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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Year 5 - a wooden gift

     Five years ago I married my best friend. On Friday, April 2nd, Jim and I celebrated our 5th anniversary. I never thought I could love someone so much. I knew God was hearing all those requests for a man of God to sweep me off my feet, but I didn't know His answer would be "yes." 
     We met at church. Tim Brown had invited me to the evangelism program at Harrisburg in February 2004. I was on track to be a Journeyman with the International Mission Board. My sights were set on being a salt trader in Northern India. I came home to take care of some business and MY plan was to return to Richmond for appointment in March. That's when it all happened. He walked into the Fellowship Hall. Jean jacket and khaki pants. He had just finished working out and was going to grab a bite to eat before visitation began. I looked at his left hand-empty!!! "I could marry that guy!" blared through my head. I physically shook my head to remove the thought, reminding myself that I was there to tell people about Jesus, not to find a husband. 
Lake Geneva 2004
     I have only had one other boyfriend besides Jim. What in the world does a 17-year old know about "love"??! I dated the same guy for most of my junior and senior year of high school and our freshman year of college. Looking back I see infatuation written all over it. At the time, I thought our break-up was the worst thing in the world. Over the next few years I began to see the error of my ways and realized that it was the best thing ever. I didn't date for the remainder of my college life. I knew God had a husband for me and I didn't feel it was my duty to go out searching for him. I met guys along the way. Oddly, I knew right away they weren't "the one." Then they'd become my case, to find out whether or not they knew my Jesus. They all became a mission. Mary Martha asked me once, "Candise, do you really think you are going to know who your husband is going to be the first time you meet him?" My blunt and maybe a little overly confident self exclaimed, "yes, I am!" I really had no idea if I would know, I hoped and prayed I would though!
     My sophomore year of college, right after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I began writing letters to my future husband. Yes, I'm weird! It kept my mind focused. I'd write about what God was teaching me in my quiet time. I'd pray for him. I told him all about my dreams, hopes, plans. I told him all about the mud hut we were going to live in while sharing the Gospel with an unreached people group of Asia! I filled a cigar box full of love letters jotted on coasters, napkins and scented paper for a guy I had never met. Until now!
     So, my friend Beth was trying to set me up with her cousin, oh, I don't even remember his name anymore, but I did see him last year in Pontotoc when I was having a meltdown on Andrew's first race outing. I knew right away he wasn't the one, so I invited him to participate in the FAITH program at this church. I hadn't even visited this church yet, I had only been participating in its outreach program. I thought it would be a good idea to ward the guy away from dating me if I acted if I were interested in someone else. Thinking this through, right now, does make it seem like I used a cliched pick up line when I asked Jim, "Do I know you? You look so familiar..." as we boarded the church bus. Yah, it sounds pathetic, but really-- I had him at "Hello" LOL
August, 2004
     The guy must have gotten the hint because he didn't come back! Good thing too, because he might have gotten his heart broken. Don't feel bad for him, Beth told me he's married now and has a kid. On the following Sunday morning I actually visited Harrisburg's church service. I sat a few rows in front of that guy Jim. Secretly hoping he would notice me. I wore a dark skirt and a really cute white blouse. Don't think I'm probably did it too! I looked very sophisticated and mature. I wore my hair pulled back, that always helps me look smarter! {right, hehe}
     My plan, rehearsed in my head, was that he would notice me just a few rows up and come talk to me when the service was over. My shoulders sank when he didn't. He turned away and walked out, without even saying hello. What a Yankee! I drove home feeling sorry for myself and comforting myself with the fact that, well, he must not be the one. Oh well. That's okay. I'm not here for the long-term anyway. I immediately set my sight back on Asia. But he would have been perfect! He's obviously into sharing the Gospel because he participates in the FAITH program. He's driven. He's handsome. I wonder if he would be into international missions? I wonder if he {Jim Brown} would live in a mud hut with me? hmmm...
     Tuesday night came quick. I had absolutely no expectations of talking to this guy, Jim, again. I had marked him off my list-He's not the one. I didn't even get all purtied up for FAITH that night. I wore black sweats and a pink valour hoodie and tinnies. My hair was pulled up in a pony-tail bun. I even wore my glasses. It's easy to hide behind glasses and pretend you are invisible. {That's a whole other post in itself} Let's just say, it was obvious I wasn't there to make a huge impression on anyone.  But as we were walking out of the back of the church that evening, Jim and I started up a conversation that lasted THREE hours! During that conversation I learned why he hadn't said hello to me on Sunday. He had a girlfriend up until that day. A girlfriend of about 6 years total...UGH.....{yes, yes, I'm the rebound!} And on Sunday, they broke up...bummer.  
April 2, 2005
     That's really all I remember from that conversation. I do remember not having to try and find words to say, it just all came naturally. I wasn't nervous like I had been with previous guys. Wow! Anyway---we both made phone calls on the way home that night. I called my friend Erin, eager to have her decipher my thoughts and emotions--had I really just met "the one!" He called his parents. I think it was his dad. They asked him if he was sure...I mean, really Jim? {Still not sure if they are sure! J/K}
     The next few weeks were a blur. I do remember one of our first dates was to Subway. It was after FAITH and as we drove back to the church that night, Jim told me he "wasn't interested in anyone else." Still gives me butterflies. We made a commitment then, if we were going to date, it's for marriage, not just for the heck of it. It was with a purpose.
August, 2004
    That left me at a crossroads...I think I had just met the man I am suppose to marry, and I am supposed to leave for 2 years with the Journeyman program.....After lots of prayer for discernment and a mission trip to France, I wrote my final love letter for the cigar box, for the guy I had never met. Laying in a tourist hotel in a northern province of Paris, I came to realize that I didn't want to be Lottie Moon, like I had once desired. I didn't want to be on the mission field alone, single. What I really wanted was to work alongside Jim in whatever ministry God placed us. I didn't want to do it by myself. So I wrote one last letter. This time, it was addressed to him directly.
     God obviously had been working on Jim's heart that same week, because the night I got home from France, Jim took me on a walk in the park and asked me to marry him. I didn't respond with yes...I asked him if he was kidding!  Looked around to see if anyone could see him down on his knee...and hoping he'd get up quick! Then--I realized what he was doing! 
April 2, 2005
     On that cool April afternoon in 2005, I stood on the platform of our church, as giddy as I have ever been, before our family and friends. I felt like a princess. I would walk around the house in that dress if I could fit into it! My groom was and still is so incredibly handsome. Jim and I promised to love each other forever. To remain faithful to God and one another (in that order) for as long as we both breathed. We pledged to serve the Lord alongside each other, to pray for the other and to respect one another. He placed my dainty little rings on my finger, as did I. Then we kissed. The End.
    The rest is history, well, it's unfolding now. I know people see us with smiles on our faces and they, they have it so easy. You see my blog, my facebook pics and you think---wow...must be nice. Looks like it just comes natural.  I'd be lying if I said it wasn't nice, it is. Actually, it's great! But it's hard work. Sometimes we aren't so easy to love, it isn't always easy to smile, I mean...Jim has put up with pregnancy and post partum hormones THREE times..poor guy,  but we keep God and His commands first and the other second. That's the only way we know how to make it work.
     Over the last five years, we've had 3 precious children, lived at 3 different addresses, walked at least a thousand evening walks together, had some really incredibly great times, even had some times we aren't so proud of....but through it all, we have no doubts, no regrets and love each other more and more each day...well, most days! Just kidding! In the grand scheme of things, we are still newlyweds because I plan to be hitched to this man til I'm at least 105---that's the year for the 10-carat diamond!
      Through the years...
April 2, 2005
Moving to D.C.
September 2006
Walk on the Potomac River, pregnant with Andrew, our second son.
June 2008
On the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C....the week we moved back to Mississippi.
June 2008
Taylor's 2nd birthday.
August 11, 2008
March 2010
To Be Continued....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A day in the life...

     I thought I'd sit and unload on the laptop as I passed through the house. For the second night in a row, Carrie Ann slept through the night! She slept from 8 last night until 5:30 this morning. She's 11 weeks old now, I think. I thought I was supposed to feel more rested, like a new woman. I don't. I know they say you can't "make up" sleep, but it sure would help these nice lines beneath my eyes!
     As I sat and fed CA on the couch this morning, the older boy emerged from the playroom with black marks all over his forehead, "Mommy, can we go on a safari?" Two seconds later, the youngest boy came following him in his shadow...holding a tube of $6 mascara, black brown marks all over his shirt, hands and face. LOVELY! Where in the world did he get that? Well, I know where he got it, but HOW and WHEN, and what else is striped now? What do you do? She's got a great latch, great flow. The little guy heads for my bedroom. As soon I could unlatch the little darling I get to my bedroom just in time to find my nice white down comforter decorated with the little guy's grasping hand. Once again, LOVELY.
     Later, I locked myself in the bathroom to fill out our census form. They've sent us two because we obviously didn't have filling out the first one on the top of our priority list. It's pretty personal. Name, age, address, phone number...of everyone. There are enough blanks for 12 occupants of a household. I wonder what the Duggars do in that case? I have an extra form if they need it!
     On to bills. During snack time I called the hospital billing office to inquire about the note on the bottom of the bill I received from them for Carrie Ann's and my delivery and boarding, etc.  It stated that if you paid within 2 weeks you could receive 10% off. Woohoo...Because I am so prompt and not a procrastinator at all...I called, hoping that they wouldn't notice that yesterday was day 14! I heard the lady, Stephanie, calculating and crunching, pushing buttons on a calculator. I heard, minus 15.....She gave me my total...then said, "and you saved $262.44...WHAT??!.!!! I wasn't even going to ask about the 10% off, I'll take 15!!! Woohoo!!!!!  This made the mascara mishap seem much smaller!
     Then to run errands for the daddy. I quickly loaded the boys and we listened to Barney sing along all the way to the post office and right on over to the bakery for some Sweet Treats!!! My friend Kasey is on bed rest while she is pregnant with her little girl. She has 3 boys and has 19 weeks left in her pregnancy. She starts having contractions every time she gets up and moves around. This particular bakery is Kasey's favorite, I know it would make me smile if I wasn't even allowed to GO SHOPPING!!!  After ALL the work we've done this morning and all the money we've saved, I could definitely afford these calories of my own, so I got us some sweets too!
     Now, I'm headed to Barnes & Noble to find a parenting book on how to get your 3 year old to stop asking SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Caramel League

     It's 4:31 at my house this afternoon...soup's heating on the stove, kids are napping and Carrie Ann-well, she found her thumb! Best paci in the world. For the last two days, since it's discovery, she has gone right to sleep! I didn't even get buzzed at church yesterday- woohoo! Jim just got back from a run and I desperately needed some blogger-therapy!
     Naps are running late today. We met with our good friends Shae and her son Brinson and new daughter, Bealey Cate and Melissa and her son Chan and brand spankin' new girly-Celia! Imagine all of us in the food rivaled our playgroup chaos!
     It was so much fun getting to catch up with good friends!!! I miss Shae a lot...we were in D.C. together! I owe surviving Taylor's first year to her and Jim's sister Jenny!  Celia is just a month younger than my little CA, so it's neat to compare and share... At one point we were all three was our own little LeLeche league meeting! I laugh when I see that word, sounds like The Caramal league! Haa!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


For once she was happy just sitting
and I gave Jim a break from keeping
Andrew out of the drainage hole!
     Tonight I sat down on Andrew's bed as Jim was leading the boys in prayer. It's a precious moment that we love to do and hate to miss. We snuggle, give Eskimo kisses and ask about their day and any memory verses that we've learned. I sat there thinking, whew, this day went by fast, but boy was it so much fun! I don't want it to end. It was actually pretty normal for us, all but one thing...
     Our paths met in the bathroom. Just passing each other as we were both involved in separate tasks. Jim had gotten up early to run a 5K and had just returned and finished up showering. I had chosen to not attend the race, in fear of any drama or stress. Instead, when the kids woke up at 7:20, I fed them a quick breakfast and we headed out to watch the Hot Air Balloon race that we missed by like a long time...I misunderstood the brochure for the event, so since we were out, I took the kiddos-all 3- to Walmart for our usual...milk, bread and bananas! While I was there I also cashed in a gift card and got the boys a sandbox. Note to self: never let your kids walk through the toy section without first being strapped into the cart!
     I was headed to feed Carrie Ann and I paused...thought for a minute and looked up at Jim. I had missed his race. I never miss a race. Jim and I have been practically inseparable since we married 5 years ago. We have always done EVERYTHING together. I have always been at the starting line of every single race. We have a little kiss tradition that we do before each one. This morning he had slipped out quietly as to not wake me or the baby. I would go to different spots on the race route to see him and cheer him on. Once our first child came along, I continued to attend the races and began just waiting at the finish line. When #2 got here, I missed my first race. It was very sad. I've missed quite a few since then and I think it gets tougher with each one. {I know, I'm weird, but I'm Jim's biggest fan!}
I came out of the bathroom last week
and saw this amazing site!
     After returning from my errands, I had to feed Carrie Ann and get her peaceful so I could head out to an exercise class. Jim had decided he was going to take all 3, yes, all THREE, to the track meet at the high school.{{{{He did take all 3 to the track meet and I was sooooo proud of my macho man! When I questioned him about taking all three, he shrugged and said..oh, it'll be fine. I can handle it! Like it was a piece of cake! He gets major rock star points in my book today!!!}}}} It was weird. As I stood in the bathroom, I stopped him from whatever he was doing and said I had something serious to tell him. Something kind of sad. That got his attention! I expressed how sad it was that this was an inevitable point in our little family's existence! We were doing separate things. I knew this would come at some point, but I didn't know it would creep up on us like it did. I was taking the kids in the morning, he was taking them in the afternoon. I am sure some of you think this is very healthy and it's fine. Yes, I agree, but when I say we do everything together, I mean we do EVERYTHING together! We load up all three kids in the car to take a 10 minute ride to Little Caesar's to pick up our $6 pizza every Sunday night. We loaded them all up tonight after baths and in pajamas, just to get gas in my car! One night, right after Carrie Ann was born, I didn't take the ride for pizza-Jim took the boys, I kept the baby. He later told me that he missed me and enjoyed those little rides.
     When I got home from the exercise class, the boys had finished lunch and were watching a cartoon while Jim was tending to Carrie Ann. He handed her off to me to feed and for about 10 minutes we sat and talked...caught up on our day thus was 1 p.m. and we were just getting to really talk. It was short because he was going to take Taylor back to the track meet during nap time to watch Jim's friend Max run. 4:30...we met again in the garage....Carrie Ann snoozing and the boys playing in their sandbox in the backyard....we get in a hug and an I love you. For a few moments we ignored the chores we had to do and forced ourselves to connect and enjoy each other and to, together, go and enjoy our little boys.
    It was great. Just great. God has blessed Jim and I with so much...I don't mean materially, I mean, in our relationship and marriage, and sometimes, we get ourselves so preoccupied that we take that for granted.
     So tonight, after our pajama run, we tucked all three children in their beds, I made us some fruit smoothies and now, we are going to do one thing that we realllly love to do some t.v.!!!     

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sallie Belle, this one's for you!

     Tonight at Cooking Club, my friend said she was hoping my company would hurry up and leave so I could get back to my blog! Ha! So Sallie Belle...I came home tonight, after leaving you fine ladies, put that fussing baby in her chic nursery and sat down at the kitchen table {not that we have another table, just thought I'd clarify, it's not the patio one}to let my brain flow.
     It's been a fast, long, emotional week. We stayed home for the majority of the week. The weather has been perfect, so we've been outside. We opened all the windows and have let the breeze come through. By Wednesday, Taylor's eyes were so puffy and mucus filled that I called nurse Grace over to confirm that it was in fact allergies and that he didn't have lice or a brain tumor because he won't stop scratching his head. You know, as one observer pointed out at playgroup this week, his itching head could be coming from all the hair. I haven't been able to take him to get his hair cut for the last 2 months. Can't imagine why, but none the less, 3 weeks ago I did have to cut off a 1 inch rat tail that he had grown. I'm afraid had I waited any longer it might have looked like we were trying to bring the mullet back in style. At one time I had convinced Jim that the $10 I spent on the electric clippers at Walmart were going to pay for themselves with just one child's haircut, but after butchering the kid's poor head one too many times, he's sure hair cuttery is not for me! I'm sorry, I just don't understand sideburns and I seem to mess them up every time.
     ANYWAY....I'm rambling. Back to my point. This week was Jim's last full week working with the American Family Association as their National Affairs Correspondent for He has worked with them for 10 years and this past year Jim was approached about getting into finance stuff. If I've learned one thing in marriage, it's that guys need a challenge and wives should support this need. He is now a Financial Advisor for Modern Woodmen of America. {Woodmen...apparently I don't speak very well and some of my friends have been wondering why Jim is all of sudden working for Modern Woman!} It's a complete career change. I'm just glad he didn't switch from a real super expensive degree, like medicine or biochemical engineering! Our decision to leave the AFA and AFR came with much prayer. There's no one thing that made him just want to leave and find another job, in fact, he has been working for MWA since October of last year and had every intention of just doing it on the side to supplement our income and my Hobby Lobby addiction. But after being away from the office for an entire week when Carrie Ann was born, he realized he didn't miss his job. He hadn't turned the news on once, and it felt good to not know what was going on in the world of politics.  Sitting in a cubicle all day, submerged in the culture war can be draining. Then come home to 3 small kids knowing that the world isn't getting any better. We love the AFA and AFR. He's not saying he's retiring his notepad and headset forever, just for now. The door's still open, but for now, he needs a change and a challenge and this is where God has led him, and thus, providing for his family. 
     For me, right now, it's relief. One reason my posts have been sparse is because he has been gone a lot, working during the day and having evening appointments, by 8 p.m., when the house is quiet, {or should be}I'm too tired to think, let alone deal with Blogger's picture posting problems. So I've had to choose, blog or sleep or spend time with Jim. You'd be surprised to know that I have only gone to Hobby Lobby twice in the last 2 months! Yep! I'm too tired to deal with the drama and it's not like I can do anything with anything right now anyway...any smart functioning brain cells I had left are being used to feed Carrie Ann, who has taken a hiatus from a bottle. So I'm tired. And forgetful. I found the unopened power bill yesterday. Asked when March 30th was. Called the power company to explain why it was late and wondering if by chance I had paid it unknowingly. The lady at Tombigbee Electric told me not to blame it on the baby. Guess they have heard that line a few times!
     Two really great things happening right now is that, one, my hair hasn't fallen out this time. Upon examining family photos of myself from previous periods after births, I've noticed a very noticeable missing patch of hair on my head. Don't go scouring my blog for those pics, they aren't on here. They are on Facebook. So I've been dreading that awful hormonal effect all pregnancy. My bangs aren't intentional people, just a result of that curly headed Andrew! And the second really great thing, is that when my memory starts getting bad, I know it's because I'm distracted and flustered. I can't focus on Bible Study or crafts or even blogging. When that happens, my time with the Lord gets better. I am forced to remove distractions. I have to focus on focusing. When I feel like I am hanging on by the seat of my pants, I know that all I have is God. I grab hold of him and His Word. When I can't wrap my mind around the requests I need to bring to the Lord, Scripture fills in the gaps. When I wake up in the morning and my thoughts go immediately to time, tasks, dust, food, planning.... I remember's not much, but it's enough. Each rare moment that I have alone, in quiet, when I can think of something other than myself and the kids and Jim, I force myself to zone in. Because, let's face it people, if you aren't in fellowship with God, then you are going to fall apart completely, and you will begin to make irrational decisions and then it's all downhill from there, it's inevitable.
     So tonight I took Carrie Ann to Cooking Club and Jim took the boys to the Hot Air Balloon Festival. I think he went grudgingly and it wasn't his first choice of things to do tonight, but I kind of thrust it on him. I had purchased the tickets earlier thinking how much fun it would be!!! Forgetting that I had plans already. I love festivals, but Jim would rather play in the yard, so it was more of my thing than his, but I really didn't want to miss CC. Tomorrow morning I will sleep in while Jim goes to run a 5K. Then I'll take the boys over to the airstrip to watch the hot air balloon race take off. Then, then, then!!! I'm so excited...I'm going to go to my first Zumba class. Going to look like an idiot, but I've got to shake these last few pregnancy inches and Dancing with the Stars has me all interested! I'm sure you will be able to read about it here!
     Salllie  Belle, I hope this has quenched your appetite for a Lemonade post! Love you girl! I keep wondering, trying to remember, what in the world did I do with all my free time when I only had one child!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I haven't forgotten

     I'm here, I haven't forgotten about my Lemonade Stand, I miss it quite much. We've had family here for the last two weeks straight and I've really enjoyed getting to visit and relax. But, I have missed my Stand terribly! But the house will be empty tomorrow, my new "blogging chair" has arrived and I'll be settling in to tell you all about the fun stuff we've been baking, the kiddos and what's new for Cooking Club this year.
    This picture is just for those of you who think Andrew ISN'T trouble!!! hahaha