As a parent, I am teaching my children that "delayed obedience is the same as disobedience." I must repeat that phrase multiple times per day. I want them to obey not only me, but God, immediately. No making excuses or procrastinating.
This morning I read Psalm119:60. It says, "I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands."
And then it hit me. I preach immediate obedience to my children, but I do not obey God immediately when He speaks to me. I cannot count the number of times I have been moved to speak a kind or encouraging word to someone, but think "Oh, I'll wait until the kids are outside to call them." I've been moved at the grocery store to buy a gift card for a new family that is struggling, but then I think "I'd better hold on to that extra money....no telling what may come up this week. I'll get one next week."
I can look back on the past 2 years of seminary and can give example after example of God's faithfulness to us. He has provided in ways that are extraordinary. And I credit the people that God chose to use for obeying Him...immediately.
What would have happened when our pantry was practically bare and we still had a week to go before payday if someone who was moved by the Holy Spirit didn't stop by with a box of groceries...."your family just came to mind and we had all this extra..." or what about the time we were leaving church and Tucker had a handful of bills in his hands...."some man told me to give this to my mom and dad..." or the card in the mail with a check...."we hope this will help...we just felt moved to send something...." and it isn't just monetary gifts. A friendly word, and encouraging smile, a phone call just to say "I'm praying for you"....all these things are direct manifestations of people who obey that still, small voice they hear.
I'm challenged to start listening....really listening...to that voice. The voice of God. And to obey.

the obligatory birthday pancake pic...

....since going wheat and gluten free, we've had lots of adjustments to make when it comes to our diets. I didn't get the hang of wf/gf pancakes until this week, so I went ahead and made Tucker his "7" pancake today:

My Itty-Bitty Baby...

Today Tucker is 7. He laughed this morning when I told him that 7 years ago today I was crying "I wanna have this baby today!" And I did. I'd been hospitalized for pre-eclampsia and was totally, 100% miserable. My poor husband had to listen to me cry, my feet swollen like balloons, while we were stuck in a very small hospital room in Elizabeth City, NC. My doctors (a group of 4) were rotating and the doc that had admitted me was rotating off at 4pm. One of our favorite docs in the group was coming on. We called him the Surfer Boy due to his bleach blonde hair, deep tan, and well, gorgeous-ness. He became my hero that day when he came in and announced, "Let's just get you delivered." Words that were literally music to my ears.
Tucker had been breech a week earlier. We had been scheduled for a c-section but after all the consents were signed, my IV was in, and even a catheter placed, it was discovered that he had flipped to vertex again. So we took the 65 mile trip home in silence, depressed and tired and just ready to meet our baby.
So here we were, our vertex baby and my high BP about to get induced to get this show on the road. The nurse in L&D couldn't find the fetal heart beat down low when she went to place the fetal monitor. "Is he breech?" she asked. "No, he flipped last week." "Well, I'm thinking he's breech now." In comes Dr. Surfer Man and a quick ultrasound revealed that indeed our son had taken another trip upside down (or right side up) in utero.
Another IV, another round of consents, another catheter, and into the OR I went.
I remember when he came out Dr. H said, "It's a boy. A really BIG boy!"
He was 8 lobs, 15.7 ounces. (16 ounces being a pound, so basically a safety pin away from 9#). He was a trooper from the beginning. Beautiful, calm, nursed like a champ....just a dream. I was in love from the first time I saw him.
I cannot look at him today and even believe that he is 7. He is tall, thin, handsome beyond all belief, the smartest person I know (besides his dad), and so funny. He's sensitive and kind and most importantly, he loves God.
Happy Birthday, Tucker!!
This was written by my husband on Griffin's birthday last week...

Griffin is 5 today.
Birthdays are a big deal, especially for kids like Griffin. Both of my sons have planned their birthdays through the 2016 election, complete with themes, types of cake, venue, etc. I suspect that soon, we will have to book celebrity appearances. While I would go for Mike Huckabee or the gang from College Gameday, the kids are more the Power Rangers types.
But for now, we will keep it simple. Tonight, there will be hamburgers and cake. In Griffin's wonderful mind, he figured that he wanted something for his birthday dinner that involved catsup and mustard, so let it be. And there will be presents, wrapped in Spiderman paper.
For the 5 year old, that's as good as any grown-up feast at Commander's Palace, maybe even better.
After all, it's Griffin's special day.
Thinking back across five years, I have sweet, precious memories of my youngest son.One of my favorite was coming home late after a late night at the newspaper, and seeing Jenny in the rocker holding Griffie, who was sleeping in a psychedelic tie-dyed T-shirt and a diaper. A Grateful Dead concert from 1970 was on television.It was a sweet image of a rock n' roll Mother and Child. That, too, was a special day.
Griffie was a tough pregnancy for Jen, and he spent the first days of his life in a little light bed, sort of a tanning booth to remedy some sort of deficiency. He was a gift from God, to be sure.
He doesn't know it, because I do a lousy job of telling him so, but every day with Griffie is a special day, a precious gift richer than can be imagined. There is never a day that he doesn't make me laugh, and rarely a day he doesn't ask me a question that makes me really think. And every night, I help get him off to sleep. Almost every day, he tells me "You are my Chi-Chi," or I tell him that he is mine. Though he has never defined exactly what a Chi-Chi is, he has told us that it's good.
He doesn't know that every time I watch him sprint on the seminary playground, after a ball or light sabre, it makes me cry, just as it does whenever I see my children running without acoutrements. (Those who know me will understand. And it makes me cry with joy every time he springs some child theology on us --as only he can, about the goodness of God. It's a goodness I've seen since Griffie, my Chi-Chi, came into the world.
Somewhere, Chi-Chi Rodriguez, the great PGA golfer, is smiling.
But for nearly 2,000 days, Griffin has given me a gift, by being my son. He has it rough sometimes, being the middle kid between his brilliant brother and beautiful sister. But God has made only one Griffin, who's smart and funny and athletic; a kid who loves Auburn football and Boston baseball and Big Papi. He fights "bad guys" daily, but is a gentle spirit who loves "Kipper" and "Little Bear." He likes to hear "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "Jesus Loves Me."

And he loves his family. And oh, how his family loves him.
I do not know what the future holds for Griffie, but my prayer is that God will bless him. And I pray that I will be a Dad worthy of such a precious little boy, especially on this, his special day.
After all, he is my Chi-Chi.
Cheeseburgers with mustard and catsup all around.
It's Griffin's special day.

Happy Birthday Griffin!

Five years ago, my life changed forever. I became the mother of not one, but two beautiful, strong, healthy boys. My sweet Griffin, though slightly bruised and battered from delivery, was the most beautiful and welcome sight that Friday in September. With dark hair and green eyes, all 8 pounds, 12 ounces of him was nothing shy of perfection. Within an hour of his birth, he was where he would remain for over 2 years....at my breast, right where he belonged.
And here we are now, five years later. He is the funniest boy I know, with an infectious laugh that will make your sides hurt. He is smart and witty and imaginative. He loves his brother and his sister and prays for them by name every day. He is polite and considerate and has a heart the size of Texas. I love this boy so much it actually hurts sometimes.
Yesterday morning when I woke up it was with a few tears that I made his birthday pancakes (a tradition in our house). It is bittersweet, this growing up business. I wish they would stay little for just a wee bit longer...

Our "Evacuation Vacation"

Which is how we prefer to refer to our 8 day absence from our home. We spent a few nights in a hotel and then invaded my poor cousin's home for a week (bless their hearts they were incredibly hospitable despite not having enough room and having to deal with 3 children's activity for days & nights on end!)
The kids were thrilled to finally meet (and hold!) Chloe and Alexis, their newest cousins!

Then we were blessed with some tickets to an Auburn game, so we headed to Alabama for a few days of game-day fun!
We are now safe and tucked away in New Orleans, thrilled that we have power and very little damage, though you can see how bad the storm was by the downed trees & shutters and the fact that nearly everything outside that was somewhat loose is now gone (campus police had done a marvelous job of securing bicycles, grills, etc. that was outside in the days prior to the storm, but it still wasn't quite enough).
Join us in praying Ike doesn't head this way, since neither our spirits nor our bank accounts can afford another lengthy stay out of town!
Here's some pics of the kids -- they had a BLAST the entire week!

At the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola:

The kids in Auburn: