I wanted. There are a couple that I couldn't find, no matter how hard I tried. I LOVE Ella Fitzgerald, and I tried to find her singing Basin Street Blues and So in Love. But, I had to settle on other artists, if I wanted to have the songs on my playlist at all. Also, I couldn't find Young and Innocent by Elefante, and a few others that I really love, but this is an eclectic mix of what I guess you'd call my taste in music. It's kinda a hodge-podge of many different things. I'm still adding and changing a few things here and there. One of my very favorites is the last selection, by Mahalia Jackson, who was undoubtedly one of the greatest gospel singers EVER! When I found her music several years ago, I was as impressed by her words as I was with her voice. What I mean is that her heart shines through. She believes what she sings about. Here are a few quotes by her...
When you are through with the blues, you've got nothing to rest on. When you sing gospel you have a feeling there is a cure for what's wrong. Blues are the songs of despair, but gospel songs are the songs of hope. ~Mahalia Jackson
Well, I hate to run, but I'm hosting my weekly women's Bible study here at my house in less than an hour, so I visit with y'all a little later. -Be blessed!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Laughs and Random Thoughts

I have neglected my blog and my faithful few bloggy friends, who stop in regularly for a visit. (How very un-hospitable of me.) For that I am truly sorry. I've been awful busy in my own little domesticated corner of the world. My blog is my fun outlet, but from time to time, I will have to excuse myself to make sure that I am giving the time and attention my family needs- first and foremost. (I'm trying to improve in this area, because I can be kinda selfish when it comes to blogging. And, I really don't want to be that way.)

My lovies and I have been burning up the roads lately. I think we have visited every zoo, park, lake, farm, outdoor concert and festival in the tri-county area. Not really, but it sure feels like it. I tend to lean a little toward the Montessori view of education/child development, which supports the theory that... before the age of six, a child learns from direct contact with the environment, by means of all the senses, and through movement; the child literally absorbs what is in the environment. Experiences foster self-respect, respect and care from the child toward the environment, and the development of an appreciation of beauty. It is the role of the adult to prepare, and continue to prepare, the environment, to link the child to it through well-thought-out introductions to books and materials, projects, and lessons, which nurture the child's exploration and creativity. That's the easiest way to explain it in a nutshell. My little loves don't even realize their former pre-school teacher/mommy is trying to teach them something everyday. They are simply caught up in the excitement of the experience and I love that! I'll have to post some pictures of our latest adventures.

A couple days ago, my friend Dawn and I took our children to Pymatuning Deer Park for the day. It was quite an experience. We all had fun and I definitely had a few candid camera moments. We were in the petting zoo/kiddie area of the park, feeding and playing with the animals, up close and personal. Well, one of the camels decided to get a little too up close and personal with Trey while he was feeding him. The camel started nibbling on Treys shoulder, and Trey started to panic a little. As you can imagine, the "Momma Bear" in me really came out. I started smacking the camel right in the face (well, on top of his snout) and yelling at it to "get off of my son." Yes, I drew quite the crowd of on-lookers, who were laughing hysterically. I felt bad about the scene I'd made and apologized to the poor creature, who tried to give me a great big wet kiss, as I petted him. I thought Dawn was going fall down on the ground she was laughing so hard. Then on the way home, I had a very close encounter with a turkey. Let's just say, I almost brought home dinner, strapped to the grill of my truck. I have had to watch out for a very brave deer or two in my time, but never a turkey. That was a new one for me.

Lately, I am loving the early morning chadder of birds, katydids, crickets, frogs and other backyard friends we've seem to have acquired. There is something so serene about starting the day off with a big cup of coffee and all the windows open. You can smell/feel the crispness of the cool morning air. It makes me feel closer to God, and my mom and dad. My parents were always early morning risers, and doing little things that they used to do helps me to remember them in a sentimental way and feel a little closer to them.

I am enjoying domestication, which is weird because three or four years ago I was much more career oriented and didn't think I was "the type." I'm ashamed to say that I thought being a stay at home wife/mother sounded boring. Wow, how God can change your mind about things. And your direction. I really don't think I've ever been happier or more at peace in my life. It's a nice feeling.

I love my blog's new look, via the cutest blog on the block. How 'bout you? The best's free! So go get you one. And, you can change it anytime you want! Thanks for the tip, D! What can I say, "You're fabulous!" Oh, I also added a little poem I wrote to the top right corner. I tried to add it in the "header box," as a description of my blog, but it wouldn't let me. Something about errors in my html that can only have up to 500 characters. I don't think my poem is that long. If anyone knows the secret out there, please fill me in.

I have a few posts in the works. Part two of Thrifty Momma with lots of links and helpful hints, another post honoring the friendships in my life that I hold dear, and the second part of my testimony. I haven't felt a total peace about this yet, so I'll have to pray over it a little more. I'm kinda feeling a little exposed and I'm trying not to let that hold me back, if it's for God's glory. But, I don't want it to turn into something else that isn't helpful in some way to someone struggling, and isn't totally about sharing what God has done in my life. Anything less would be all in vain. Does that make sense?

I need a play list. This is yet another feature which alludes me. i signed up for an account, but when I tried to start adding songs, zip, nada, nothing. It just won't show up. So, any advice?

Enough of my ramblings. I off to spend the day with my family. Toodles!