Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Embrace Your Season

The last 3 months of the year are when I am at my happiest. I think my favorite part of the changing of the seasons at the end of the year is the cooler weather. Im not sure if its because my hormones never went back to normal after having children and I still have hot flashes every 5 minutes of my life or what, but I LOVE IT! The holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the fun memories I have with my family, the joy I experience during every day of the season. Its my favorite time of year for many reasons. Im at my best in this season.  If I could live in this season 24/7 I would. 

Is there a place called Christmas land? Sign me up! Its calling my name! 
My house has been decorated for Christmas for a week. I LOVE IT! Dont judge me. Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge or you too will be judged!" lol! 

I long for this season all year long. As a matter of fact, sometimes I find myself in the dumps because the season is over and the next time it comes around seems so far away. Sometimes I find myself wishing that time would pass so fast so I can hurry up and be in my “season” again. 

As I came across these thoughts I realized how longing for my favorite season can leave me missing out on the important things in the season I am in. For example, as a mother, I long for the day that my kids do not call my name 24/7 and can open a juice box or applesauce pouch all by themselves and eat/drink without making a mess. I long for the days I can go out to a restaurant and eat in peace with my husband and my 3 kids. I long for the day when the struggles of endless chores of laundry and cleaning house are gone and I can do the things I want to do. I long for what "I THINK" make for the perfect season of life. I miss out on so much because I can be so bitter Im not living in the "season" I want to be living in. 

The past few days I caught myself wishing time away. 

We had family pictures yesterday. They were a nightmare. I had spent tons of time and money on the perfect outfits and had even washed my hair - I mean come on! Within 5 minutes of being there, Charlotte had rubbed up against my car and got her dress covered in dirt and grease. 2 clicks of the camera later, John Daniel had a huge meltdown. It didnt dawn on me until after the photo session was over and he ate an entire kids meal in 2.5 seconds that he was "HANGRY" and thats why he didn't cooperate. Our photographer is the best and deals with us at our worst but even she said it would be best to end early. 

As we got in the car I told Mitchell that I couldn't stand this season of life. All I wanted was a family photo of all of us looking normal and I couldn't wait for the day when the kids would sit still and we wouldn't dread picture day. 

And then this morning, I did it again. I wished time away. I begged to be out of this hard season of motherhood. 

John Daniel, my middle child, the oldest of the twins, the quiet but destructive child, had gotten into one of my wallflowers from Bath and Body Works. For those of you who are not Bath and Body Works enthusiast like me, lol, wallflowers are things you can plug in an outlet and give off a wonderful smell, covering up all signs that any children live at your house. It masks the smell of that old sippy cup of milk that you lost a week ago and found under the couch. It hides the smell of the dirty diapers that linger in every corner of the house. One of my favorite things about a wallflower is when I walk by, I can smell the scent of "clean" even if my house is so far from clean. It gives me about 2 seconds of relaxation before I look down and realize Ive stepped on an entire bag of cheese puffs someone has dropped and a million crushed pieces of my kids favorite treat cover my floor. 

Apparently John Daniel had found a moment to sneak out of my sight and find one of my new wallflowers and explode it all over himself. I was running late, as usual, and was doing my best to put everyone in the car so we could make it to school. I pull out of the driveway and literally think to myself, Man - my whole car smells like that evergreen scent I bought the other day from Bath and Body Works - I wonder if I left a candle in here?

At that moment, Steven starts to gag and yells that Bubba stinks. I look back and realize his shirt is wet. I pulled over on the side of the road right outside my neighborhood and take him out of his seat. Yes, the entire wallflower had been spilled ALL OVER his shirt and he was drenched in the extremely strong smell of evergreen. I wiped him off as much as I could and off he went to preschool, smelling like a big strong christmas tree. 

I came home and cleaned up the mess, put all my wallflowers back in the closet and said to myself "I cant wait until I can start having all my nice things back!!!! All I wanted was for the house to smell like christmas! Im OVER this season of life!"

But oh how wrong of me it is to long for a new season of life without understanding the purpose of the season Im in. 

Our family has been in a “struggle” type season for about 2 years. Its seems every time something good happens, a few other bad things happen right after leaving us taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Im not going to lie, some days its hard to leave the house with a smile on our face and Joy in our heart.  We've been praying the same prayer over and over and it hasn't been answered yet. The end of the season can seem so far away and sometimes I tend to think we will be living in the season for the rest of our lives. It can be very easy to “wish” this part of our lives away. It can be very easy to think about the future and how easy we “think” it will be and long for that season. 

Its so easy to have a pity party for yourself and think that life will always be the way it is. Thats what the devil wants us to do. He wants us to linger in depression, anxiety and worry about the season of life we are in and miss out on pivotal moments in that season that help shape and guide us into the plans God has for us. 

One day, when I was feeling very down and wondering if I would ever see another “season” I read the story of Ruth. 

Ruth was a remarkable woman of faith. Tragically both Ruth’s husband and brother in law died, leaving just herself, her sister in law and her mother in law, Naomi, all alone. Naomi decided to return back to her homeland far away and encouraged her 2 daughters in law to return back to their families in Moab because she had no more sons to give them and was unable to offer any security for their future. One of her daughters in law, Orpah, followed that advice and went back to her family in Moab but Ruth made a vow to Naomi, one that showed true faithfulness in one of the worst seasons of her life. 

“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).

Well isn't that something? Let me tell you what I would be doing if I had lost everything I loved and had the choice of following someone who wasn't even blood related to me to another part of the country to start over. I would be running back to my mama and daddy and trying to get back to my old life, not stepping out on faith and following my “used to be” mother in law to a land that I did know about. 

Instead of running back to what felt comfortable like her sister in law Orpah, Ruth chose to follow Naomi .She left EVERYTHING, forsook her homeland, her comfort zone, her people - She left it all to lead a new life in a land where she would be a total stranger. She loved her mother in law and pledged to never forsake her. Ruth chose what God wanted her to do, not what she wanted to do. Long story short, because she followed what God had told her to do during this incredibly hard season of her life, she was blessed more than she could ever imagine. She married Boaz, who had everything she could ever dream of plus some and her family and entire lineage was blessed. 

Things probably looked pretty rough for Ruth at times. She probably wanted to hurry up and get out of the season she was facing, but she chose to embrace the season she was in, even though it was hard and not what she truly wanted. The mercy of God worked out all things for her. Because she stepped out in faith and followed what God wanted her to do during her rough season, her story of faithfulness and total commitment encourages so many every single day.

Its very hard to stay positive during hard times. Its very hard to see the light of the tunnel when the bags under your eyes keep you from seeing anything at all! lol! Its much easier said than done to trust God enough to accept the season you are in but friends, let me tell you, it will help you more than anything else.

 Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” We don't understand what may be going on and it may not make sense to use but it makes perfect sense to God. Give it to God and he will work it out in a way we could never even come close to imagining! 

Psalm 37:7-9 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land” Stop worrying about it! Just be still! Spend time with the Lord. Let him be enough for you. Let him calm you and remind you of your purpose on this earth. If someone else is prospering and you are not, refrain from being angry! Those who wait for the Lord will inherit it all! Your day will come my friend! 

Repeat the scripture of Ruth but say it to God just like Ruth said it to Naomi

Wherever you take me Lord, I will go.

Whatever season I am in, I will rejoice for you are faithful and you always take care of me. 

1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Genesis 28:15: Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

So when you are in a season of life that you are ready to hurry up and pass by, remember God has put us in this season for a reason. We must rejoice in those moments, even when we don't feel like it. We don't know the reason but God does. We don't know who we may come across that needs to hear our story. Galatians 6:9 - And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Don't give up. Embrace whats before you and REST knowing God has got it in control. 

The song "Seasons" by Hillsong has been my anthem for this year. I listen to it daily toe help me remember that my season will com, but it will be in his time and I must remember that his promises will never fail me, even if the season of life I am in feels like there is no hope. 
 My favorite part of the song below gives me chills every time. 

I can see the promise
I can see the futureYou’re the God of seasonsI’m just in the winterIf all I know of harvestIs that it’s worth my patienceThen if You’re not done workingGod I’m not done waitingYou can see my promiseEven in the winterCause You’re the God of greatnessEven in a mangerFor all I know of seasonsIs that You take Your timeYou could have saved us in a secondInstead You sent a child

He could have saved us in a second but instead he saved us in a way so remarkable that worked out so much better for us. I dont know about you but that reminds me of Gods greatness and how his plan is always better than my plan. The season Im in is helping mold me into God wants me to be. 

Motherhood is a hard job. Oh how many times have I wanted to run and hide when it gets too hard. How many times do I wish these hard times away and miss out on the sweet smiles and giggles around me. Its so easy to focus on how hard things are and miss out on all the sweet simple moments around us. Embrace the fact that life is going to be a chaotic hot mess for a while and don't wish it away. Understand that you are doing something that God has called you to do. One of the hardest jobs in this world is being a mother. Do you think the Devil wants more families raising kids who are children of God? No! He will deo everything he can to prevent us from being the Mothers we are destined to be for our children. Dont let the devil convince you the grass is greener a few years down the road and let you miss out on the things going on around you.  We must thank God he has given these precious gifts to us, even when we don't feel like it. Trust the Lord enough to know he is helping you every single day. You are not alone!

Just like Ruth trusted the Lord during her hard seasons, we must trust the Lord with our hard seasons. Rejoice always and remember the old saying, “If God brings you to is, He will bring you through it!” 

Now excuse me as I go upstairs to take care of a screaming baby……lol…….But I will praise God that he has blessed me with this screaming baby even if Im ready for this “Screaming baby” phase to end! lol! 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

For Such A Time As This

And in this moment, I was made for this........

Goodness gracious life has been crazy yall! The past few weeks we have experienced fevers, walking pneumonia, I somehow got Shingles and to end the it all, a random stomach bug. Did I also add while all this was going on, people from HOLLYWOOD flew to little ol' Bessemer, Alabama and filmed a movie at my husband's workplace? JOHN TRAVOLTA himself was there for TWO days while I was covered up in shingles and cleaning snot off kids noses. And the stomach bug hit one of my little ones RIGHT after my husband landed in Detroit for a week long work trip. I have to admit, jealousy has been EATING ME UP this week. My husband got to hang out with movie stars all last week and now he's resting in a quiet, cool, clean, 5 star hotel in Detroit. One afternoon when he got done with his meetings he said he was bored and didn't have anything to do …….. bored…….. while I was cleaning up after a stomach bug and spraying lysol on the kids 24/7. Bored - I don't remember the last time I was bored? But sometimes being bored sounds REALLY REALLY FUN! LOL

My Husband with
Mr Grease Lightning Himself
In all seriousness I LOVE my husband dearly. I am so thankful to have such a hardworking husband that will go above and beyond to make sure we are always taken care of. He deserves a break. He works crazy hours at work and on the nights where he gets home early, he completely takes over the kids and gives me a break. He is AMAZING and I am so blessed to have him. We celebrate 7 years of marriage on Saturday. I am a very lucky girl even if I didn't get to hang out with John Travolta! lol 

But sometimes I don't feel lucky. I can get so jealous of the things he gets to do. Not only him, but of many others. I can feel so inadequate and end up having a pity party of 1 while watching an episode of Golden Girls and eating candy corn and peanuts. So depressing, I know lol.

Why does this person get to do that while I'm here doing this? Why is that going on there while this is going on here? How is any of this fair? I get downright bitter y’all. 

Sometimes I have to remind myself I am an almost 30 year old woman with a COLLEGE DEGREE who graduated with HONORS when my 2 year old makes me feel like I am 2 feet tall. lol. 

I had big big dreams when I was a kid. If you ask anyone what I always said I wanted to be when I grew up they would tell you I desperately wanted to be Diane Sawyer. I wanted to be on Good Morning America SO bad. I wanted to be on television. I wanted to help others. I desperately wanted to make a difference as a news anchor.  

When I was in college, things changed. I met with one of the teachers in the Department of Communications and they silently laughed (I could tell in their faces!) at me while I described my dreams. They told me if I ever wanted a job in broadcasting I would HAVE to get rid of my accent and it would involve me moving out of the south. Yep, those 2 things were a BIG deal breaker to me. Removing the word “Y’all” from my vocabulary and living too far from a Milo’s didn't sound like my cup of tea. Thats when I first started realizing things sometimes don't go as planned. 

I graduated from college, got a job in a marketing, and after a few years I was married and expecting our first child and became a stay at home mom. 


Theres another thing that didn't go like I thought. 

Lets talk about this whole stay at home mom gig. 

Yes I live in workout clothes. Guess what - the only workout my workout clothes have ever seen is when I'm chasing my kids when they escape from the stroller or when I'm running up and down stairs putting up laundry. 

I found out real fast that being a stay at home mom didn't involve sleeping late and living a life filled with perfect pinterest crafts. Yep, it meant remiding yourself to eventually sneak in a shower every once in a while, trading in your nice clean car for one that is filled to the brim with carseats, french fries, dirty diapers and who knows what else, and living life on the edge, the edge of a nervous breakdown every single day! lol! When I had my twins and life consisted of 3 kids under 3 things really got chaotic and the dreams of things I had planned for my life were so far out of my head. I was just in survival mode. But in that survival mode was when I started loosing sight of my purpose and bitterness started slowly making its way into my life.

Being a stay at home mom was something I never planned for myself. It has been the hardest job I have ever had but one of the best jobs in the world. I am so blessed I get to be with my kids at all times, but the ups and downs of motherhood are so hard. For a while I felt like I was supposed to enjoy this job 24/7 and hide my feelings of frustrations. I was never supposed to complain because some people would do anything to be in my place. I am also Southern - You keep THOSE feelings to yourself hun!!!!! 

Then I started feeling guilty for being so depressed and lonely while I was with the kids, the most precious blessings the Lord had ever given me. My bitterness grew and grew. Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, the “mom guilt” can eat you alive! 

Was this what I was called to do? This was my purpose? Being surrounded by people who were much smaller than me who said “no” and “mommy” 24/7 was starting to drive me totally mad. 

Many times I felt like I had lost my purpose, there was NO plan for my life other than taking care of kids and I just went thru the motions day by day, not enjoying the things in this life that I have been given because I was so mad that it had not been what I thought it would be. 

This whole year the Lord has really been speaking to me to make me realize how important it is for us to use EVERY moment of our life for him. As I've mentioned before in other blog posts, 2016 was a hard year for me and I just knew 2017 was going to be 100% better. Things continued to far from where I had planned them to go and ,on and off, I have had some hard days! But no matter what is going on, I've learned its all about our story and how our story can help others. 

A while back I started reading about Esther in the bible. Esther was Persia’s Queen. She was just an ordinary girl but had an extraordinary purpose. She was a Jew but was sought out by the King of Persia as his bride. Mordecai, the leader of the Jews, encouraged Esther to hide her faith from the King and her advisors so she did. Very long story short, the order had been given for all the Jews in Persia to be killed. Even though Esther was Persia’s queen, she did not know if she could make a difference. But Mordecai, recognized that Esther had been prepared uniquely by God for this crisis. Though she had doubts, he told her, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” After 3 days of fasting, Esther approached the king. Her courageous actions changed the course of history and saved her people.

So how in this world does this have anything to do with me being a bitter about motherhood and feeling like all my purpose on this earth is to pass out goldfish and change diapers? Well it gives me hope and puts purpose in my moments. 

It says in the bible that even though Esther was the King's wife, she basically had to have “appointments” to see her husband. I'm sure she was very bitter. She couldn't even see her husband when she wanted. She had to wait until he had time for her! I can imagine Mitchell telling me he needed to pencil me in his schedule - hahhahaha yep, that aint happening! lol! 

I can imagine her thinking “Here I am, hiding my faith while everyone is planning on killin' all my kin folk (I picture everyone in the bible as southern, sorry lol),  I'm mad because I'm here and all this is going on and I cant do a thing about it!” I can imagine her crying out to God, thinking she had no purpose and no reason to be where she was.  But you know what she did? She was brave and she opened up about her faith at the perfect time which led to the saving of all the Jews. And God used her in the PERFECT moment. 

I LOVE Esther 4:14:

 “Perhaps you were born for SUCH A TIME AS THIS” 

Such a time as this - Wow. 

The Lord puts us in these places in our lives for a reason. Not so we can be bitter and jealous about how our life is going but so we can grow from it and help others. Who knows what divine appointments the Lord sets up for us during the day. I have this philosophy that if you are open with people about your struggles and battles they are more likely able to open up to you, therefore you are able to help each other and grow stronger in your faith. 

There are many reasons we can feel inadequate and incapable of making difference when we are walking around in the valley of motherhood. Who am I to help someone if I cant even get my act together? How can I make a difference when I haven't brushed my hair in 3 days?

We all want to live a different life than the one we have right? The grass is always greener on the other side? Haha, Sure! 

This is the enemy telling us we can never make a difference and the purpose that we have for our life is much better than the one that God has for us. 

Everyday I try to focus on Gods plan for MY life. I want to live EVERY moment with the idea that maybe that moment is what I was meant for. Whether its changing a dirty diaper or playing the same hot wheels game with my 4 year old for the 100th time, maybe that moment is important in my story, maybe these moments are what I am called to do. 

I once read somewhere that “The World is changed and lives are saved when men and women realize that they have been called “for such a time as this”

It is no accident that I am who I am and I have what I have. Everything is ordained by God in each season of life we are in. We must remember that the Lord has an appointed time for every single second of our life. He has it all written out and he has it all under control. All we have to do is surrender ourselves to him and he takes on all the rest. 

He takes the rest - I love this. 

I imagine a load being taken off my back. I imagine all the disappointments and frustrations of things not going as planned being totally taken from my thoughts and replaced by words of hope and encouragement from my precious savior. 

If we are all honest and open with each other and live EACH moment as if it is the moment we are made for, our lives on this earth can be so much better. I try daily to shift my mindset to what I can do on this earth for the Lord, not what I can do on this earth to make Ashley the center of attention and make Ashley’s life better. I want the Lord to use me and use my story help others. I want people to look at me and not see perfection but and see that God has done a work in me and continues every day. 

We all go thru highs and lows. That is why the Lord has placed certain people in our lives - He uses them to help us when we are in our pit and we can help others when they are in a pit. We can't forget what we are about and why we are on this earth. We are here to make a difference for HIS kingdom, no matter what it is! 

Bitterness can come like a thief in the night and steal so much of the joy of motherhood that the Lord has given you. Don't let it win! 

Focus on Esther. We may not be saving lives like Esther helped save all the Jews, but if we focus our lives as if we are living for the moment we were created for, we can MAKE a difference! 

God has called me to be a stay at home mom in this season of my life for a reason. He has called me to have these 3 special children for a reason. I will live EVERY moment of my life as if I am fulfilling the calling he has given me. 

Moms, don't forget you have a purpose on this earth. Raising children is one of the most divine callings the Lord can place in our lives. It is a hard job and the devil wants us to hate it. He wants us to grow bitter when our plans do no go like we wanted. He wants us to become jealous when our husbands get a silent car ride to work while we listen to VeggieTales sing "Oh Where Is My Hairbrush" for the 100th time while the kids are screaming in the car. He wants us to hide our feelings and frustrations so we can make ourselves feel inadequate.

I challenge you today to live your life as if you are fulfilling your purpose in every single moment. Motherhood is hard. We cant do it alone - You need some sisters along side you that are willing to be honest about the trials we face as moms. Find a small group! Pray the Lord will send some friends your way that can help you in this time of your life! Focus living towards your purpose!

All of us, ESPECIALLY MOTHERS, are created 
for a time such as this! 

If you are in the McCalla area and you are looking for a group of mothers to fellowship with, we would love to have you join our small group. It is an honest open group where we share our ups and downs and support each other 100% in these moments of our lives! Email me at ashleyvwatts@gmail.com to join!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Grace & Poop

I’m convinced there is a hidden camera in my house, in my car, in my diaper bag - somewhere someone is watching my life and showing it to everyone for a laugh. 

Remember the “Truman Show” - yep thats me - I always feel like Jim Carrey, stuck in a world he thought was reality while really millions are watching him laughing at their tv at every moment of his life.  The day the cat was found in our car (revisit that fun story here,), the day the neighbors dog ran into our house, the time Charlotte crawled under the bathroom stall at Chick Fil A while I was changing Bubbas diaper and TERRIFIED the woman going to the bathroom in the next stall,  the day Steven told everyone his brother was a drunk (when John Daniel had ear issues he walked around unbalanced and we called him a drunk - yes we shouldn't of done that but we did and Steven most definitely told everyone around him his brother was a drunk), the time John Daniel opened every bottle of my brand new shampoo and conditioner and poured it all over himself and the bathroom - yes moments like these are some where I look around and I just know someone is watching from afar laughing really hard at some of the things that go down at the Watts house. 

Today was another day I was convinced I was on candid camera. It was one for the books. Some days are more calm than others but today - Nope - it was wild. My husband and I have been 100% dedicated to the newest campus of our church. Our church opened a new campus in McCalla, Al and since day 1 we have been giving everything we have towards meeting all the new member and serving in any way possible. I had been leading a “Mommy & Me” group at our previous campus for almost 4 years. It has been a wonderful experience and helped me meet SO many wonderful moms that have now become some of my best friends. I knew I wanted to do this type of group at our new campus so after much prayer, one of my best friends and I decided to plan and lead a new McCalla Mommy and Me Small Group.

We had a huge amount of interest in the group. I got dozens of emails from new moms of the campus excited to come join our group and fellowship with each other. Every week we would meet at the indoor play place at the local McDonalds and talk with each other while the children played. It was a great idea - its air-conditioned , clean, and the kids cant escape. 

The morning of the group went about as chaotic as a Sunday morning (read about chaotic Sunday mornings here lol). The twins woke up earlier than usual, who knows why? By 9:00 they were tired, fighting with each other and I had already asked the Lord for some Grace probably 100 times by then. Steven on the other hand decided that this would be a day he would sleep in - this rarely happened so at 9:00 knowing we had to leave in 15 minutes I went in to battle, woke up the sleeping threenager and dressed him as fast as I could without giving him any time to realize that I had woken him up out of a deep sleep. I put everyone in the car, passing out juiceboxes, fruit snacks, toys and pacifiers to keep everyone quiet and calm,  locked the house up and was so happy when I saw 9:20 on the clock as I was pulling out of the driveway.

“Well” I thought to myself “This is a great start! I will be on time! Thank you Lord!”

Steven begged to listen to scary music on the way to small group, so trying to look for the most “kid friendly” halloween music I could find, we listed to “Which Witch is Which” by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck for the entire 15 minute drive. Probably should not of been blasting a song about witches on the way to a church small group but you gotta do what you gotta do.

I arrived early at the McDonalds playplace, got the prayer cards ready, said a little prayer over the moms and children that would be coming in to fellowship soon and took a deep breath. Ive been leading small groups for so long but I always get so nervous before they start. Doubt starts creeping into my head telling me I can do it, I'm not good enough - you know all those things that make you want to run out the door but my sweet co leader walked in just in time and I felt confident we would have a wonderful day. 

The moms started coming in one by one, We laughed and joked about how crazy the kids were. We exchanged stories of where we were from and how we got to where we are in between feeding babies, opening jukeboxes and changing diapers. I was so happy that this wonderful small group of moms was starting to form at the new campus. It was just what we had been prating for.

I went to the front to get everyone coffee and the manager who took my order noticed my Church of the Highlands shirt. She started asking about our church and I went on and on about our new campus and told her who we all were and why we were there. I told the manager we would be meeting there weekly but we promised to keep the play place cleaner than when we left and thanked her for letting us use the playground every week.

Yep - probably should of left out the “cleaner than when we got there” part but anyways.......lol 

The kids were having a wonderful time and for the first time in a while, we all were able to drink our coffee and have a few minutes to relax while our kids were occupied with the indoor playground. 

You see - sometimes when I drink coffee, I try to imagine myself on the front porch of the lakehouse, drinking nice warm coffee and watching the water sit so still and peaceful while I enjoy every last drop of that wonderful liquid gold and remember how wonderful life is and how blessed I am. I was feeling that way today - drinking coffee, talking and laughing with other moms while the kids were playing and “leaving us alone”. Yes - even though there was lots of screaming kids around me and the playground was starting to smell a little funky, I was still transporting myself into that “relaxing” state of mind. I thought to myself “I made it to small group before anyone else just like the leader should do, I printed the prayer cards, the moms seem to be enjoying themselves - yes this is wonderful” 


“SOMEONE POOPED IN THE SLIDE, SOMEONE POOPED IN THE SLIDE” One of the kids came running out screaming at the top of their lungs they had discovered poop all in the slide. I looked around and saw all the kids running out to their moms as we all looked at the slide and sure enough, there was poop.


I was calm - There was no way that it was from any of my kids -  my twins had diapers on and Steven would never do something like that. I looked around at the other moms as they started to check their kids pants when I saw something I did not want to see - John Daniel emerging from the bottom of the slide - he got off the slide and turned around and my mind went back to the scene Christmas vacation where he Chevy Chase turned around with a squirrel on his back and everyone ran - Yes watch the video below and that is pretty much what it was like when John Daniel turned around and we all saw his backside COVERED in poop and realized HE was the culprit of the DISASTER on the slide.

Mortified doesn't even express how I felt when i realized it was my child, MY BUBBAS, that had made the giant mess in the playground. It my boy that had stunk up the whole playground and it was my little bubba boy that all the kids were running from because he was covered head to toe in nasty nasty poop. He must have gone to the bathroom and slid down the slide, making a giant mess the whole way down. I ran over to him, apologizing to all the other moms and trying my best to keep under control. Some of the moms took this messy situation as their que to get out of there - and I don't blame them - IT WAS GROSS!!!!!! LOL! I started changing his diaper, stripping him down and wiping him with every baby wipe I had left. His clothes were ruined and he obviously couldn't wear them home so I sat him down in a diaper while I walked towards that hot smelly slide to clean up the damage. I had told the manager we would leave it much cleaner than when we first got there. I didn't actually think that I would be cleaning MY child's poop off the slide when I said that. What kind of small group leader would I be if I left poop in the slide? It wasn't the “Highlands Way” so there I was in the claustrophobic purple smelly slide, wet napkins in one had and hand sanitizer in the other, cleaning poop.

Y'all being a mother can you numb you to a lot of things - like the smell of throw up and the smell of poop, nasty old milk or food - those smells don't really bother you anymore after you have smelled them a hundred times, but y'all I can promise you - the smell of that slide was like none other - the sweat of hot smelly kids mixed with my sons nasty poop - Ive never seen or smelled anything like it. 

As I was cleaning the slide, I had many thoughts go thru my mind such as, “I have a college degree, I graduated WITH HONORS yet here I am cleaning POOP OUT OF A SLIDE! Its now all over my clothes - will I have to ride out of McDonalds half naked just like poor Bubbas? Please Lord let me not get pulled over! Is this real life? Where is that RIDICULOUS CAMERA that HAS to be following me!” 

I was hot, irritated and now smelly and then it hit me - all those moms! We were having such a good time until the poop hit! They are never going to want to be around me ever again! I will always be seen at church as the mom who's kids pooped in the play place slide of McDonalds! Things were going so well - I was making so many new friends - I can kiss that all goodbye! 

The few remaining moms left helped me get all my stuff together and my sweet co leader carried a stinky, half naked Bubbas in the car while I fought to get Steven and Charlotte out of the play place and into the car. We loaded everyone up, I thanked my sweet friends for their help and we headed out of McDonalds. We had left the play place cleaner than when we got there but that poor slide would never be the same. lol. 

My spirit was crushed when we were in the car. I just knew no one would want to come back - I had scared everyone away. Steven cried the whole way home because “CRAZY ME” had promised him a trip to the store after McDonalds so he could spend some money he had in his piggy bank. John Daniel was half naked, I was covered in poop from cleaning everything and Charlotte was about to pass out from exhaustion from being up since the crack of dawn.  There was no way I was taking this crazy train into target so Steven could spend his $12.85. Nope - no way. There wasn't enough money in the world to get me out of that car and back into public. lol. 

We got home. Everyone was ill and tired. I put everyone to bed and cleaned myself up. 


Just as I was feeling defeated I started getting texts from many of the moms who had visited the group that morning. Things I needed to hear. One of them said “Thank you so much for today. It was great to be around someone so real. I am sorry about the poop fiasco but I am looking forward to this group and making new friends” Another one said "We had the best time today - it was much needed - Cant wait for more!"

I am so thankful for Grace - these precious mamas in my group still had a good time even though it ended in poop and chaos. They had shown me so much Grace by not letting it bother them and letting me know that no matter what had happened they had still had a wonderful time and looked forward to doing it again. 

Even though I was pretty upset about all the poop, it taught me a valuable lesson - ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS show Grace. I experienced that today first hand by some friends I have known for years and some I had just met. Show Grace to your spouse when you feel like they are struggling, show Grace in the workplace to those who are giving you a hard time, show Grace to that person who cut you off in traffic or driving to slow, show Grace to your children when you think you can't handle it anymore and most of all show Grace to yourself -  We are all just trying to make it day by day and we are all not perfect.You never know what someone is going thru and YOU NEVER KNOW -  Your child may be the one who poops on the slide tomorrow!!!! lol! 

Now go wash your hands because I know you want to after reading about my morning!!!! lol!!!! Im gonna try to extend some grace to this hot, sweaty and tired toddler of mine! 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Don't Stop

Easy like Sunday Morning

Oh Sundays - for some it means a day with no obligations. A day where you wake up from the fun events of Friday night and Saturday - take the day to relax before starting your week back. A day that is easy and free. This “easy like Sunday morning” idea is the theme of the 1977 classic hit “Easy” by the Commodores.  Good ol’ Lionel Richie sang about breaking up a relationship with a controlling woman and becoming “easy like Sunday morning” free from anything that may gives him stress, rules or restrictions. Picture him waking up after a fun weekend on Sunday morning around noon (because thats what time you get to sleep in when you are “free”) having a cup of HOT coffee, reading the paper, heading out for brunch, and laying around the rest of the day catching up on tv or just relaxing  - you know an “EASY” day. But one thing that Lionel didn't think about when writing this song is the version of “Sunday mornings” we parents have, especially the southern mamas and daddy who are doing their best to get themselves and their little ones to church on Sundays. So sit down Mr. Richie and let me tell you a little bit about how Sunday mornings are FAR from easy around here at the Watts household. 

I am a firm believer that the devil is real - he isn't an “idea” or just something we use to scare people with - he is real - and I am also a firm believer that on Saturday nights, around bedtime, he comes inside my house, sets up camp right by the stairs leading to my kids rooms and plots out his evil scheme to make Sundays at our house the farthest thing there is from “EASY.”

His scheme usually starts at bedtime around 7:30 on Saturday nights, when my husband calls and says “Honey Im sorry it will be a late night” and I realize Im alone to conquer that awesome bedtime routine all by myself once again. After fights, screaming, tears, lots of bargaining with fruit snacks and juice after everyone has already brushed their teeth, I get the kids down for bed - and then go back up 5 minutes later to make them go to bed again and then 10 minutes later I go back up yet again. The goal of a 7:30 bedtime on Saturday nights so they can have a good nights rest before Sunday is usually squashed around 8:30/9:00 when they finally pass out after screams and cries about not being able to stay awake “just one more minute” to wait on daddy. I finally come downstairs to start cleaning up and realize I forgot to get their church clothes down so I could have them all ironed and ready for an “easy” Sunday morning. I usually set an alarm on my phone at this point for 30 minutes earlier than i usually wake up so I can have the extra time to iron the clothes that I forgot to get down but forget to actually turn it on so it never works (true story - I always forget). I stay up way too late waiting up for my husband to get home from work, cleaning up a mess so I don't have to wake up to a dirty house, packing the diaper bag, sippy cups, nursery bag or doing just “one more load” of laundry that usually ends up being 2 or 3 more loads. I go to bed WAY too late which causes me to wake up WAY past the time Im supposed to the next morning. Yes, thats the way the devil works - he keeps you up thinking that if you have everything nice clean and tidy the night before you will have an “easy morning” but really you spend too much time doing pointless things that will all be “undone” 5 minutes after the kids wake up the next morning and wake up WAY too late which causes more chaos and gives that ol’ devil a chance to keep you out of church that Sunday morning. Yes, I know his tricks - sometimes I give in to them thinking that this time will be different and sometimes Im smarter - but most of the time I give in to the struggle and before its too late I realize he won that Saturday night battle - But the best news of all, is that Satan may win a battle here and there but I know who always wins the war - our precious savior Jesus Christ - and although the struggle on Sundays is always more real than any other day - I will always keep pushing to get to our family to church that morning. I will never let the devil win the war! 

Let me tell you a story about Easter Sunday. Now every Sunday, the devils works hard to get us OUT of church instead of staying IN church. - but he worked EXTRA hard on Easter Sunday.

Some of the amazing picture perfect shots I got Easter morning
Just like I stated earlier, the Saturday night before church was a typical chaotic night. We decided to let the kids open their easter baskets the night before since we knew I would be alone with the kids easter morning while Mitchell served early at church but >crazy us< didn't remember that chocolate and bedtime DO NOT go very well together. Bedtime ended up way behind the time it was supposed to be and we all stayed up way too late. Mitchell had to be at church early that Sunday morning which meant I got the privilege of getting the kids all dressed in their VERY Sunday best. It was Easter Sunday and because we are in the south, that means every hair is curled and every tag is popped off of those new easter clothes you searched for weeks and weeks to wear for today only. The kids screamed for candy for breakfast, I warmed up my coffee 5 times (I kept tally on the chalkboard beside the coffee maker!), no one wanted to come downstairs and once I finally got everyone down, the kids acted like I was injuring them while trying to get them dressed. My hair and makeup that I had gotten up early to do 3 hours before anyone else was awake was now the true definition of “a hot mess”. My hair was now as flat as pancake and my makeup had been washed off by all the sweat I had produced while battling 3 little ones who were much smaller than me yet somehow much stronger than me lol. I finally got everyone dressed and in the car and away from their Easter baskets by convincing them they could have just one piece of candy on the way to church. Steven screamed for me to play “Thunderstruck” by ACDC in the car (his favorite song because he thinks Ironman sings it) and after the 50th screaming request I gave in. We rolled into the church parking lot dressed in our Easter best while “THUNDER” blared very loudly from our big fancy family SUV. We hurried out of the car and into church before anyone could put my face with the car that was blaring heavy metal in the church parking lot with 3 little ones in the back seat. lol. We made it to the line at the nursery check in 15 minutes before service started. Last Easter, during nursery check in, I had both twins in my arms when Steven lifted my dress up in front of everyone. With my arms filled with kids, I was totally helpless and left me showing everything I had to everyone around me on the most populated day at church all year. When that didn't happen this year I thought things were finally looking up! lol!  It wasn't until I walked the kids into the nursery I realized Stevens entire rear was covered in yellow marshmallow candy and the twins had chocolate all over them and their fancy expensive Easter outfits, and it looked a whole lot like something else instead of a whole lot of chocolate. I ran out of the nursery before anyone could notice I was the one who had dropped off the dirty kids and joined Mitchell just in time for worship. Worship was amazing and all the troubles of getting the kids to church had been melted away from my memory. We sat down ready to hear the sermon and I realized “ Wow, Mitchell got some great seats right in the front- this is awesome but I sure hope I don't have to get up and go anywhere during the service because Ill have to walk in front of all these people!” - As that thought crossed my mind Mitchell nudged my shoulder and pointed up to the top right of the screen on the stage where I saw Charlottes number flashing. At our church each child has a number and if the nursery cant get your child to calm down they flash your number on the screen as a way for you to come get them. I ALMOST DIED. Here we were sitting right in the front, everyone knows what the flashing number on the screen meant and everyone would know that I was the mother of that flashing number when I got up and walked in front of EVERYONE to make it to the back door to the nursery. Mortified, I walked back to get Charlotte, who was totally loosing it and crying for Candy - yes candy - she was screaming it over and over. I tried to calm her down but when I couldn’t get her quiet,  I took a peppermint I found from the lobby and let her eat it. I thought it would calm her down and buy me some time to listen to the service outside the door but she ate it in record time and the started screaming “candy” louder and louder. I gave up, got all the kids out of the nursery early and waited in the lobby with the kids until the service was over. I was SO upset - jealousy flooded by head, my face was burning. I kept thinking “Well Mitchell is inside hearing that wonderful message that I needed to hear SO bad while Im out here burning slap up trying to remember I'm at church and I need to keep my voice down as I threaten the kids lives if they run from me one more time”.  When the service ended,  I put on my fake smile as friends and family came out of the service. Everyone looked so refreshed - They had all been inside celebrating the most wonderful day of the year. Yep - I was not happy I ended up spending the service I had worked so hard to get to running after 3 kids who were hyped up on sugar and caffeine.

We left church and started the journey from one end of the county to the other by visiting our families on each side and spending the rest of the day trying our best to get the kids to nap in the car from one family event to the next. Because my kids are freaks of nature some days, they went the whole day without naps, and when we finally got home at 8:00 that night, they refused to go to bed like I assumed they would easily do! The kids were crying and soon after I was crying too!  I wanted to end this day with a feeling of joy, not a feeling of jealousy, anger, frustration and exhaustion. I wanted a blessing from the Lord that day and when we finally got everyone down for bed and I sat down for the first time the whole day, I realized I was not going to get it. Mitchell went on to bed and I stayed in the living room feeling so defeated. I wanted to go to church, serve the Lord with my whole heart and end my Sundays feeling like I had accomplished something for the Lord. Instead I felt like I had been running a rat race the whole day - The devil was still hanging out laughing because he thought he was winning the battle on that Easter Sunday. 

I stared at the wall and just sat there - totally quiet. When we are quiet we are able to hear our precious Lord speak to us. I felt the lord stir up my spirit and as I began to pray I heard him speak - “Don’t stop”. It was exactly what I needed to hear - Don't stop trying to get everyone ready for church on Sundays - just get them there and Ill do the rest. Don't stop trying to serve me - you are serving me while working hard to keep your family on track. Don't stop fighting for your family, Don't stop playing for your family, Don’t stop trying to hear the word - you can watch that service you missed online right now - and even better - you can watch it your pajamas instead of that dress and that uncomfortable shape wear that was making you sweat more than ever. Just don't stop. 

Sunday Morning Southern Belle 
Those words made me think back to my childhood . One of the biggest thing I can thank my parents for is making sure when we were growing up we were always at church on Sundays. It didn't matter what had gone on that weekend, how tired we were, what kind of fight we put our parents through, how much we did not want to be there - we were there. Because of that - the seed was planted deep in my heart, my Sunday school teachers, youth pastors, church pastors, church friends and family watered it every Sunday and it helped me become the Believer, Wife and Mother that I am today. All because my mama didn't let all that Saturday night and Sunday morning drama keep us from hearing the word of God on Sundays. Steven is still young but he knows about Jesus and knows that Sundays are the days we spend time at church. When he sees me cleaning and setting out chairs, he always asks me if its time for “Small Group Jesus time” - He may only be 3 but he sees his mama and daddy serving the Lord - something that I hope starts that seed inside of him. 

Sundays are far from easy-  they are the hardest day of the week around my house. But I know its because the devil is working overtime to keep me from getting to church and serving my King. I can look back on my life and remember so many times when it would have been so much easier to not have to mess with church. It was even easier when Mitchell and I just went to church instead of serving. It was when we discovered our purpose the Lord had given us here on this earth and began to pursue it with everything we had that we realized it wouldn't be easy but it would be worth it. Luke 22:27-30 “Who would you rather be: the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner? You’d rather eat and be served, right? But I’ve taken my place among you as the one who serves. And you’ve stuck with me through thick and thin. Now I confer on you the royal authority my Father conferred on me so you can eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and be strengthened as you take up responsibilities among the congregations of God’s people.”  The greatest in God’s sight are those who humbly serve, the ones who face the challenges of the day and keep pursing Him and keep serving Him no matter what. Its the one who keep going and never stops that the Lord sees, not the ones who sit back and say “thats just too hard for me, I’m not dealing with it”  Would it be easy for Mitchell and I to just watch church online and avoid the hassle of getting the kids dressed and out the door? Would it be easy for us to stop teaching our small groups, finding a sitter for the kids and getting the house clean in time for company? Would it be easier for us to avoid serving at church and raising new leaders up so we could just sit at home and have that “easy like Sunday morning” experience? Yes it probably would - but what do we gain?? Earthly pleasure? Not interested - I’m here to win souls for Christ and fulfill the purpose that the Lord has made me for and to work towards the rewards that I will benefit from in Heaven eternally, not just worldy, short term gain.

A picture from this morning before church - everyone really cooperated 
I always listen to the Commodores sing “Easy” on Sunday mornings as I get dressed or on the way to church so I can always laugh and think about how far from easy it actually is, but I focus on the fact that even if its not easy, just like the Lord told me in my living room that Easter Sunday, I wont stop. Easter didn't go as planned for me and I may not of gotten the blessing I had pictured but I got something much better - that was the understanding that Jesus came and died on the cross not just so I could go to heaven, but so I could have the opportunity to get my family and friends to come to heaven with me. I wont stop taking my kids to church on Sunday and I wont stop serving Him because I want my children to see that no matter how hard things can be - you can always run to Jesus and feel that freedom and that “relaxing, easy Sunday morning feeling” that really only the Lord can truly give us. 

Mamas, can I encourage you to fight through that Sunday morning and get your family to church. It is all worth it when you see your child engaging in the children church lesson, hearing them say sweet prayers, being able to understand exactly who Jesus is and accepting them into their heart. I can promise you that all that drama of getting them dressed for church, struggling to get them in the car and how they acted that morning is nothing to the feeling of seeing your child begin a relationship with Jesus. And because you “didn't stop” your children will be in heaven with you one day. They will tell others about Jesus and then those people will be in heaven and it goes on and on.  Its easy to feel like you are not “serving” God in the way that you would like in this season of life but remember Hebrews 6:10 “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” The Lord sees us working even when we think no one sees and by getting our family to church so they can hear the word and feel His spirit, we are truly serving God. We will get that “easy like Sunday morning” feeling one day when we are in heaven, relaxing and rejoicing that we are with our family and our Lord and Savior. Don’t let the devil continue to camp out at your house on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings -  remind him who always wins and no matter what - DON’T STOP! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

"Girl, You got two in there!"


Thanks time hop - I realized today that 2 years ago I found out I was pregnant with the twins! How was that 2 years ago????? Here is the story of how I found out, something I will never ever ever forget! Hope it makes you laugh and gives you some encouragement today! 

My sweet Steven - When he was born he became my whole world.  He was the sweetest baby, one that hated sleep but LOVED his mama. My husband works a lot so many times it was just me and my sweet Roni. I took him everywhere, the park, museums, all the fun places toddlers wanted to go. It was just me and him the majority of the time. He completely changed me into a mother and everything revolved around him, when we ate, when we slept, when we went out. My love for him was so big I couldn't imagine my life with anymore children.  So when my husband said he thought we should have another child I was not so sure. 

How in the world could I love another baby as much as I love Steven? How in the world could I handle anymore sleepless nights??? (Steven was a horrible sleeper for the first 18 months of his life) All these thoughts flooded my mind - I just didn't think I could handle any more kids. I didn't think my love could grow any bigger! But after lots of prayer and realizing one child is not what God wanted for our family,  I finally decided that 2015 was the year to add another precious baby to our family - but I had ONE rule - I DID NOT want to be pregnant in the summer - I wanted a nice cool winter pregnancy, one where my pregnancy hot flashes could be cooled down by one step outside in the cool air. The southern summers in Alabama can be brutal and that atmosphere was something I did not want to experience pregnant. BUT God had other plans……

At the end of January of 2015, my husband came home from our church’s 21 days or prayer to a very sick wife - Me - sitting in the bathroom floor in a bathrobe, thinking I was totally dying, with Steven hanging on my back. Our church has a period of 21days of prayer at the beginning of the year so we can fast and focus on Jesus and the year ahead of us. I had been praying during the 21 days of prayer that God would use me to the best of his ability that year, that I would be able to trust him more than I ever had before. Little did I know he was answering my prayers in a way I would have never thought. 

“Mitchell , I am dying - I just know it - Also, Im pregnant so get Steven off of me for a second so I can go to sleep”  Yes I know - this was the most romantic way of telling your husband you were pregnant. lol. I don't do romance - I do TRUTH! LOL! I was sick and miserable and had just taken a pregnancy test that read positive almost the second I looked at it. I didn't have time to be all romantic and tell him in a special fancy way - I just wanted him to get Steven off of me for a minute and for me to pass out in the bed! lol! He was so happy, and although I was miserable, I was happy too. It happened very fast and that day while I was sitting in the bed trying to make the morning sickness go away, I realized that it was January - 9 months from January was September - I would be pregnant in the summer - the hot hot hot hot summer - I looked up as if I was talking to Jesus and said “Real funny God - Real Funny!”  I did not want to be pregnant in the summer and lo and behold - I would be pregnant in the summer. Bring on the high electricity bill because that air was being turned down to 60 and STAYING there until I gave birth! lol! 

The weeks leading up the first doctors appointment were ROUGH. No one knew I was pregnant but Mitchell and the ALL DAY sickness was horrible. I looked rough and felt rough. This pregnancy had hit me like a ton of bricks - nothing like the pregnancy I had with Steven. We went to the doctor for my 9 week check up - We had Steven with us because we thought we would be in and out pretty fast. We went inside the room for an ultrasound, the tech talking to us about the weather, about the wild toddler below my feet getting into everything, and then - in a nonchalant way she said “Girl you go two in there!”

“TWO WHAT?????” was the only response I could say. 

“Um - two babies - you are having twins! Congratulations” 

At this time, Steven knocked over a lamp that was in the room and in the few seconds after I started picturing my life - Kids, kids everywhere - chaos, money here and there, diapers, throw up, what. in. the. world. 

And then I realized the summer pregnancy - Pregnant with twins in the summer - that Alabama summer - the RECORD BREAKING HEAT OF THE ALABAMA SUMMER! 

OH JESUS! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

TWINS? HOW? WHAT? WHY? No one ever told me there were twins any where in our family! Twins had NEVER crossed my mind. TWINS! TWINS! TWINS! 

I didn't speak another word for the rest of the day. The doctor came in, congratulated us and told us how excited he was to deliver twins, how they looked perfectly healthy and how wonderful it was going to be. He gave me some medicine for my extreme sickness and sent us on our way with a picture of the twins just hanging out in my belly, growing perfectly yet terrifying me like crazy. 

The car ride home was a quiet one. Mitchell kept staring at me, nervous laughter, and then he would tell a corny joke, anything to try to get me to talk but I didn't. He dropped Steven and me off at home and went on to work. After I put Steven down for a nap, I got in the bed and pulled out my phone. I googled triple strollers and almost passed out at the prices of the strollers. Steven would be 26 months old when the twins would be born. I started doubting EVERYTHING- even doubting God. I thought of the things I wanted to do one day and literally felt them crushing at my feet. I had been given some of the best news someone could ever hear yet I was taking it as some of the most horrible news I could ever hear. 

I then picked up the phone and called my best friend, Jill Rae. Jill has been my best friend since we were in middle school. We are opposites but opposites attract and I couldn't do life without her. She is a missionary in Mexico and no matter how busy she is she always has time to talk and that day was nothing different. She answered the phone and the minute I heard her say hello I started crying. I told her I was pregnant with twins and started going on and on about how I couldn't believe it - how am i supposed to do this, how am I supposed to do that! What am I going to do?

I will never forget what she told me that day. She said “Ashley, you know God is giving you these babies because he knows NO ONE but you can raise them up the way he wants them to be raised! He is giving them to YOU because he knows you can do it! How amazing is that!”

Then I started thinking of my prayers from the 21 days. My prayer journal had “ God let me trust you more” written in it probably over 100 times. Now, here, in this moment is when I had to trust Gods plan for my life. He was giving me some of the greatest gifts on the earth. He thought so much of me that he was giving me not only one more precious baby but TWO more precious babies to add to our family. Why? Because he believed in me and he knew I could handle it. If God thinks that much of me, I will take whatever he sends my way!

The same day we found out we were pregnant with twins was the first night of our church marriage conference. Mitchell was so happy when he picked me up and I was finally speaking to him. lol. My attitude had been changed by realizing that God was blessing us more than he ever could. The marriage conference was amazing and knowing that I was pregnant and could enjoy the desert without feeling any guilt was just as amazing! lol! The pregnancy didn't seem so hard anymore - It seemed like something I was ready to take on - something I knew God had set for my life. Gods plans were different than mine - Why? Because he wanted MORE from me than I could ever imagine. 

Are you going through something where you think you just cant make it? Where you wonder if God is even listening? Is this part of his plan? What is he trying to do to me?!?!?!!?!?!

Can I assure you that even though you think God is not there, he is! Even though you think that what you are going through is not part of the plan for your life, it is!  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God KNOWS the plans he has for our life - plans to give us HOPE and a future! Everything we go through is part of a big puzzle, one we are adding to piece by piece, one that God designed specifically for our lives. To be honest, the day I found out I was pregnant with twins was one where I pictured my life in shambles. I cried so hard thinking I was going to never be able to do anything for myself anymore. I had a selfish way of viewing my life and I also had issues with letting go and letting God. My plan was to have another baby and live the perfect little life in my perfect little house with my perfect husband and perfect, equal numbered family. But that is not what God saw. He saw SO much more for me. He wanted to bless me MORE than I could ever imagine and more than how I had planned it out to be. My prayers were being answered - I was learning to trust him and even though some days are harder than others I trust him more and more every single day.  I am so glad that God is in control of my future and not me. Gosh, I can barely control my laundry pile - I sure don't want to be in control of my future! 

I survived the Alabama summer bring pregnant with twins and a toddler. It was not easy but I did it!! lol! This time 2 years ago I was a terrified mother trying to figure out what Gods plans were for my life and here I am today, confident and in awe of what God has done in me since then. I am so thankful for these sweet precious babies of mine. And although I was so worried my love wouldn't be big enough for more children, it was. My love tripled when we added baby 2 & 3 to our life. I am so underserving and so thankful for his blessings on my life. 

And of course - I cant leave out the video telling our parents we were pregnant with twins. 

When we told my parents we were pregnant with Steven the video ended up on America’s Funniest Home Videos and of course this one is just as funny! They had been keeping Steven over the weekend so we could go to our church marriage conference. Doesn't my mama look just adorable in her moo moo? LOL!!!!!!!