Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Little Light

At Chuck E. Cheese for Opie's birthday get-away day

I wouldn't blame you if you thought my blog had turned into gloom and doom. 

It's a heavy season of life.

But, seasons pass. 

And just to show you that God throws a little light into the darkness, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite light moments lately:

Opie, being silly.

Austin loves playing the game "Wipe Out" on the Wii. He and Jayden were playing it the other day while I was in another room reading my Bible. I overheard them talking so sweetly to each other. (which is reason to celebrate in our home...) 

Jayden said, " You're the best brother ever." Austin replied, "You a good buddy. Oh my gosh! It went towards me. Your turn!" When they won the game, Austin shouted, "We just won a hunj-chousan-dah'yers!" 


Jayden gave me advice when he saw I was a little overwhelmed. It was advice I'd previously given him. He said, "Mom, don't worry about tomorrow because today has enough trouble of it's own." (Matthew 6:34) 

Glad something good I said is sticking with him, though, right?!?! 


I found out my Mom is wanted for pillow thievery. Hilarious long story that made me laugh 'til I cried.

I love when hilarious stories are God's way of bringing a little light into our dark moments. :)

Peanut, at a Scranton, PA Trailblazers game. Who can be down when you are at a ballgame with Spiderman and Cracker Jacks? 

Lord, in the dark, allow me to see the light moments. Thank you for laughter. For sunshine. For my family. And for being a God who loves to make me smile even in the midst of trials. I love you. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dark Moments

It's been the hardest two months of my life, watching my child go through physical illness with no answers from doctors.

Seeing his fear and worry. Hearing his prayers for healing. Answering his questions, "Why won't God heal me, Mama?"

NOT easy.

There have been low moments. Dark moments.

I wish I could say I've passed this test so far with flying colors, but that wouldn't be truthful.

When catastrophe hits, the real me comes out.

My distrust with God shows. My anger and resentment take over. My worry, fear, anxiety and selfishness become second nature.

But, something has changed in me this time. 

God has plunged into the depths of my heart. To bring to light areas that I have avoided. Areas I've neglected to hand over. Areas too painful to deal with.

He has used these dark moments to show me how only He can bring hope into a hopeless situation. (I have read scripture on God's hope over and over and over the past couple of weeks.) I have cried many tears and begged and pleaded with Him. I have had to be painfully honest with myself. 

You see, He has shown me that I've been too busy... with life. I've been a distracted parent and wife.

I've neglected important things because I've been distracted by unimportant things.

But, funny how when your child is sick, nothing else matters except getting them well. "Things" no longer matter at ALL.

What matters is, God has brought hope to my heart. He has filled me with peace that passes understanding. He has used this trial to transform me, my family and best of all, my relationship with Opie.

I've loved Opie, but I have not loved him well

I won't say I'm thankful my child is sick. No WAY

But, what I will say, is I am thankful for a God who radically pursues my heart and will use even the worst situations to turn my heart towards Him. Because he wants me to live this life in the full knowledge of how much he loves me. He wants me to intimately know Him. 

We will continue to pray for healing and also follow the doctor's recommendations. But, at the end of the day, I will rest in the arms of the One who spoke into existence all things. That brings my heart peace, knowing Opie is in the palm of His hands. 

Lord, grant me the strength to keep going. The faith to stay hopeful. The wisdom to make the right decisions for my precious son. And the ability to look for ways to bless others even in my dark times. Thank you for changing me. For opening my eyes to see that I had become a negative, overworked, stressed out, selfish Momma. Force me to soak in these fleeting moments with my two boys. Help me stop rushing. To play more. Wander more. To let the dust bunnies roam freely. I want to be changed, so that my boys can see You in me. Lord, you are faithful. I will praise You in all things. Thank you for healing my heart and giving me hope.


I WILL be different. I will NOT live with regrets. 
Here's to soaking it in....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Birthday Boy

May 16, 2004. 10:17 am. An angel arrived. 
8 lb. 10 oz. 21"
Goodness personified. 

Today my first born turned nine.

Opie is a gift from God.

He is my obedient, tender-hearted child.

He wishes so badly to please others and to excel at all he does.

He is thoughtful, considerate and kind.

He is a dreamer and I love that about him.

More than anything, he is full of life. His laughter and ability to make others laugh is one of his many gifts.

He is special. I mean, special.

I think I take him for granted sometimes, since he is such an easy-going kid.

He has a bright future ahead of him.

Bright like his hair.

The hair that I still hold the first cut locks of.

This boy has been a joy to raise.

A sheer joy.

Age 3: Greenville, SC. At the park by the zoo. He loved that playground.
Age 3: Visiting cousins in Atlanta, GA.
I wish I could have made time stand still in this moment. He was giggling on the trampoline.
I remember not being able to take my eyes off of him. 
Age 3: The house he was first raised in. He used to climb up inside this chest of drawers/armoire on top of my clothes. I remember thinking at the time, "One day, I'll look back at this when he's too big to fit inside and realize what a precious moment this was." I was right.
Time, why must you hurry so?
Age 3: Greenville, SC. Near Reedy River Falls. A day of perfection. Look at that innocence and joy on his face. Oh, to be a child again. 
Age 4: Birmingham, AL. Our apartment at the Summit. I heard, "Mom! Come look!" And this is what I rounded the corner to. I grabbed my camera and laughed hysterically. What a silly boy!
Age 4. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. He was a ham for the camera. I remember feeling such a sense of fulfillment to see my first born growing into such a good, funny boy.
I was enthralled by this guy. Still am. 
Age 4. Visiting friends at Margeo land. He got to shoot his Daddy's B.B. gun and go four-wheeling and camping in a cabin. He still loves this kind of stuff. ALL boy.
Fifth Birthday at Crossbridge Church. He had a dinosaur decorated party in the gym with a bouncy house. It was the easiest and best party he'd had so far. 
Age 5. Gardendale, AL. Our little Alabama home. And our first snow there. It was fantastic. 
Age 6. Finally got the little brother he'd prayed for.
And what an amazing big brother he has been ever since.
Age 6. New Jersey. Celebrating his favorite holiday at the time: St. Patrick''s Day. However, after finding out that leprechauns weren't real, he was devastated and the holiday has never been the same. 
Turning 8 last year in Jersey. His Miami Heat basketball party. His favorite party of all time. 
Age 8. Christmas 2012. Made this gingerbread house with Mommy. Love those moments with him.
Age 8. NYC March 2013. Visited the Intrepid while Maw-Maw was in town. He loved the planes, but he does NOT love NYC. :)
Age 8. November 2012. Still a ham for the camera. And what a future this kid has....

Celebrating turning nine at Chuck E. Cheese. What a blessed day.

You make my heart full, Opie.

My tears over your growing up are comforted by the fact 
that I know you will grow into a man of God and do great things. 
I love you, son.
Remember to be patient with yourself, as you have your whole life ahead of you to become the man I know you will become. Laugh more. Worry less. And never forget that God created you for a specific purpose. A purpose that you are fulfilling every day. 
I love you more than life. 


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why I HAVE To Work Out

I have always hated working out. 

I would give it two weeks and then usually throw my hands up since I didn't have the results I wanted. I really expected to undo years of laziness with a few days on the Elliptical. 

But, when my weight skyrocketed after hip surgery and my depression started rearing it's ugly head again, I knew I had a choice. I could continue down the path to a low quality of life or I could finally start to live again. 

I can't say life has been peachy since I have started this road to get back in shape. If anything, life has thrown me some major curveballs with Opie's illness and my hope at times has been hanging on by a thread. However, if it wasn't for the gym, I think I would be one giant lump of negativity.

I struggle with negativity anyway. God is really trying to teach me new ways to think. I am just finally seeing that to think clearly, I needed to have as much going in my favor as possible. Life is hard enough, without the constant internal dialogue of how fat you feel and how you wish you could enjoy shopping again and how you wish you could stop eating yourself out of boredom and sadness and etc, etc, etc...

Been there folks. 

And some days, my mind wants to go back there. 

I want to live life to the fullest with these two. 

But, I will NOT go back to that. In all of the trials we have had as a family the past few months, I can not imagine where I'd be emotionally had I not determined to take better care of myself. By finally choosing to work out for the right reasons (to be stronger, to avoid depression, to be an example for my kids, to be able to play with my boys without tiring out, etc) I am no longer worrying about the scale or how fast I can look like Giselle. I do it because I finally feel like Brianne. Like I have overcome a challenge. Like I have strength I wasn't aware of. 

And I feel like my life has only begun. 

Lord, help me continue to take care of this body you have given me. May I never lose sight that You are the hope I have. That You are the giver of my strength. And that even when this body fails me, You will never fail me. Teach me to be wise in my choices and to live my faith in ACTION. 

I am not Supermom, but I am determined to be Super at being a better mom.


Friday, May 3, 2013

ME! ME! Vote for ME!

I rarely have ANY time to promote my blog. But, this week, time has allowed me to put in a few more hours than usual... hence, the multiple posts in one week....

I am trying to get back into it and would really like to generate some traffic flow my way. Heck, maybe even bring in some dough for the familia! (This stay-at-home-mom stuff just doesn't pay well...HA!)

Anywho, I was asked to partner with a special site that helps promote little ol' Mommy Bloggers like me. Do you see the badge in the sidebar to the right side of this post? It says, "Vote for Me - Mommy Hotspot." Well, if you found it, CLICK ON IT!

I get a vote for each click and I could actually win a little something. That doesn't interest me as much as expanding my audience, though. I would love to be able to touch the hearts of women everywhere. It's a dream of mine.

Also, if you haven't already, join the blog as a follower by clicking "Join this site" above the beautiful little pics of my followers. That will help my audience grow. And, honestly ya'll, the sweetest thing you could do for me is share my posts on Facebook or send them to a Mom who needs some encouragement and laughter. I do this for sanity, to keepsake memories, and most importantly, to make other women realize they are not alone.

So, there's my shameless plug. I hope it wasn't tacky. But, hey, if it was, remember I'm from the South! And we are all about some tacky!

Click the above button if you haven't done so yet! 


Miniature People Prayers

I must admit I have a love-hate relationship with putting my kids to bed.  

After the whole bath, toothbrush, "Get-in-here-and-don't-make-me-say-it-again" routine, I kind of lose my nicey-nicey-ness.

There's an internal Mommy-dialogue going on inside my brain. I teeter-totter between cherishing these fleeting, precious moments and trying to maintain my composure and not scream "Be still and hush-up because Mommy is mentally ready to shut off for the day!"

But, even in my frustration, there is one thing that seems to make time stand still and make all my icky feelings go away.

When my kids pray.

After singing our little Bible songs, (and Peanut closes Jesus loves me with "the Bible tells me soap") my boys say their prayers. 

Well, Opie says his prayers. Peanut has not wanted to say prayers for a while

He used to do the "God Our Father" prayer-song at dinner. But once he hit the ripe old age of two, he took a vow of silence in the prayer department.

The past week, however, He has started praying again. And they are the typical sweet prayers that most kids pray. He prays for everything and I mean, everything.

Opie always liked praying, but he was more of a routine prayer. He prayed for the same things every night and never got much into the "Thank you for the sky, trees, butterflies, etc" kind of mantra. But that is his personality. He is still my careful, thoughtful little man.

Opie. 8 years old. March 2013

Peanut, on the other hand, is a loose canon. The opposite of Opie. 

Peanut. Talking to himself. And having a grand time doing so. March 2013

I must say, though, I do enjoy hearing his prayers. He is so perceptive and his prayers change daily, reflecting on moments that made an impression on him. That is amazing to me. He covers his eyes with his chubby little hands, and with a small hushed voice he prays. 

Here are my favorites since he returned to his holy dialogue:

Saturday, after having chicken for dinner and watching my husband filet a live fish Opie caught, this was his prayer:

"Tank you God for chicken, chicken wegs, dat fish, and gettin' to see dat fish's mowf (mouth)."

Wednesday, after playing in the woods at a new friend's house, he prayed this:

"Tank you for my brudder, for pway-doh, sticks, acorns and Kyleigh's house." 

And tonight, his prayer reflected the book on body parts we read before naptime:

"Tank you for dis day, and eyes, and ears, and head, and elbows, and knees, and toes, and body, and wegs, and mowf, and buttcheeks..."

Buttcheeks? That was not in our book. But, hey, ain't it great to be thankful for it all?!?!

One thing's for certain. The days are long with small children. But, moments like prayer at bedtime with my munchkins make it all worthwhile. 

And I am well aware that one day I would pay any amount of money just to have one more night with chubby little hands and a red-head giggling at his baby brother's prayers.

Thank you, God, for my boys. For using them to teach me that laughter is great. To be thankful for it all. To see You throughout the day. And that life is short. Help me to be still and soak. this. IN. 

November 2012

Spring 2012. Central Park. NYC.

Roseline's for a Delicious Farm Breakfast. March 2013.

At the Pet Store. Begging for a bunny since it was Easter. March 2013.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Brain Still Works...Sort Of

I think I had a few more brain cells in this picture before Peanut was born... circa 2009.

I'm not sure if it's just me, but sometimes I wonder if my brain has disintegrated.

I have locked myself out of my car only to realize later that I had my keys all along.

My husband will ask me if I "remember the time..." and I don't remember it in the slightest.

I shave only one leg and never realize it until I am out of the shower and dried off. (Then I have to get all back in the shower, shave the neglected leg and towel-dry off all over again...Ain't Nobody Got Time for Dat!)

But, today I saw signs of life in the old noggin... 

Opie used to have two aquatic frogs when he was little. And, at age four, Opie named all his pets...how you saaaaay...random-on-the-spot-and-off-the-top-of-his-head. 

Opie, at Age Four. 2009
For instance, Frog #1 he named "Best-Friend." 

For two years, though, the cooky name of Frog #2 has eluded me. It's been stuck somewhere in the back of my mind between my mental grocery list and a New Kids on the Block Christmas song.

Yet, I'd like to report that this evening around 6:38 pm Eastern Standard Time, a memory nerve in my brain must have been fighting for it's last breath. While speaking about tadpoles to Opie, all of a sudden Frog #2's identity was shoved to the tip of my tongue in true 'before-I-had-kids-that-drained-every-bit-of-brain-juice-dry' fashion.

"CARE-THICK!!!", I yelled out at Opie. "You're second frog's name was Care-thick!" 


I had actually remembered the most random pet-name ever created.

And, ladies and gentlemen, THAT was the highlight of my day. 

This kid, however,  is a highlight of my life. Look at little he was here at age five!