Full of Boys

Finding the adventure in the blues, greens and grays of life!

Learning from Friends (part 5 of 5) May 13, 2011

Filed under: Friends,mom — fullofboys @ 8:17 am
Tags: ,

Today is a little different because I am going to talk about 4 women who have been an amazing blessing to me as a mother. These ladies are my closest friends & the girls I know will be in my life 20 years later.

I talked yesterday about Mom Paine & I could not write about women who inspire me as a mother & not include her daughter, Christy. When I met Christy we were 5. We played outside all the time. I never imagined this person to be someone who would walk all of life with me but she has. She was the first person I ever told that I thought I was going to marry Heath & she was there when I said those vows in front of everyone. We have laughed a lot & cried lots of tears too. She has shown me that miles do not make a difference. We live at least a day’s drive away from each other. Yet, we make time to catch up on the phone almost weekly. On those phone calls we have cried together. We have laughed. We have prayed. In those conversations, there are no miles separating us. Through it all, she constantly teaches me the value of friendship! She has taught me that it is important to keep things open & honest & that motherhood is a journey that can be shared no matter the distance.

As a new mom, I was pretty nervous. Then, when I was pregnant for the 2nd time, we moved. As I moved away from my comfort zone & friends I was again nervous. But then I met, Leslie. I think the first time I met her I was sitting on a couch in a mom’s bible study & Joel threw up from a bottle he had just had. I was embarrassed. She remembers it & thought I was so calm the way I handled it. I think she might have been sleep deprived. J Regardless, we became friends. She was there when my mom was diagnosed with cancer a second time. She kept my children without reservation & she has been there for me ever since. She has cooked for me, listened to me & cheered me on when I thought I had to give up. She taught me that sometimes as moms we are given tough loads to carry, but with friends the journey can be made more manageable.

Soon around this same time, I met a woman that could make me laugh out loud…which was quite a feat. The first time I met Carmen she was pushing a stroller with a new baby boy. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment we became friends but it just seems as though she has been in my life ever since then in some fashion. Recently we were in a bible study together & since then I feel like we haven’t drifted apart. What I love about her is her ability to be honest & funny…sometimes at the same time. She has taught me that while at times motherhood can be an exhausting journey it can also hold humor & excitement.

Then, a few years ago, we made a big decision. We decided to go help launch a new church closer to where we lived. I drug my feet the entire time. I did not want to leave the friends I had made at my other church (Leslie & Carmen included!). I was reluctant to open up to anyone & yet, I was dying inside. I knew I needed a friend out here…a true friend that would walk though the craziness of life with boys. I met Rebekah & I quickly dismissed her as a possible friend. She was beautiful (& still is), she was classy & I really felt like I would be out of her league. Yet, she was a mom of all boys & over time we started to connect. The first time I went to her house I knew we would be friends. What I did not know were the secrets & stories we would share, the hours investing in each other & the ability to call her one of my best friends. She listens as I hash out my feelings, understands when I tell her a story about the boys & offers wise counsel when I am overwhelmed with choices. She has taught me that as a mom it is ok to have questions or concerns & that friends can help you navigate the rough terrain called motherhood.

I am a firm believer that friends make me heart happy. I believe God has been wonderful to me to bless me with amazing friends (many who I do not have time or space to list!). However, I am incredibly humbled that he has brought these women into my life & allowed me the opportunity to call them my closest friends. I think the most incredible thing to me is that these women are all able to walk through motherhood with me. Thank you girls for taking time to listen, invest & encourage me. I am a better mom for all you offer to me. Love you all!


Serving Yields Fruit February 25, 2011

Filed under: Church,Family,Friends,Serving — fullofboys @ 8:43 am

A few years ago, I was asked to step into a place of service that felt like it was more than a stretch…it felt like a dive off of the steepest cliff I have ever been on. By this time, I had already led a team of several volunteers and learned how to reorganize that team. I had traveled both internationally and domestically. In all those areas I was passionate about what I was doing. Yet, this time, the serving seemed more of a labor of love for my church and not so much a passion.

I really struggled with the choice. However, I did step in to fill the temporary need. I wasn’t sure how to handle it but I really felt God was asking me to trust Him and serve. So I did and what happened next still blows me away.

I met Ashley. At the time, we would connect briefly as I would walk into the room where she served. I knew I liked her and that she could be a good friend if I would allow God to cultivate the friendship. But trusting someone new as well as taking time to invest in someone new both seemed to be tasks I wasn’t sure I was willing to do. What I didn’t expect was that God would weave her so deeply into my life that she would become more than a friend but family. What started as casual ‘good mornings’ turned into lunches after church. Then it turned into some dinners at our house. Then it became lunches during the week. Now it is set dinners at my house with random lunches weaved with phone calls and text messages. My boys refer to her as ‘Aunt Ashley’ now. It melts my heart to see someone love them like family. And I call her my sister.

What surprises me most about this is that God took my family serving Him and gave us Ashley. I always believe that God rewards our obedience but I also believe just as much that we do not have a clue to know how or when he will bless us. I also believe that there is no formula for Him blessing us. Sometimes I do not see the way God has given us a gift but when it comes to Ashley, I can not miss it.

You see, I did not need another sister. I have an amazing sister who is one of my best friends. She is at times the complete opposite of me but it is what probably balances us and bring us together. She is the person who knows my heart deeper than just about anyone. She has not only seen the good, bad and ugly she has witnessed awkward teenage years, untidy rooms and emotional breakdowns of all sorts. She has been my biggest cheerleader and my honest critic when needed. She also lives states away now. We try to connect by phone but our schedules do not always give us freedom to talk. I miss her often and cherish the times she is in town and I can sit with her and catch up on life.

The gift of having both my real sister and Ashley is that God has given me two beautiful women that are deeply important in my life and each fulfill part of my need and desire for a sister relationship. I had no idea that I would want to have another sister. At first, I felt like I might be displacing my real sister to call Ashley my sister. But instead I realized that God had shaped my heart to encompass them both.

Serving for those few months changed my life. I gained a new perspective into a ministry that I had once always turned away from because I felt inadequate. I learned that when I follow God and trusted Him, He could strengthen me and give me His creativity. I also learned that sometimes, serving yields fruit….like a sister!


Still Directing me February 23, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Friends — fullofboys @ 3:41 pm

Yesterday I made a pretty routine phone call to my friend. We talk about once a week, sometimes more. I’ve known her since I was 5 years old. We used to live 2 houses apart, we know live more that 2 states apart.

But a phone call connects us and sometimes it feels as if we were sitting over coffee catching up on day to day life. I have cried with her, I have even sat in silence on the phone with her. We laugh and talk and for a few minutes each week, no miles can separate us.

Yesterday, I was sharing how I was feeling a little intimidated. I am beginning to look for a job outside being a mommy. My youngest starts school this fall and I have been planning to work once he was in school. For the first time in a long time I feel insecure. It isn’t that I do not feel I have talents or gifts. I feel very competent in many areas and I feel I know exactly ehat my strengths and weaknesses are. Nope, it has to do with the lack of one thing: a degree.

I should stop right there and tell you I have no desire to go back to school….at all. My mentor, Tom, would tell me all the time that I could go back but I do not desire to do so.

But, the lack of a degree sometimes makes me question if I can be asset in the workplace anymore. I am surely not who I was 10 years ago. When faced with the decision to continue on to college (after only 4 credit hours) or work, I chose the office over the classroom. I loved my job and I moved up in the company. I learned a lot of hands on training that could never have been taught with a blackboard. But I never got the degree.

And yet, 10 years ago, I was confident I was making the right choice. I felt sure that God was directing me. Little did I know that I would soon be married and a mom…but HE DID! So when Christy said this sentence, I felt like a bomb went off in front of me:

” God didn’t lead you to make that decision 10 years ago only to abandon you now”

In her quiet, encouraging way, I felt God say ‘Hello! Don’t you know I am with you?!? I am not abandoning you. I am not leaving to tread water. I am still directing your steps if you let me.’

It was truth I already knew in my head and heart but that had been drowned out by fears.

A simple sentence that spokes paragraphs to my heart. I felt so peaceful as I realized that God would indeed take me where He could use me and would indeed direct my steps. And I felt so thankful for a friend who was willing to be a wonderful mouthpiece for what God needed me to hear.


Has time changed me? March 10, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Friends,Me — fullofboys @ 6:24 am

Music moves me. It motivates me. It changes me. My life would not be best summarized by a script of words but a symphony of notes. I go through phases where I go back in time with music. Sometimes I simply take a step back to a few years before. Other times I find myself being reminded of what it was like a decade ago. Recently, the decade ago trip has been constant. And just to show I am not ‘that’ old I should give you a heads up that about a decade ago I was soon to graduate high school. The songs that have played the last couple weeks have varied but all have brought back the emotions of my fears. They also brought to mind some stark contrasts of my life back then and where I am now. I soon realized how much I had changed and (sadly) how little I had changed.

As a senior here was my list (or a portion) that I would think about:
* Would I have enough money to buy that cute shirt at the store and still do coffee with Lea or Liv
* Would I ever really truly be loved.
* After two boyfriends that ended harshly and crossed too many lines…would I be alone for the rest of my life? Was I damaged goods for someone else?
* Would my friends still be there for me when I made the choice to go a different direction than them?
* How long could I keep a charade of my relationship with Christ?
* How long could I survive a schedule that kept me at home only for a few hours of sleep each night?
* Would I survive the loneliness that would creep into my heart when I stopped?

As I typed that list I simply laughed. How things have changed. I learned that I was lovable…by a man that was far better for and to me than I could have imagined. A handful of friends stayed, many left. It was painful to lose people that felt like flesh and blood to me. I seriously doubted I would ever trust any friend again. My relationship with Christ was never really hidden…I think my friends knew. Yet the months that followed became the most defining in my faith as I became sure of who I was in Christ. My schedule was killing me…and I knew it. Working, teaching dance, taking dance classes, leading youth home studies, church and friends were adding up. Even with the best of intentions I was functioning in my own strengths. I had missed the idea of operating in my strengths through Christ and I was paying the price. Laying down some of my commitments felt like a part of my was being torn open. I soon had downtime…which meant I had to process things. It was in those down times that God really worked in me.

I would like to tell you that I worry about nothing and that fear never really creeps in my life. And for the most part I have to tell you it is true. Fear and concerns do not rule my life…for which I am grateful. In pride I simply thought that it must mean I just have it all together. Instead, I think it is because I have simply become numb (or done with it!) to feeling. If you don’t feel, there is no room for hurt. There is no room for betrayal. There is no room for brokenness. And yet, I find that in the moments that I am willing to go out and try to feel something is when I feel the most amazed. Sometimes it means that I am hurt but sometimes it means I have found something (or someone) that I can not imagine being out of my life.

Are you different from year ago? How?


Thankful for the girls! May 15, 2008

Filed under: Friends,Me — fullofboys @ 1:29 pm

I am totally blessed to have great friends. It is interesting that stepping out of my comfort zone to start the Dickson campus would cause wonderful friendships to bloom. I have been praying for years….yes years for some great girl friends to walk with me in life. I have had a couple but I longed to find community within church. While I hate to say it, it was lacking at the Nashville campus. Most of it stemmed from living so far from that campus, it just made it hard to connect. A lot of that changed when I moved to the Dickson campus. All of the sudden there were certain women (ahem…Rebekah, Melissa & Rhonda) that I found allowing me into their lives. At first, I simply pushed back. I did not think I was ready to trust…but over a few weeks, I found that these women were exactly the women I had been praying for over the last few years. Add to them, some fabulous friends I already had out here and I have found a true sense of community in friendships.

(L to R: Lori, Robin, Rhonda, Rebekah, me, Jen and Brandi…Carrie is taking the pic!)

If my birthday was not already one of the best ones before, it quickly has become the best one this year. Last Friday night I had the opportunity to celebrate my birthday at the Cheesecake Factory. I was surrounded by old and new friends that night. I keep saying this was the best birthday not because of gifts but because of friendships. I am so thankful for my friends that take time to think of me. Just in case any of your girls are reading this, you are all the best! Life is so much fun with you all in it!

What are you thankful for this week?


Keeping the details straight March 18, 2008

Filed under: children,Family,Friends,kids,Me,random — fullofboys @ 3:04 pm

I realize it has been sometime since I last posted. I was not intending to take a break from blogging…but it happened anyway. The boys are on a balanced school calendar here. There are many opinions on this type of school schedule but I love it. It means we have two weeks off in the fall and summer! Last week was the first week off! Honestly, I was a little skeptical of this break. I wondered if my sanity would stay intact the entire time. Not only has it stayed intact (even taking the boys places like Kroger and Toys R Us) but we have had a great time!

Last week we went to the zoo with my friend Brandi and her boys Toby and Cy. It was totaly last minute (we planned it at 8pm the night before) but we have a blast. Taking 5 boys to the zoo seemed a little overwhelming at first but I am so glad we did it. The boys all get along well and they really do balance each other. And the best part….I totally trust her with my kids. There is something wonderful about that knowledge.

My mom was able to come out on Thursday while Heath and I had somewhere to be. The kids got to spend some time with Gigi…which all of them love. It is a blessing to have her close by to come out on day like that.

Heath took off Friday and we went and spent the day with my grandparents. We love them dearly. They are in their 80’s but I am telling you they seem more like 60 at times.  We left our house at 9am and did not return until after 5!

The boys (all three of them) camped out on our land Thursday and Friday night! I am told Silas did extremely well for his first camp out. They plan to do it again this Friday night with Ben (Brandi’s husband), Toby and Cy! And what will we do while they are camping? A night out of course! We are getting together with some women from Crosspoint Dickson for a girl’s night. I am really looking forward to getting to know some of these women better!

Isaiah and Joel had baseball practice last night. This is the first year they are playing. It was Isaiah’s first practice. I appreciated the coach who took time to show Isaiah how to hold and swing that bat! Joel’s coach is great and keeps Joel’s attention…which is difficult! Both seem to be enjoying it so far…now for the games!

This week still holds play dates, lunches with Heath, work days with Daddy, 2 birthday parties, Easter Sunday church, egg hunts and lunches with family. It should be much fun! I might not write too much this week but I will be back next week with tons of stories I am sure!


They might take over the garbage cans February 11, 2008

Filed under: Friends — fullofboys @ 12:49 pm
They are mating and multiplying around here. I am telling you, just when I think I found the last one and put it in the garbage, another one appears! What is it? None other than this:
OK – the pizza is not in them anymore but I kid you not we had about a dozen pizza boxes in our house this weekend.  Thankfully, I like pizza. Heath likes it even better!
No – we were not on a pizza binge. We were on a friends binge though.
This last weekend was wonderfully busy. On Friday night we had our pastor and his wife over for dinner. We had decided to order pizza for dinner. Which worked great since I had to make a last minute run to the doctor with Joel before they came over. We love Chad and Rhonda. I think there is something so cool about getting to know your leaders in church as normal people. I did not realize what good friends they would become when I met them a few months back. Now Heath and I really couldn’t imagine having them in our lives.
Then Saturday night we had our small group over for a game night. We just finished our study and we thought it would be fun to have a pizza and game night before we dove into the next one.  We all say around our kitchen table and talked and laughed. I didn’t even notice it was the second night of pizza. I was having too much fun. And that was before the games. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes at one point during a game.  I keep thinking how nervous I was to start leading a new community group a few months back. I wondered if I would make any lasting friendships with the people in the group. Today I am so grateful for those people. I have learned a lot from them and now I have laughed a lot with them. I can’t wait to see what the next group brings.
Sunday we took some time off….except from eating pizza. Heath’s friend from work came over for a little and helped finished off some of it. All the pizza is gone now, I sent it with Heath to work this morning…and all the pizza boxes are in the trash! But I wouldn’t trade this last weekend at all. Friends and Pizza is a great way to spend a weekend for me!