Saturday, July 31, 2010

That's Who I Am....

I know who I am......
Biologically, I'm Leah, daughter of Jack and Ninkey, wife to Michael, mother to Kade, sister to Callie.
I'm a praise and worship leader and a piano teacher.
I'm also a Christian, a gardener, a breastfeeding advocate, a cook, a writer, and a deep thinker.
These things are mostly set in stone.

There are so many things I aspire to be:
A stylish dresser, good at making friends, more patient, a published writer, creative and crafty, a "cloth" user, a violinist, an athlete, an articulate speaker, and a traveler (to name a few).

Sometimes, I make myself sick wishing I was more like this or less like that. More like this person.
I have so many friends who can knit awesome longies or pick out the perfect outfit. Sometimes, I am green with envy. Sometimes, I even sit up way too late and blog about it, just to get my feelings out in the open.

Several of the things on my list of aspirations, I can probably work on.

For example, I just received my granny's sewing machine and am determined to learn how to sew. (Check crafty off the list)
For my first project, I plan to make some cloth wipes. (Check cloth, even though I would like to do diapers at some point as well)

I will probably never be a stylish dresser, though, unless someone picks out all my clothes for me.

In the scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. Even if I wasn't Kade's mommy or Michael's wife, even if I had no musical talent, no matter what I aspire to or fail at, here's who I am to the one who really matters:

"But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

I am God's child.

"And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend." James 2:23

I am God's friend.

"Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:31

I am of value to Him.

All of my lofty aspirations are nice, but not necessary.
The important thing is--I know, not just who I am, but whose I am.

I know I am loved by the King, and it makes my heart wanna sing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's the Little Things

I told Michael one day last week that God is always doing silly little things for me.

He said, "Like what?"

I said, "Well.....In June, we got back the deposit from the town water department and our electricity, so we didn't have to pay them. Then, I was whining around to myself about how none of my pants fit because I've lost so much weight and the very next evening, my sister gave me some pants of hers that don't fit anymore, but fit me perfectly. Just little things that you would think wouldn't matter."

He kind of laughed and said it was neat, blah, blah, blah.

Then, one day this week, he got a letter from the insurance company that he has his motorcycle insurance through. For some reason, we will now be paying $50 less/quarter for insurance.

Michael said, "Remember how you were talking about God doing silly things for you...."

Really, though, no matter how much I whine around, God always does the neatest little things for me. I was thinking about all the drinks I will have to buy for Kade's party and found a coupon that day in the mail that was good for six 2 Liters for $1/each. I've been praying that the rebate for my phone would finally get here (it's been two months) so that I could use it this month, and in the mail it came. Mom prayed with me yesterday that a guy we've been trying to get information from about an engine would call and 5 minutes after we got off the phone, he called.

Nobody's dropping a big check in my lap or bringing me a record deal to sign, but I think all these little blessings are more satisfying than one big blessing.

Thanks, God, for listening to me and meeting my needs--even when I'm a big selfish whiner.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Not Me! Monday"

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

The last few weeks have been very busy and not a little stressful, so I'm ready for some fun! That is, fun that doesn't include canning or getting my house reorganized.

Speaking of my garden, I definitely did not overplant cucumbers. I mean, 26 jars of pickles are not enough for 6 months, much less a whole year. I'm so glad that there are 20 cucumbers waiting in the refrigerator and more to be picked in the garden. I love cucumbers so much at this point, and would never leave them to rot in the garden just because I'm starting to have nightmares about pickling.

I'm also a meticulous housekeeper. My mother did not feel the need to scrub my sink and wash my dishes when she was canning beans at my house this weekend. However, if she had done these things, I would have greatly appreciated it!

Besides being an awesome gardener, I'm also a very, very careful mother. My son would never be able to bust his lip around me, and he most certainly would never fall off of the bed. If he did have either of said accidents, I am sure that I would not become extremely protective and stay with him during every naptime, just for safety's sake. Nope! Not me!

I would also never let my 11 and a half month old son do this, just for the sake of pictures.

I have to spend most of my time at other people's houses saying, "No, he can't have that. I don't let him eat that", so he would definitely not let him do something like this:

If I did let him have said forbidden food, I would not take it away from after two bites, because that would result in......

I did not do that!

Have a wonderful, blessed Monday everyone!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday....

It may be a cheesy title, but it's nice alliteration, so I'll take it.

All too often, especially in the last couple weeks, I've let myself get mired down, depressed, stressed out, and worried, when I have so many things to be thankful for.

Lists always make me feel better, so here's my list of things to be thankful for:
1) We're able to pay all of our bills, every month, on time, in full, without fail.
2) God has blessed us so that I can stay home, take care of our son, and watch him grow.
3) I have 9 wonderful piano students who stretch my brain, make me laugh, and amaze me.
4) I have a husband and son who love me and whom I love to the moon and back.
5) I have a garden that produces abundantly more than it should considering my skills as a gardener.
6) I have friends--friends at church, long distance friends, and the best Friend of all.
7) My family is out of this world!
8) There is food in my refrigerator and cupboards.
9) God has given me gifts that I enjoy using for Him.
10) I have unlimited texting (shallow, but I'm thankful for it)
11) I live in a country that, though it needs serious help, still allows me more freedom than most.
12) The sky is a gorgeous color blue today and the locusts are chirping like crazy, which always tells you it's a nice, warm day outside.
13) There is a car outside with gas in it, ready to take me anywhere I need to go.
14) I have an insurance card in my purse, so that we can go to the doctor if anyone gets sick or hurt.
15) Today is my father-in-law's birthday and I could not have asked for a better father-in-law.
16) Kade is taking a nap, which gives me some time to relax and renew for the afternoon.
17) I live in a house that truly means "home" to me.
18) My internet browser has tabs, so I can keep multiple pages open at the same time (it's the little things).
19) I have a dishwasher full of dishes that I didn't have to wash by hand.
20) I woke up this morning to a brand new day!

Every morning when I wake Kade up and lay him on his changing table, I say, "This is the day that the Lord has made! We will rejoice and be glad in it!"

I need to remember to rejoice and to be thankful--everyday!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Forever and Always

Tonight, we went to the beautiful wedding of two dear friends. They've been together almost as long as Michael and I were before we got married. It was such an honor to see them promise their lives to each other and I pray they love each other more everyday.

Going to weddings always makes me think of my own wedding. I remember the moment I started to walk down the aisle with my dad. I had been fairly calm all day--until the moment I looked up and saw Michael standing there, waiting for me. I was suddenly overwhelmed with joy that the day had finally come, that I was finally getting ready to marry the love of my life. Sometimes, I still wake up and see him lying next to me and my heart jumps! It's an incredible thing to spend my life with the person God made for me.

It hurts my heart to see people "drift apart" and "fall out of love". I'll bet you that almost every wedding day looks the same. A couple who is deliriously happy and in love promises to spend the rest of their lives together. With many of those couples, somewhere along the way, things start to go very wrong. Sometimes, there are legitimate problems in marriages, like abuse and unfaithfulness. More often, people simply stop trying. They let everything else in the world get in the way. Marriage is work. Love isn't just a feeling. Sometimes love is an effort--like making yourself get out of bed to go jogging even though you're tired or studying for a test and trying your best even though you'd rather just give up.

Cara and Andrew, I pray you share many happy years together! Don't sweat the small stuff, don't go to bed angry, and remember:

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
--1 Corinthians 13:4-11

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Small town livin'

Someone mentioned to me today that they were envious that I had lived my whole life in the same place.

The majority of the time, I think that, too.

Most kids (myself included) spend their whole young lives looking forward to venturing out into the world. For me, when it came down to leaving, I realized how good I really had it.
I was blessed to find my true love early, blessed to have a good family whom I enjoy being around, blessed to choose a profession that allowed me to stay close. My son gets to see his grandparents almost everyday and I hardly ever see a strange face.

We live in a very small town (around 5,000 people), so we also get to enjoy all the benefits and annoyances of small town living. I have a very minimal fear of kidnappers and burglars (even though I'm aware that anything's possible anywhere). There's not a rush hour (or not what most people would consider rush hour). On the 4th of July, we have a huge get together at the park and I would bet you that 90% of the town is there. Sometimes, in the summertime, at dusk, my neighbor plays his mandolin/banjo/accordian. In the fall, Friday night is the biggest night of the week as the local football teams face off.

We have a cool mountain heritage. Some country music legends, several famous authors, a couple of NFL players, Daniel Boone, that sort of thing. Some people call us hillbilly-ish or redneck-ish, and sometimes, we are. You can get an excused absence from school on the opening day of hunting season. Anything that interrupts our everyday, mundane lives is cause for a big to-do. We live in the South, so there's sweet tea, chicken and dumplin's, fried okra, fudge, and gravy and biscuits.

Plus, ya know, there are the awesome views.

Disadvantages, you say?

I'm in too good of a mood today to bother.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

She's still my Granny....

Not everyone has a Granny, and for that, we've all been blessed.

We will miss you, Granny. Oh, we will miss you

But I see you in my Daddy.

And in Grandad's love for you.

And I even see you in Alyssa's wildness.

I see you in Mandy's kindness.

I see you every single time I look at my son.

And the rest of our beautiful, loving, almost numberless, crazy, hilarious family.

So, you see, really, you found a way to stay with us always.

And there you will stay forever,
Until we see you again.

Because you're still my Granny.

P.S. Save a place for me.

"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mamaw B

So, I've told you a little bit about my Granny lately, but I haven't told you about Mamaw B.

"Ah, they're both grandmothers," you say, "How interesting could that be?"

Ah ha! You obviously never met Mamaw B.

And if you have met her, you know what I'm talking about.

This picture is several years old (ok, probably 12 years old), but you get the idea.

Mamaw B is my mother's mother.

There are so many things to say about mamaw that it's hard to know where to start.

First of all, she was in L-O-V-E with Jesus. She was also fascinated with angels. She had a huge glass curio full of angel figurines. She had two different guardian angels (I forget their names right now) and every time we would leave the house, she would say, "Ok, angel #1 (I forget his name), you stay and watch the house and angel #2 will go with us!"

She only went to school until the 6th grade, but she was a very gifted writer and poet and she loved to read. She belonged to just about every book club there is and I am the honored recipient of many of her books. We had much of the same taste in literature (except for the Harlequin romance novels).

Mamaw's favorite place to eat was Kentucky Fried Chicken and she loved to take us there. When I was little, we always got Chicken Littles, but as I grew up and developed a more sophisticated taste, we switched to chicken tenders and potato wedges. My sister always took full advantage of mamaw's love for KFC and mamaw had absolutely no problem with that.

One of Callie's favorite memories of mamaw is the time we were staying at her house and mamaw decided we should have a dance contest. She had the radio blasting on the local country music station and she said that she would give a nickel to whoever could dance the longest. Well, I'm not much of a dancer and didn't have much stamina either, so Callie won the nickel!

Everybody was mamaw's friend, even if she'd never met you in her life. I would give anything to have her outgoing-ness (yes, I made that word up). If you met her once, you remembered her forever. She would always get Jesus into the conversation somewhere. She wanted everyone to know about Him. She didn't care if it made you uncomfortable or even mad. We could all probably take a lesson from that.

Mamaw passed away a few months after Michael and I got married. She was in the hospital for several days beforehand, and I had left to go home for the night when my dad called and said I should probably come back. It was a stormy night and right as I got to the door of her room, the thunder clapped, the lightning flashed, and she was gone at the exact moment. It was fitting that her exit to heaven would be to go out with a bang!

As blessed as I am to have a granny, I was equally blessed to have a mamaw. She loved all of us so much and always added such joy to our lives!

Monday, July 5, 2010


With the busy lives most of us live these days it's easy to get our priorities mixed up. Sometimes we get too caught up in things that don't really matter and sometimes, we let things that should be at the top of our list slide to the bottom.

This is my ideal list of priorities:
4)Extended family
6)Everyone else

Often God falls far too low on my list, sometimes I put my child before my husband, and sometimes I put myself before anyone else. I'm not perfect. The above list is simply the order in which I believe my priorities should be and what I strive to.

God must be first. There is a marked difference in every area of my life (especially my marriage) when He is not. This usually ends in some sort of crisis where I am on the floor, crying out to God to come rescue me (not from any danger, just from the frustrations and storms of life). Of course, that still small voice always says, "Hello, I was here all the time." When I spend time with Him daily, I am more at peace, my marriage runs more smoothly, and I'm a better mother.

I asked for some input from other people and most everyone put God at the top of their list. There was some discrepancy, however, when it came to items 2 and 3. Some people listed their husband as #2 and some people listed their child as #2. Several people seemed confused as to why I would put my husband above my son on the list, so I thought I would clarify.

I don't put my husband's basic needs above Kade's. I'm not trying to say that I wait on Michael hand and foot while Kade is starving in the background. I'm not trying to imply that I would save my husband from a burning building before I would save my son.

I do, however, put my marriage above my relationship with my son.

Kade is a helpless baby and really needs me to do most things for him because he cannot do them for himself. Just because Michael can take care of himself doesn't mean I can leave him out in the cold, though. Even when I'm busy with the baby, I try to make a special effort to cook something I know he likes or to write him little love notes or buy him something I know he needs. I married Michael because I love him, not to get a donation so that I could have a son. It's not all over because I got the child that I wanted. It makes me sad when I see people pushing aside their spouses (and often getting divorced) because they now love their child/ren so much more than their spouse. I love my husband and my son in two very different ways, but I definitely don't love Michael any less than I love Kade. Kade is my "best buddy", but Michael is my "best friend". He isn't just some toss-in-the-corner-used-and-once-loved-stuffed-animal. Without him, our family would be broken. He is an integral part. When Kade leaves home, guess who I'm going to be stuck alone with? If I don't make my husband a priority, we won't even know each other in our later years.

Even if a person doesn't have children, doesn't it make sense to put your husband, your partner, before your pets, school, job, etc?

Of course, this is all just my opinion.

My extended family (parents, in-laws, grandparents) are also on my list of priorities. I love them and would do anything they needed, as long as Michael and Kade are taken care of first. I'm living a good example of this right now. My grandmother is very sick and I would love to be there all the time, but sometimes I have to stay home and take care of Kade. I get frustrated that I can't stay with her like everyone else and my mom has to reminds me: "You have a family to take care of now," so I go whenever I can.

I put myself next on the list because if I don't put "me" on my list of priorities, I will not be a happy healthy wife, mommy, daughter, or friend. I have to take care of my body, my spirit, and my mind in order to do everything else well. Sometimes this means doing something that "seems" selfish like getting my hair done (don't say one word, Michael! I will do this soon!), buying a new outfit, or leaving Kade with his grandparents for a few hours while I rest.

I put everyone else last, because, even though I want to put God and my family first, I don't want to forget to take care of others. I definitely don't do this enough. It could be taking a meal to a new mama, volunteering at a food bank, donating blood---any number of things.

Like I said, my priorities are a constant work in progress. I don't always succeed at keeping them in order and sometimes it's an epic fail (As my sister would say. She will love me for including this.) If we don't have some semblance of order, though, our lives will fall apart and the pieces will probably be pretty difficult to put back together.

Friday, July 2, 2010

This is your day....

On this day, 27 years ago, at 6:23 am, a very special baby was born.
I can't tell you a whole lot about him before I met him.
I do know that he had two parents who loved him (and still do!) and two older sisters and a cousin who spoiled him rotten (and still do!).

He is the best man I know (right up there with my Daddy!).
He's hardworking, patient, caring, godly, and faithful. He fits the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13 to a tee. He balances me perfectly. He is my best friend, my partner, and the love of my life. He is truly my soul mate. He is the best father I could ever have imagined for our son. He deserves everything in the world. I will never be able to thank him enough for everything he does for our family.

A few years ago, before we got married, my mom asked me to make a list of reasons why you are "the one". I came up with 100. Here's a few of them (yes, I dug around in your box of notes to find them):
1. You love God
7. You're funny; you always make me laugh.
22. You always encourage me in everything I want to do.
31. My heart always skips a beat when you look at me or say "I love you"
40. You watch girly movies with me and cry (I think it's cute!)
48. You let me have my way, even if I shouldn't60. You make sure I have everything I want and need
66. You never take our your frustrations on me
69. I fit in your arms
77. I miss you as soon as you walk out the door
80. I want to have children with you
98. You love me unconditionally, no matter what

So, Happy Birthday Michael Bowman! You're the best husband and daddy ever! Kade and I love you so much!