together is better

two boys. one ball. total chaos

my guys are outside playing basketball.

thing 1 is trying to teach thing 2 how to shoot.

it’s complete chaos.  there is a clear breakdown of communication, and the entire lesson lasts less than 2 minutes.

the basketball lesson morphs into a sing along of,  “toot tooty tooty, that’s what my baby says, toot tooty tooty” —  a nonsensical song full of toot sounds, silly dance moves, and genuine boy giggles.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-- these feet mean b-ball business

the song and dance break lasts another 2 minutes.  this stops long enough for the boys to grab their monster feet slippers — clearly, basketball is better in monster feet.

thing 1 tries to get back to business with a lesson on pivots and dribbling.

i hear thing 1 saying things like, “dribble, dribble, dribble, pivot, jump, and score.”  while thing 2 dances around and asks big brother to try to hit the frisbee he’s holding as a shield in front of his face.  obviously, thing 2 is a pro in the making.

but, then, something sweet happens… they start playing TOGETHER.

i get to watch thing 1 let baby brother “steal” the ball, drive to the basket, and shoot as many times as it takes for him to make 2 points.  then the hubs and i hear thing 2‘s little voice cry out, “I’M THE WINNER!  I GET THE TROPHY!” he’s got huge grin on his face waving his trophy in the air–  which is just the frisbee used a few minutes ago as a shield.  big brother is singing, “go, bear, go!!!”

SOOOOOOOO.great.for.my.heart.

i’m writing this brief, insignificant moment down, so i remember.  when this moment passes, and the boys begin to bicker over who’s fastest, who’s smarter, who can jump farther– i’ll remember on a random, sunday afternoon, the stars aligned, and the boys dropped being competitive and just played TOGETHER.

i hope remembering this moment will get me through the silly fights they’re sure to have, the snippy remarks they’re sure to say, and will keep me focused on the prize i pray for night and day.

i pray for two boys living, sharing, celebrating life TOGETHER.

because at the end of all the boyhood battles- being TOGETHER really is better.

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it’s christmas time, y’all!

holla!  it’s time to deck the halls and celebrate baby Jesus.  ooooooooo OOOOOO!

in honor of tiny, little baby Jesus sleeping in the animal food bowl, i thought i’d create a list dedicated to what He’s taught me this year– homeskillet style.

1.  my ways are not his ways, yo.

i’ve learned i do not naturally love like Christ, think like Christ, act like Christ.  i wish i did, but i don’t.  i mess up so much just because i over think, i don’t listen, or i get scared.  super glad this year i finally accepted my limitations and asked for guidance.  i’m totally still a super big mess.  i will be until the day i die, but i pray when that day comes my nature looks more like tiny baby Jesus.

2.  love means i say i’m sorry, word.

remember the movie with ryan o’neal and ali mcgraw called “love story”??  there’s this classic scene where o’neal’s character has royally screwed up, and ali, with her perfect ’70’s hair, says, “love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

what is THAT all about???  seriously.  that’s alllllllllllllllll love is about.

it’s about putting the other person first, and i can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s NOT  how i roll most of the time.  i can be selfish, pushy, impatient, critical, and downright mean.

what would my marriage look like, how would my boys feel, how many true friendships would i have, if i NEVER said i was sorry for not loving well???

i pray i own my mistakes and tell the ‘skillets  i love “I’M SORRY”— because those are some powerful words.

3.  obedience is scary, fo’ realz.

last night i met with a new ‘skillet, and as we began to share our stories,  we kept coming back to the same thought– we don’t want to miss what God wants to do with us, through us, for us.  we looked at each other all excited and said, “we just don’t want to miss it!”

how do we do that?  i think it’s a moment to moment decision to seek God’s will.  now, that’s a tall order.  just thinking about how many times i haven’t lived that way makes me wonder how many times i’ll fail in the future.  dude.  that thought alone can paralyze me.  obedience, all the time, forever and ever, is a scary proposition.  but, here’s the thing, i don’t have to eat the elephant all at once.  i just have to be willing to seek God, be willing to wait for a clear direction, and then be brave enough to move my feet.  i pray i have a lifetime of  “don’t miss it” moments.

4.  my home is my mission, holla.

this one shakes me down.  my knees get all weak, and i feel light-headed.  my boys and my husband are IT.

i am not equipped, there’s no clear checklist, and if i fail THEY will suffer.

i clearly need help, encouragement–  and, from time to time, a couple of cupcakes to make this reality go down a little easier.

i’m sooooooooooooooooooooo thankful God has given me an army of women to help me battle my own insecurities and fears when it comes to how i be these things called “wife” and “mother”.  God started putting my army together as early as elementary school.  He added forces through high school, college, and through my time in memphis i gained wonderful sisters for life and, now, in the ‘boro i am finding awesome ‘skillets to share my story.

each and every woman makes me better.  each word of advice helps my children and my fella.  each word of love helps me to stop the critical voice inside my head–  and, each cupcake keeps my sugar level just high enough to make it through the day.

5.  God loves me deeply, dude.

i have felt this more and more as this year has passed.  i’m grateful to feel down to my bones that there is nothing i can do to drive God away.

i can not look like Him, and He loves me anyway.  i can take too long to say, “I’M SORRY” and he loves me anyway.  i can be disobedient or just miss His direction completely, and He loves me anyway.  i can feel inadequate and not enough for my boys and my guy, and He loves me anyway.

He loves me so much He sent His only son to die for me. 

seriously.  baby Jesus ROCKS y’all.

freedom, boobah, and another lesson from haiti

bittersweet holiday

well.  another 4th of july without the boobah has come and gone.  this one was bittersweet. bitter because it was the 2nd july 4th celebration without my sister, but sweet because i know next year at this time she’ll be home!!

erin is on her 2nd year of a 2 year sentence for aggravated vehicular assault.  she caused an accident while driving drunk that seriously injured herself and 2 other people.  since she’s been in prison i’ve wondered how much boobah has allowed God to change her, i’ve wondered how much she’s allowed the reality that life is DIFFERENT now, sink into her heart, and i’ve wondered how often she’s sought God’s will for her life, after her sentence is complete.

this is how i’ve  thought about prison, God, and my sister before the Lord sent me to haiti.

now i know how limited and narrow these thoughts have been.

see.  while i was in Haiti i thought about boobah a lot.  she helped fund my trip by sending me a $25 money order from prison.  before i left for the trip, she sent me letters encouraging me to not be afraid.  she also called me the week before haiti, and the first thing she asked was,  “are you so excited about your trip??!”

how do i show enough gratitude for being loved like that?  how do i thank erin, who has no freedom,  for helping and encouraging me to take a chance–  to spread my wings?  i don’t know.

i just know she blows me away with her awesome heart.  so i thank God for giving it to her—  her heart, her unbreakable spirit, her amazing love. 

THANK YOU, GOD.

i’ll let you in on an obvious truth–  she’s the cooler sister.  i’ve known it for a long time.   and, that’s why i miss her sooooooooo much.

so. there i was in haiti thinking about my sister and how amazing she is to give me this chance to serve.  i mean, He used my boobah– in prison—  to get me where i needed to be.

God is amazing, homeskillets.  He truly is.

He used haiti  to help me see my sister, freedom, and His love in a new way.

FREEDOM. bound by Christ.

i now realize freedom is a very subjective thing.  i mean, is a person behind bars trapped or free?  is a person dropped into a new country, a new culture, with no skills  trapped or free?  God taught me in six days it all depends on Him.

see.  in haiti, i was led by the rules of the trip.  i woke up when i was told to wake up.  i ate breakfast when i was told breakfast was served.   i got on the bus and rode to the work site, walked the path to the site, and worked when i was told it was time to work.  i stopped for lunch and ate what was provided.  i packed up and went to the orphanage, when i was told it was time to go.  dinner came like clockwork every day, along with worship time, and time to reflect on the day’s events.  i didn’t get a shower until all of this was done.   i got to live 6 days putting myself last– after God had been fully served with all i could give.

and i’ve never felt freer.  i truly had no regrets for 6 days.  this is HUGE for me.  i have a tendency to over think ERRRTHING— and, i always think there’s room to be better.  so, to not want to change anything about how i spent my time for 6 straight days was a gift from God.

i thought about erin.  i thought how God was so kind to help me understand in some very small way what boobah must be experiencing in prison.  her days are not her own.  she can do nothing without permission.  her life is planned down to the millisecond everyday.  yet,  she has not let that break her sweet heart or her amazing spirit–  because God is at the center of it.  God is making beauty out of her mistake and showing her a freedom she never experienced before.   in prison, she’s finding freedom because she has finally submitted herself to Him.

i got to talk to erin on the 4th of july.  i apologized for my obnoxious worry that has been filled with her “choosing” change.  i told her i wasn’t worried about her future anymore or how she was processing everything that had happened–  because God taught me in haiti that He does all the work.  while on the trip, He used every moment and filled my days with service, obedience, humility, brokenness, and love.  i truly did nothing for myself until His work was finished for the day.

i thank God for using haiti and prison to teach me that in serving time with Him, whether just 6 days or 2 years,  there is freedom.

love dare

i’m ready to move towards Christ a little more.

i’m ready for Him to change my heart and soul.

so this is what i’m gonna do–  i’m gonna give myself a thirty day challenge.

i’m gonna challenge myself to LOVE like Christ.

i’m asking the Lord to help me insert my name, my thoughts, my actions, my choices into this verse for one month.

at the end, i hope for a marked change–  in my heart, my mind, my spirit, my marriage, my home, my boys, my relationships–  that can only come from surrendering to the Lord.

please Lord, teach me your ways...

please pray, homeskillets.  i’ll need it! 

but, i TRULY trust the Lord to make my love dare AMAZING.

the oscars– this girl’s super bowl

watching the super bowl with the hubby makes me wish it was oscar night– my personal super bowl–  ’cause seriously, who needs sweaty guys in pads and cups when you can have spray-tanned stars in spanks and double stick tape??!

so.  with that in mind– i give you an oscar-licious movie list.

titanic — best picture —  i papered my college dorm room in pictures of leo after seeing this movie ten times in the theater.  there was one day nonny and i skipped class to go see it– then stayed to watch the second showing.  total time in theater– 7 hours.

Jack:  Rose! You’re so stupid. Why did you do that, huh? You’re so stupid, Rose. Why did you do that? Why?
Rose:  You jump, I jump, right?
Jack:  Right.
Rose:  Oh God! I couldn’t go. I couldn’t go, Jack.

lord of the ring:  return of the king — best picture —  ahhhhhh… another great midnight movie memory. the lord of the ring trilogy was definitely worth missing sleep for–  i was super pregnant with thing 1 when the two towers hit theaters.  iwent to the midnight showing in my pajamas with slippers on and a pillow and blanket.  i’m hardcore, homeskillets.  hard.core.

Pippin: I didn’t think it would end this way.
Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… And then you see it.
Pippin: What? Gandalf?… See what?
Gandalf: White shores… and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
Pippin: [smiling] Well, that isn’t so bad.
Gandalf: [softly] No… No it isn’t.

gladiator — best picture —  this movie is THE definition of honor and loyalty.  maximus sacrifices his identity, loses his family, and his life– to reveal evil.  oh, to be so brave…

Maximus: What we do in life echoes in eternity

forrest gump — best picture —  i remember the first time i saw forrest sitting at the bus stop–  his feet slightly turned in, holding a box of chocolates.  he grabbed my heart.   i still get teary-eyed when forrest’s son, forrest, introduces himself to the bus driver.  he climbs up on the big bus all by himself– while daddy forrest sits on a tree stump with his feet slightly turned in and waits for his return.

Forrest Gump: You died on a Saturday morning. And I had you placed here under our tree. And I had that house of your father’s bulldozed to the ground. Momma always said dyin’ was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t. Little Forrest, he’s doing just fine. About to start school again soon. I make his breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I make sure he combs his hair and brushes his teeth every day. Teaching him how to play ping-pong. He’s really good. We fish a lot. And every night, we read a book. He’s so smart, Jenny.

sabrina — best screenplay — this is the one with audrey hepburn and humphrey bogart– not the one with harrison ford and julia ormond (which is also great)–  think gorgeous dresses, love against all odds, and a lovely dance number.  total heaven.

Sabrina Fairchild: All night long I’ve had the most terrible impulse to do something.
Linus Larrabee: Never resist an impulse, Sabrina. Especially if it’s terrible.

and the oscar goes to..........

this year i hope the king’s speech sweeps the oscars.  this movie has such heart and such vulnerability.   helena bonham carter may be a wackadoo, but i love her.  she is a shining example of a strong, supportive wife who sees the entire man and loves him fully– insecurity and all.

so.  there it is–a list of super actors, super movies, and not a super bowl in sight!

my night is clearly the winner!

HOLLA, hollywood!

if a homeskillet could travel — where would she go?

i’ve got another homeskillet wishlist on my mind– possibly brought on by cold weather, Christmas break, and total cabin fever.

like a bird....

i want to fly far–  far, far away.  i want to venture outside of my four walls and SEE something new.  EXPERIENCE something new.

and, i want to do this as a family–  take the hubs, thing 1, and thing 2 somewhere new and BE together in a different country.  that’s right, i said “a different country”—  ’cause if i’m gonna dream, i’m dreaming BIG and on another continent.

so.  if a homeskillet had the funds, the time, and the imagination–  where would she go?????

italy.  most definitely italy.  i want to eat my weight in pasta, ride around on the back of a vespa, and maybe buy a villa in tuscany.  (if diane lane can do it– why can’t i??)

ireland. as soon as i got there i would talk with an irish brogue and say things like, “would ye be after going to town then, young ‘skillet?”.  the entire family would wear nothing but cable knit sweaters and eat shepards pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  i’d hunt down bono, and he’d write a song inspired by our meeting–  something happy, with a nice beat.

australia. this place seems like a dream.  everyone walks around using words like “g’day”, “shelia”, and “bloke”–  plus, they have gorgeous beaches, kangaroos, koalas, and hugh jackman.  i would have to find a way to work the phrase, “the dingo ate your baby”, into EVERY conversation and go to all the places highlighted in the facts of life special– remember when natalie, blair, jo, and tootie went down under??!!  classic ’80s television.

austria/switzerland. i want to totally do a sound of music trip and pretend we’re the von trapp family escaping the nazi regime. the boys would each respond to a special whistle call, dress in clothes made from curtains, and sing EVERY song in the movie.  and, since this is a dream– the hubs and i would renew our vows in the cathedral where maria and the captain got married– i’d be wearing her gorgeous wedding dress, jason would be decked out in an awesome suit, and the pews would be filled with all of our friends and family (all expenses paid by us, of course).

oh, the places you would go...

these are just a few of the places i would go.

where would you go, ‘skillet???

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
by the incomparable Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.