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Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Life Worthy of Your Calling

Matt talked in connection group today about Joshua and going through this life with strength and courage. It really challenged me, I have to say. He talked about "living a life worthy of your calling". What an accomplishment that would be. I mean, think about getting to Heaven, and Jesus Himself looks at you and says, "Way to go, Kid. You lived a life worthy of your calling." It gives me chills just thinking about it. In fact, I can't think about anything better. I have no doubts about what God has called me to in this life. It seems every day He confirms it a little more, bit by bit. In some ways I'm faithful, and in some I'm a bit more apprehensive.... but, hey! Even Moses was apprehensive, right? At what point, though, do we fix our eyes above and just say, "It's all about You. I'm done worrying what people think, say, do, imply.... I'm living a life to please You and no one else." That's my struggle... worrying about pleasing everyone to such a degree that I sometimes forget my life is ultimately for the pleasure of only One who knows me inside and out and still adores me, cherishes me, thinks I'm pretty awesome. Until I lay all my doubt and insecurities aside, I am convinced that a life worthy of my calling will always be just out of reach. So, tonight I'm praying for strength and courage. It was so nice to be reminded today that I have a Father who doesn't look at me with a critical or condemning eye but who sees me, really sees me, and insanely loves me anyway. Incredible. Thanks for the reminder, Matt.

And speaking of strength and courage, it's Sunday which means I need to post a bit of the novel. I'm still on chapter 10. This week was crazy, and I'm struggling a bit with this chapter. And please keep in mind, this is raw. Really raw and not nearly edited enough. Strength and courage! Here I go...

D Broc took a step toward them as though straining to understand their cries. He stared at them a moment, sardonically cocked his head, then pulled a handgun from his waist and shot both of them in the temple. Boom. Boom. Silence followed, then a laugh here and there from the others. They cursed the dead men, and as if the torture had not been enough, leaned in close and spat on their bodies. The gunshots resounded throughout Esther’s already trembling frame and forced her from stupor to all-out horror. Her heart cried out to her frozen limbs. Run! Without looking back, she turned and ran to the car, crawled inside and pretended to sleep.

Oh, and here's a picture we took last Sunday of Jeb and Grandpa. Every time I see Jeb's name written, in my mind, I see Grandpa's name, James Earl Burris. I know I probably won't do that forever, but I hope I do. What a man to be named for. I hope Jeb will always remind me of him and how blessed my life is because of him.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Jeb Pictures

I took some pictures of Jeb today in his Paw-paw overalls (courtesy of Grandpa Greg and Grandma 'Nita) and straw hat. And dorky mom that I am, I'm posting a ton of them. (P.S. Pay no attention to the post below from the uninvited guest blogger!)






Jamoca Shake Anyone???

High Blogging world. Rarely do I (Matt the wonderful, loving, handsome, smart, and every other good adjective husband of the Slaughterhouse Rules blogging queen) post something, but this was just too funny.

The other day I asked my beautiful wife to pick me up a Jamoca Shake from Arby's on her way to my office. She willingly did, but ran into a slight problem. When she pulled into the drive through to order she go all flustered. The menu looked different... she couldn't find the Jamoca Shake or any shake... she started to get worried. Any second the worker was going to ask her for her order, and she didn't want to ask for a Jamoca Shake if they didn't have them any more. That would be way too embarrassing.

Then it happened the speaker crackled and the worker said, "Welcome to Taco Bueno may I take your order." LOL.. I wish i could have been there to see her face. Ang said she didn't say a word, but just through her car in gear and drove over to Arby's.

After all that I did get a Jamoca Shake. I pretty much have the best wife ever! Thanks sweety for being so great! You are the most wonderful, loving, sexy, smart, and every other good adjective wife ever!

Bittersweet


You are looking at pictures of what MAY be (God willing) our future new home. It's not not a castle, but it might as well be to me. I'm so very excited, but at the same time, a little sad about leaving this house. It's small, yes, but it's ours. We've done so much work here... not to mention Stella and Jeb came home from the hospital here. Then there's the swing set out back that Matt poured his blood, sweat, and tears into. Belle broke her little arm in the living room. Our sweet neighbors, who might as well be family, are ten steps away. I've been through post partum twice in these walls and lived to tell the tale. And the big one... Grandma has been here. I came home to this house after I lost her, and in this house I cried (still cry) but made it through. It's funny how a home, a house itself, can become a safe haven. Bittersweet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Morning

Things I have done this morning...

Played with my babies in our bed. (They love that.)

Made more bracelets with the girls.

Loaded kids and a very angry cat into the car and took him (Faulkner) to the vet.

Broke up a fight b/t Belle and Dru over whether or not this bug was dead. (It was.)

AND as an update........ (drum roll, please....)

We have a contract on our house, and we just learned this morning that our offer on the other house in Springdale has been accepted. Can I get a "Praise the Lord?!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Destin Pictures

Yes, another post. I'm nervous and have writer's block, so I'm blogging. Not really blogging, just picture-adding. Here are some more from Florida.








Monday, June 23, 2008

House 9-1-1

So you would think someone with three kids and writing a book would not have time for two blog posts in one day. This, however, is a 9-1-1 situation. We are in need of some prayers from our friends. To make this short and sweet, while in FL we received an offer on the house... an extremely low offer. We almost ignored it but decided to counter. We countered high and figured they'd walk, but they countered again tonight. (What's that? A re-re-counter?) Anyway... it's not a bad offer. Not what we had hoped, but not bad. And by all accounts, interest rates are rising with no hope of going back down any time soon, so if we're looking to get into another house, we may need to do it now.

If you read this, could you please shoot up a quick prayer for wisdom for Matt and I tonight? We want to do what is right and of course, to be in God's will. We don't want to run ahead of Him. Prayer is so powerful. Please whisper one for us.

"Please be a mirage."

That was my prayer yesterday evening. "Please be a mirage." Then I told myself there's probably no such thing as a goat mirage. They came into view as Matt and I were leaving (key word) an undisclosed, nameless restaurant near our house... leaving after we had already eaten our food. We walked out, and there they were. Goats. A bunch of goats. I'm not saying I ate a goat taco. I'm just saying.... Did I eat a goat taco?


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We are home. Destin was beautiful as always. The ocean, to me, is one of the most breathtaking sights to see. I wish I was closer to one. I am tired tonight. So tired. We made it to Siloam around 5 or so today and have been trying to get 'settled' ever since. My neighbor (aka Super Duper Best Neighbor in the Universe) came over and helped us unpack. She and her kids also mowed our lawn twice, changed the litter box, fed and played with Faulkner, got the mail, and checked on things every single day. After they left I went to Wal-Mart in an attempt to fill my bare cabinets and refrigerator. I am so tired. I have to post some pictures though. There are so many to choose from, so I'll just throw up a bunch. I will admit, there are more of Jeb than anyone. He wasn't as wiggly as my other two... a much easier target. Plus, I figured his first beach experience needed to be well-documented.









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Friday, June 13, 2008

Results, Novel, and Destin!

Stink. Matt won the weight loss challenge. I have to be honest. I did not meet my goal. Matt, however, went 5 pounds over his goal, losing around 20 pounds. I hate boys. They can sneeze and lose 10 pounds. So, anyway... there you have it. Matt won. I'm a loser.

For anyone interested, I only had half the laundry folded last night when Matt got home. Take that! The house was clean, though, and all the children were breathing. I get props for that. That's huge.

And since I'm not going to be here on Sunday for my novel post, I wanted to do that now. Actually I don't, but I don't want to have an excuse my first time around. I'm working on Chapter 10 but haven't had time to get much finished. I'll leave an excerpt from what I have. It's not groundbreaking.

Now and then Esther averted her eyes to the floor or out the window, but Malcolm never looked away from her. Esther squirmed under his stare and nervously crossed her arms. She settled back deeper into the soft cushions of the couch and wished they would swallow her away. Ms. Beulah emerged from the kitchen with a cup of hot coffee and sat it on the coffee table in front of Malcolm then stepped back and assessed the situation. She looked from Malcolm to Esther then back to Malcolm again. Neither of them acknowledged her, and she silently retreated back into the kitchen.

So, that's it.... We're leaving for Florida within the hour. I doubt if I do any posting from Destin. I'm hoping to get to work on the book. Say a prayer that Jeb will not protest his car seat too seriously. Destin, here we come!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My To-Do List

I should be scurrying around my house getting things ready to leave for Florida in the morning. I'm not. I'm sitting here at my computer with a squirming baby who is making my sleeve and arm completely wet with baby drool. It's gross. And stinky. Why is baby drool so stinky? I've tried to lay him down several times, but he isn't interested in entertaining himself this morning. As soon as this kid goes 'night night' I'm diving into a warm bath to rid myself of the drool. After that, I might possibly think about getting ready for FL. Matt gave me three orders this morning. No, I'm not kidding. He stood in the bedroom and said, "I want three things done by the time I get home." Stop laughing, ladies. They are as follows: 1) Pack for me and the kids. 2) Clean out the car. 3) Fold the clothes. The funny thing is that I let him leave the house thinking that I took him seriously. Not that I don't believe the husband is the head of the home--I'm all about some Bible, but c'mon... giving me a 'to-do' list? That boy must have lost his mind. Something not on his list was wipe a bootie with one hand, hold a baby on your hip, and keep the cat out of the bathroom with my foot b/c Dru can't stand for the cat to "watch". Nope, that wasn't on the list, nevertheless, it was done. And yesterday when he called me at 9 am and said the realtor wanted to the show the house at 9:30 am, I didn't need a to-do list then to wake up three kids, get them dressed, organize closets, pick up toys, sweep, mop, vacuum, and get out the door in 40 minutes. I guess what I'm saying is that I didn't take well to my imposed duties this morning. Sorry, Babe. I love you, but I think I'm going to protest my duties until you get home tonight. That way you can supervise.

On a different note, last night Matt and me and the kids went to the park and grilled burgers. Belle, of course, had only cheese puffs since she is anti-burger, but we had a great time. They played, fed ducks, fell in the water (not under my supervision). We had a great family night. And it was all thanks to Matt who had the idea a couple days ago. Super Dad. Super Dad who makes to-do lists.

Anyway... I'm posting some pictures of last night. Tomorrow morning before we leave, I'll announce the winner of Matt and Angela's weight loss challenge. Stay tuned....

Drusy looking like an orphan baby.
Jeb and Daddy at picnic table.
Jeb chillin' in his carrier.
And my personal fav. I don't know if you can read this very well, but right in front of me on the picnic table were the words, "Ang is hot." No, I didn't do it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Invisible Voice

I just read a blog post from Steven Curtis Chapman’s manager titled, Ever Heard An Invisible Voice? (Click here to read.) And my answer to that is “Yes.” I have. Thing is, I have shared it with very very few people because I knew that no one would believe me. I mean, why in the world with all the incredible people out there, would God choose to talk to me? I have absolutely no idea, but I believe fully, 100% that He did, and if SCC’s manager can tell his story, so can I.

It was a critical, critical turning point in my life. I was at a crossroads, determined to make things right again with God. I was still His, but my decisions didn’t reflect my Christianity in the least. It was by far one of the most difficult times in my life, and I was praying night and day for help, for a touch from Him to get me through. I had been having these horrible nightmares—the same one night after night. It was spiritual warfare at its best, almost straight from This Present Darkness, and I was scared to death, but still determined I was going to get life right one way or another.

I was lying in bed in my duplex I shared with my good friend, Lori. She had been asleep for quite a while, and I was just lying in the dark praying when I heard someone say my name. “Angela.” It sounded like a male voice, but there were no males in my apartment. So I just sort of blew it off as though I was hearing things and kept praying. Then a few seconds later, I heard it again. “Angela.” This time, I sat straight up and said, “Lori?” She of course didn’t answer. Again. "Angela." This time, I said aloud, "Yes?" Then the voice said, word for word, “We’re working on something for you.” I lay back down, totally unafraid, smiling and feeling this indescribable feeling that everything was going to be ok. And it was…. A few months later, I met Matt, and the entire course of my life was changed. A true miracle.

Call me crazy. That’s ok. I just figured if SCC’s manager could put himself out there, so could I. I’m not ashamed. And by the way, if you've never read This Present Darkness, go out today and buy it. It will make you think twice about how not alone we really are.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Here's the deal...

Ok, here's the deal. I shared in my very first blog entry back in January that I'm working on my first novel. All my life (well, at least since 2nd grade when I wrote my first story about an earthworm named Egbert--ingenious, right?) I have wanted to be a writer. I've done some freelance writing and editing here and there for pay (mostly pro bono), but for the most part, I don't enjoy it... especially the editing. Some people may wish they were better with the English language, but it can be a curse when you can't keep from editing the church bulletin every Sunday or billboards or random signs. Which reminds me..... last week at cheer camp I had to walk past a sign every day that said, and I quote, "NO STANDING OR SETTING ON STAIRS." Setting what, exactly? Drinks? Bags? Oh, did you mean SITTING? Well, then, that would be with an "i", not an "e". See? It's a curse!!! Anyway... I really wanted to finish my novel before Jeb was born, but with all the "issues" I had, especially at the end of my pregnancy, it just didn't happen. Then afterwards with the postpartum party, it didn't happen then either. And now, all I can think about is finishing.

There are three reasons that I can come up with why "finishing" hasn't happened. 1) 3 kids, not conducive to productivity 2) pure, unadulterated laziness accompanied by procrastination and 3) absolute fear of criticism. And I am fully aware that each and every listed reason, as truthful as it may be, is a pathetic, weak excuse. When God says, "Do this for me," you just do it. No excuses. Matt talked today in connection group about Moses and how he was terrified of his calling, but... he answered it, and the effect upon others was immeasurable. So, tonight I decided to give it up and answer my call head on. No more procrastinating or giving excuses. I'm in. I'm writing.

So, back to "here's the deal..." I've decided that every Sunday night, I'm going to post a small portion of the chapter I'm working on on the blog. I think by doing that, it does two things: 1) gives me a personal deadline and 2) gets me over the fear of other eyes reading my work. I can't even begin to explain how utterly terrifying that is to me. But you know, if I ever get published there is the possibility that someone else will have to read it first. So, I'll practice getting used to that here. It won't be a big portion of the novel, but a little.

So, tonight I decided to post a small excerpt of Chapter 1 and Chapter 9 (the last one I've completed). I'm cringing even as I write this, but no backing out. I'm not really looking for comments, although they are always fun to read. More than anything I ask for your prayers... prayers for my diligence and perseverance. Prayers for the cooperation of my kiddos. Prayers, prayers, prayers, and I thank you in advance. Ok, here goes nothing.

CHAPTER 1 EXCERPT

Kate stood still in the darkness of the kitchen. Her limbs no longer shaking. Her head no longer spinning. The queasiness gone from her stomach. Thoughts of Gray and the blond in her bed disappeared into the swirl of nothingness that slowly engulfed her body. She could feel the black void spinning around her like a vacuum, violently erasing her from when she stood, engulfing her heart and spirit, sucking away everything that was Kate Canton until there was nothing. Unaware, she slowly slid down the kitchen wall and ended up on the cold tile floor below. She no longer existed.

CHAPTER 9 EXCERPT

"...God was not taking care of them! God let them suffer! All the works of His hand are not good, and I will not lie for Him a day longer! So whether or not you find me to be a paradox, Kate Canton, is no concern of mine, but let me assure I am no one’s hero.” With that, he turned to leave, certain she would have nothing more to say. Kate watched him a moment and took a deep, shaky breath.

“Oh yes you are.” She finally spoke, soft and slow. Malcolm stopped and turned back to her. “You were a hero to my mother. You’re a hero to Ms. Beulah and Beulah Two. And you’re a hero to every person who comes to that church Sunday after Sunday and sits there waiting for you to stand up and say something.”


And since this is me we're talking about, and we all know I'm morally opposed to ending a post without including a picture...

I turned 33 on Saturday and celebrated by having a garage sale. Woo hoo. Last week, though, I celebrated with Matt's family, and this was my cake. (I'm slightly obsessed with flamingos. Probably because they're pink.)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sometimes life's not fair..

Yes, that's David Cook smiling for the camera with my insanely lucky sister-in-law, Sarah! Scream! Why am I screaming? Because it's not me!!! She and some friends were eating last night at Powerhouse in Fayetteville when he came in with a few of his managers. I think they're in for the Wal-Mart shareholders meeting. Jealously overwhelms me! I am such a huge American Idol fan, and David Cook is one of my favorites. Sarah said he was extremely nice and sweet and incredibly gracious to everyone he talked to. Sigh. Oh to have been at Powerhouse...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lady Bug

The girls and I had fun outside today with a ladybug while Jeb slept. Just had to post this picture of 'Stella.

Cheer Camp

The girls finished cheer camp yesterday in Springdale, and it was the cutest thing ever. I may have a video to post later of their routine to a Miley Cyrus song. (Gotta love Hannah Montana.) Anyway, they enjoyed it so much and did a great job.



Amanda and Abbie did such a great job with the girls, and Belle and Dru adore them. If you have a second click here to watch their video on GAC and vote for them. Great job, Guys!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Funny Baby Belle Video

Just found this video today of Belle. Don't know why it was so funny to me, but it was. Thought I'd post it. Apparently we had WAY too much time on our hands. Enjoy.

video

Monday, June 2, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us!


Today, Matt and I have been married for 7 years. Three kids later, we are still crazy about each other... most of the time, anyway. I woke up this morning to find this on the kitchen counter...
I had to get a close up of the note. Only if you've seen Napoleon Dynamite can you truly appreciate it. (He is not nearly as funny as he thinks he is. Although it did make me laugh this morning.)

I love you, Matt! Happy Anniversary.