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Friday, May 30, 2008

More her birthday

Hey - give her a call at 575-2793 and we will throw a little birthday cake celebration (carrot cake that Jenn loves) at 8 PM Monday night at our house!!!


Hey everyone - it is Jenn's birthday today (May 30th) - so send her messages and let her know how much you love her. She is "stuck" in Mt. Ida Arkansas at Camp Ozark today... probably not her idea of the perfect birthday, but it shows you how selfless she is for the kids (and me!!) putting their fun over her birthday. We'll try to get her to climb "THE WALL" here today if it is open and I'll post pics - as she is like an American Gladiator up that thing.
Happy Birthday Jenn and Mommy! We love you so much!!
Rusty and the Oompa Loompas

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hot Pocket

Erin, this is per our conversation the other day about Hot Pockets.
This is stinkin' hilarious.
Every Christmas when we go home for the Seay family gathering, my brothers' find these things on the computer to entertain us, and we all laugh until we cry, and then quote it for the rest of the week.
You can sing "Hot Pocket" at any time and it will be funny.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Prayer for the Chapman family

Some of you may know already that tragedy has struck the Steven Curtis Chapman Family. They lost their little daughter Maria. I, of course, have never met them in person, but I think maybe my brothers have. Everyone says they are the absolute nicest family, and they are experiencing our worst nightmare as parents. You can read about what happenned here
Here's a cute little video I found of SCC with Maria. I am praying for these people!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cleaning House

We had an amazing service at Living Hope this weekend!
It is an exciting time in the life of our church because we are expanding LH by planting two new churches in our area. We are asking God to help us reach people in our community we are not yet reaching. The whole body is praying about where they should serve- whether in a Core Group of a new church plant, or to step up to service within our existing body. Rusty and I are so excited because God has given us some direction as to where we should be and a vision for that. We can't wait to see what God is about to do!
But our message this week, as we have been in Acts recently, was on Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. This falls in the midst of the early church seeing AMAZING works of the Holy Spirit among them, people being saved in mass, healings left and right, and great persecution of their leaders for spreading the Gospel. Then comes Acts 5, with husband and wife, Ananias and Sapphira. They were members of the early church who tried to deceive the church leaders about how much money they were giving to the church. The apostles called them out on it immediately, and they dropped dead right there, in front of the whole church, by God's swift judgment. Whoa.
Admittedly, by our pastor and everyone else, this is a difficult passage to understand. But what we took from it was very good.
First, Ananias and Sapphira were misrepresenting their faithfulness.
Butch gave two likely reasons. PRIDE and LACK OF FEAR OF THE LORD.
Pride. They wanted to look good. Seeking praise from men and not God. I can find Pride at the root of almost all of my sin issues. Fear of the Lord. Not something we talk about a lot.
Butch asked us if we are misrepresenting our faithfulness to others...making it seem as if we are not struggling with sin?
I sure hope not! Without question, I have sin that I'd like to see eradicated in my life, desperately!
Not too long ago, a sweet lady from our church visited my home for a meeting for the first time. It was after my baby was in bed, and the big kids were pretty quiet. (very rare occurence) She said something to me that struck me. She said "you make all of this look effortless."
That was the very last word I would use to describe my life.
She was, of course, paying me a compliment and it was very kind of her.
But I wondered, am I inadvertently putting off a false image?
Not for people who are in my home regularly. They see the real deal up-close, and we're not hiding anything. My HOPE group, my college girls, they know what's going on around here. But for the people who don't know us as well, I want to make it clear.
I have shared some of my sin struggles on this blog, and more personally, I have a husband and friends that I regularly dump my junk on. But I really don't want to make my life look effortless.
It's not a burden. It's not a pain. It's not miserable.
It's joyful. It's my favorite job ever. It's a blessing.
But it certainly takes more effort than I humanly have.
It's hard, and there are days I feel like a big, fat failure.

Cleaning House
Butch encouraged us not to let any seemingly small sin take hold in our life...not to let what others might deem acceptable or common or not a big deal SIN take root.
He asked what sin could we be more guarded against in our own life?
That was an easy answer for me. Taming my tongue.
God had already started speaking to me about it in my prayer walk before church.
God has grown me so much in this area over the last five years! Praise God! But sometimes when that happens, I become satisfied with that growth, and don't ask God to take me the rest of the way to BLAMELESS, HOLY, AS HE IS HOLY. That should be what we are striving for!
Like Paul says here...
Phil 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I want to see God continue to clean me out, and for me to press on toward the goal! No one (except some of you crazies out there) likes to clean house. But isn't the result so good? Aren't you so glad you did? I am. And I know whatever God wants to do in us before we join Him in this new work is going to be productive.

Seeing praise from men...this is also what I refer to as the people-pleasing disease. We women are particularly afflicted with it.
There are several good verses to cling to if this is an issue for anyone else.
The end of Romans 2 is talking about a true heart change, not just a following of rules, and it end with:
"Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people." Romans 2:29
"Obviously, I'm not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to pleae God. If I were still trying to please people I would not be Christ's servant."
Galatians 1:10

I am excited to see God clean house, in my life and other's in our church! I want to see God unleash his power in a new and fresh way on us! He has burdened our hearts for the lost in a deeper way than ever before! We are evaluating everything in our lives, and how to make the Great Commision the driving force behind all of it!
Reading the above pictured book while studying the book of Acts simultaneously has blown my mind! Wow! I beg all of you to read this book by K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia. I see why our church is giving them away for free and has been begging us to read it!
God has been showing me so much in the last month, I don't feel like I can keep up! But it's so good! So stinkin' good!

Monday, May 19, 2008


My three-year-old, Justus...he's just witty.
Rusty and some of the kids went to Target the other day.
Justus is at that stage where there are letters floating all around him, and he can identify them, but is not sure what they say.
So he said the letters outloud "T-A-R-G-E-T."
Rusty said "What do you think that says, Justus?"
Justus looked up and grinned and said "Wal-Mart?"
He knew he was being funny. He has always been so sharp and witty like that!
He keeps us cracking up around here. Plus his laugh is beyond contagious. He's one of those people who will always laugh, and people will laugh with him.
BUT, speaking of TARGET!!!! We are getting a new one around these parts, and that is really exciting! I don't know if it's a Super Target, but that would just be too much excitement around here.
Hopefully tomorrow, I will have time to sit down and write about all God is doing in me...it's good! Yesterday's service at church...GOOD! I'm almost ready to move it from my heart and brain to my fingers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Disturbing Racist Encounter on the Playground

We had an encounter that took us very much by surprise the other day.
Rusty and I took the kids to Chic-Fil-A for lunch.
We sat outside so they could play in the play area.
Emma and Jax...well, if you know them, you know they never meet a stranger.
They routinely see other kids and Emma will say "Hi, my name is Emma. What's your name? You want to be my friend?"
Sometimes they do, and they will start playing together like they've known each other their whole lives.
So Emma and Jax made a quick friend with another little boy. They sat at their own table with him, and chatted it up about how old they all were (he was five, like Jax, which makes them instantly bonded!) and kids' meal toys, where they go to school, etc. This kid was there with his young-looking Grandma, and she didn't seem to mind.
Rusty and I had Justus and Treston at our table with us.
(Let me remind people who don't know us personally, Emma and Jax are white, and Justus and Treston are brown.)
So the kids all ate at super speed and hit the play area again. Justus, Emma, Jax, and their new friend disappeared up in those tubes where we couldn't really see them, while Treston grazed on the rest of everyone's food, of course.
After a while, Emma came down and just stood by our table for a few minutes, looking sad. She finally told us this:
"That little boy said that he doesn't like brown people, and he won't play with Justus."
We were both stunned. We didn't know what to say.
Then the boys came out, and reported that this little boy was pushing Justus out, pulling his hair, and saying racist remarks.
Emma tried to enlighten him with the history of social injustice for black people, back to slave times, and how unfair and wrong that was.
He was unmoved, I think.
Jax put Justus in a brother head-lock hug and told the kid he was his "bestest brother ever."
That was just cute.
But Rusty and I were frozen.
We were both looking at each other, boiling over with anger.
Justus came down with hurt feelings and declared "That boy be mean, but I not be mean." I would think, of all my kids, Justus would dish it back out, but for some reason he did not. He was sad.
Rusty and I were shaking, and speechless for a moment.
We were both surprised at HOW furious we both felt in the moment.
And then we started gathering up our kids and food to leave.
I had to say something to the Grandmother. I could have knocked someone out at that point, I was so upset, but instead, I calmly went to her and explained what her grandson had said and did and told her that was not okay!
She also gathered him up and left immediately, with no apology to Justus.
I guess it's not surprising that we would face this eventually.
Up to this point, the racism we have encountered has been much more subtle, and the worst of it has been ugly stares, or pointed, awkward questions.
But this couldn't have been more overt, and what surprised me the most was that my kids faced it, not us.
I realized how very unprepared we were! My kids did not know how to handle this, or what to say! We hadn't prepared them.
Our emotions took over. We're regular white people- we've never faced overt discrimination. It didn't feel good.
We certainly hadn't prepared Justus. I hope that will not be a day he tucks away in his mind forever.
But it was an opportunity, once we got in the car, to remind all of our kids how lost people think. Their minds are dark and confused without the Lord. We need to pray for people who are raising their kids to be mini-KKK members on the playground.
As much as I wanted Jax to drop-kick that kid, it wasn't his fault.
He had clearly been trained in this way.
It was a sad and yucky feeling. My mothering instinct was to kick some butt, and then wrap my children up and protect them from that junk.
But that's not reality.
I hope we are better prepared- all of us, next time, if there must be a next time. I realize we need to be talking a little more in our family about what others will sometimes see when they look at our family, and how to answer them about what God thinks of people and family.
Lord, help me love redneck racists! I can't do it on my own!

Monday, May 12, 2008

American Gladiator Night is BACK!!!

It's back.
Our kids have had this day marked on their calendar for weeks now.
The much anticipated Gladiator return was tonight!
Luckily, we had the Dutys over for dinner, and we got to introduce them
to the Gladiator fun.
We especially like when they say the ridiculously cheesy, scripted trash talk.
That cracks me up!
Beware: As Emma pointed out to Allen Duty while snuggled up in his lap, the girls do NOT dress modestly.
Other than that, it's been a very clean show.
Emma knows every Gladiator by name. Their favorite is Wolf. He's the creepy old guy.
To conclude Gladiator night, we have to have Daddy Gladiator events. (Missing you guys, Adam and Emily!)
It's good family fun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Just wanted to take the opportunity to say Happy Mother's Day to my blessed wife (and my babies' mama) Jenn.
As Butch preached on a Proverbs 31 woman, the rhetorical question at the beginning: "A wife of noble character, who can find?" - I'll answer that - I have found that woman (or God found her for me - I majorly married up). Seriously - every aspect of Prov 31, Jenn has developed in to. She is the most Godly person I know - truly seeking the Lord in everything, especially in her role as mother and wife. Her growth in the Lord and the Word is phenomenal and humbling to watch. Her encouragement and support of me (who SO needs a helper at all times) is amazing. She is the most incredible mother to the kids. Her ability to nuture and develop our FOUR (YES 4!!!) children is a pleasure to watch. She knows exactly how those little munchkins tick.
She is a phenomenal homeschool teacher. Her ability to teach our kids so much has been mindboggling. Emma and Jax and now Justus have learned to love learning and are little sponges of knowledge because of their mommy's diligence and passion for their education. Most importantly, she makes sure that they are growing first and foremost in their knowledge of the Lord.
She is a picture perfect wife who helps me lead beyond my abilities. She makes our home a pleasure (and with 4 kids that is pretty phenomenal!!!!). We are blessed beyond all measures to have her and we love her so much! Younger women - aspire to be this Godly woman! Young men - find a woman of this caliber (and what are you doing reading my wifes's blog!?) although she is hard to find... wait for her.

Emma says: "She is very beautiful and kind. She is very sweet and we love her very much. SHe is a very good teacher and we do homeschooling. She cooks us our food and takes care of the house. She buys us stuff we need and she helps us with difficult stuff. She is the sweetest mother I could ever have. And she is even better than the best mother."

Jax says: "She is the best mommy in the whole world. She is so beautiful. The bestest mom. She washes my clothes so good. You fold laundry so good. You are very beautiful. You swing us. You take us to sonic! You take us to Chick Fillet."

Justus: "You're so butiful! We love watching a movie. I love mommy."



Rusty anf the kids.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


We've been talking about this with the Her Hands girls.
Romans 12 is one of my all-time favorite chapters of the Bible.
It punches me everytime.
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good, pleasing, and perfect his will really is."
Romans 12:2

We have definitely been taking all our cues from the world in regards to the way we dress, from our culture, rather than from God, haven't we?
I admit, I have.
I put myself on the throne of my closet, making all clothing decisions based on what made ME look the best, what I enjoyed wearing, sacrificing very little of what I wanted for the sake of modesty.
We girls...we have this burning desire to be beautiful.
I wish it weren't true.
But we have chain-linked our self-image to outward beauty.
The Bible anticipates this, of course.
1 Peter 3:3-5
3 Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

We've all read that. I just don't think we get it yet.
In order to achieve the outward appearance and approval from either the males or females we are dressing for (because we all know girls most often are dressing to impress other girls) we overlook our call to modesty and holiness.
1 Tim 2:9-10
9 And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. 10 For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.

Is that truly how we're making ourselves attractive?
I realize more and more, in our culture, we deny ourselves very little.
We pretty much do what we want, when we want to, without delay.
We sacrifice virtually nothing in a day for ourselves.
I have found myself standing in my closet, battling over a piece of clothing that I really like, not wanting to sacrifice it for the sake of modesty.
My selfishness makes me sad.
Over the last few years, God has been growing me.
I have been longing to learn what it means to put others' interest above my own. (Phil. 2)
When it comes to modesty, the very first thing we ought to know is that our dress affects men around us.
This is a "duh!" Of course it does! We already know how visual men are.
If you have a husband, you definitely know this! You can't deny it.
We have the power to draw an eye. As a wife, that's marvelous. But it's a power we have abused and used to hurt and cause our brothers to stumble.
"Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian's path." Romans 14:13
If you have ever had an honest conversation with Christian brothers about this, you would know this. We have encouraged our Her Hands girls to go to their HOPE groups and ask Godly men about this. We have. It's been good. But they haven't said anything I didn't already know.
Really, we DO know this, all of us. We just don't care very much.
We continue to wear whatever we want, whatever flatters us, whatever makes us feel good, without regard for our weaker brother.
This is clearly a heart issue. It's not a set of rules we must live by, but a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, letting Him lead us in every area of our lives! It's a matter of love, or lack of love, for our brothers in Christ...really caring about the battle they wage against sexual temptation. It's a really small way to die to ourself. Really small! Yet we cling to those tiny sacrifices, as if they were big ones.
I remember, not very long ago, when I had categories in my closet. You know "church clothes", and OTHER, because there were certain things I would wear out, to work-out in, to swim in, whatever, that were NOT what I would wear to church or in front of my pastor. What's up with that? Why is it okay in one situation, and not in another?
I'm still asking the Lord to show me the double standards I have set up. I want to be above reproach in this area. I've not arrived yet. But my heart is much softer and more willing to hear Him on this than it used to be.
So let's be honest. There are some things we Christian women continue to wear that they are saying are a problem.
For the sake of specificity, let's throw out a few.
*Two piece swimsuits
*anything that shows our middle, really.
*anything showing cleavage (for those women who have it!)
*anything showing any "boob skin" as we called it in Her Hands on Sunday night!
*short shorts!
*even some guys say tank tops (especially when bra straps or any part of your bra is showing.)
*Stretch across your boobs shirts. The kind that totally outline and frame your chest. (The ones you think you look really good in.)
These are just a few examples taken directly from coversations with Christian guys recently, who have been vulnerable and honest enough with us to give us specifics.
I appreciate them! I appreciate them helping us attune our ears to conviction, and for helping us "older women" (yes, I live in a town where being 32 is being an older woman. Awesome, hu?) teach the younger women.
As swimsuit season and summer approaches, this is something to consider again.
As I've thrown out a ton of clothes and asked God to lead me, have I felt less attractive? Oddly, no.
Do I feel less fashionable? Really, no. I thought I would. I don't.
Do I feel more comfortable? YES. I also like wearing clothes without the nagging feeling that I'm pushing the limit. I hated that feeling. I still hate it today when I wear something I feel a little strange about, but then wear it anyway. It's not worth it.
So I want to hear from y'all...what are your thoughts, questions, points of discussion here. The last time I opened this up for discussion on my blog, I learned a lot! Let's hear it.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Justus. What a trip.
We have had three eventful years with him thus far.
I have no doubt life will always be an adventure with Justus.
Some of you remember my older posts about how he off-ed our fish, tried to kill our turtle, painted himself and Treston with nail polish, painted the porch, and flung his poop.
Well, he's grown up a little since then.
He's gained more words, Praise God.
But he's just as mischevious as ever.
Just recently, he spray painted his red tricycle with black spray paint.
He climbed to a top shelf in the garage (while he was supposed to be riding his trike outside on the driveway), pulled out the spray paint, and painted his tricicyle. And a little of our van.
No kidding.
He has Sharpied my computer recently also.
Yep, permanent blue Sharpie all over my computer screen (he traced a word quite well on the screen from his educational web site) and wrote on my keypad.
It eventually came off. Love those magic erasers.
He permanent markered our back porch and wrote Chinese all over our porch swing.
He also recently got my car keys and got in the van, ready for take-off.
(Thank you Jesus for helping me find him first!)
He is definitely the child who is not afraid to drive away in our mini-van. He laughs at childproofing. There is no bottle or container he can't open. And his curiosity drives him. There's nothing he won't try.
He is quick-witted, this little guy, and his laugh is crazy infectious.
(One of my favorite things about him.)
Once Justus started getting some language, we realized this kid was smart.
He has always had an evil genius about him!
But we are positive when he gets "Jesus in his tummy" as he calls it, he will use his powers for good, and not evil!
Is he the most familiar with our spanking spoon? Definitely. Is he challenging? Without a doubt. But is he our joy? YES!
He really is brilliant. We can't take credit for it. He doesn't contain a drop of our DNA. Even if he did, God is the giver of all our gifts, so what credit can we ever take?
He has been ready for school for a while now. He's only three, so I have been focusing on the older kids' school work, but I knew it was time to give him more!
So Erin, my wonderful helper in the mornings and priceless friend, started preparing Pre-K lessons for him. She's a teacher, you know.
We knew he knew his letters and sounds already, and he was already printing many letters.
So we started this past week with regular Pre-K work.
We have been overwhelmed with what he's done in a week!
I'm not kidding when I say HE'S READING.
He started reading words yesterday. I almost thought "Did we imagine this?"
So we just pulled out a word flip book a few moments ago, and had him read words to Rusty and I.
We aren't imagining it. He can read many words.
Simple words, of course, but we are amazed!!!
What will this kid do next to make us stand back with our mouths open?
Who knows?
Praise the Lord, I am seeing more of an awareness of God is his life...more remorse for his sins...more desire to pray.
Someday, he's going to be a great warrior for Christ!
Our little Brown Bear is quick. We're just trying to keep up.