Sunday, July 25, 2010

Getting My Feet Wet

Church today was awesome. Have you ever felt like everything was geared just for you? It's a shame that everyone had to be there today just on my account because that's exactly how I felt. Recently there have been a few changes in my life regarding God and my service for Him. I've been at home with the youngsters for as long as I can remember. I've always served in the Preschool department no matter where I've attended. I even taught the little ones when I had a real job! Well, God has decided that I'm done there and has moved me to the youth. At first, I thought He was crazy. But then again, some would say that there's not much difference between the preschoolers and the youth. Anyone who's the mother of a teenager will testify to that. In all actuality, God had some pretty big changes in store for our church's preschool and children's ministries. He knew that I would not be able to handle these changes well if I was fully entrenched in the ministries so He moved me out early for my own protection. Isn't He amazing?! It's just this week that I've seen His guidance come full circle and I'm pretty awed by His love for me.

Today all started during worship. We were singing "Come Thou Fount", which I love but Bear says I just like the hymns because I'm old. Anyways, the phrase "tune my heart to sing thy praise" got to me today. Maybe because our new worship leader has a pink clippy thing that tunes his guitar. I don't know. I do know that my mind instantly started doing that Google thing where it runs in a million different directions that all are connected somehow. Think "6 Degrees of Separation" on steroids. I thought that guitars are usually tuned by either clipping the strings or twisting the knobs on the neck. Pianos are tuned by twisting the strings also. When I played trumpet, I used a stopper plug thingy in the end of it to alter the sound. Either way, usually when an instrument's tuned, there's some kind of twisting, clipping, plugging, pushing, pulling stuff going on. Isn't that just what the Lord does to us? He gets us out of our comfort zone and twists us so He can work. Sometimes it even takes me putting a plug in it long enough for Him to speak. And when I'm tuned to where He wants me, it always results in praise.

This week is also YOUTH CAMP!!!!! Yes, I will be attending with both my babies and TEACHING a breakout session to the middle school and high school girls. Good grief! Can you say "freaked out"?! Did I mention that Bear may or may not be there the whole week? What in the world?!

Well, in preparation for camp we talked about Joshua and the Israelites. In order to enter the Promised Land, they had to cross a river. At flood stage. With a million people or so. Yeah, okay. In Joshua 3:1-4, God tells the people to follow the ark, which represented His Presence among them. "Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before" (Joshua 3:4). Um, okay God. Gotcha. I've been scared to death working with my group of girls. They are the sweetest things and so precious but it's just different and I've never been here before. Sound familiar? Okay, so He's got my back. But it's TOMORROW!!!!! I haven't even packed yet! And I'm taking my kids, Lord. Did You remember that or did You just think they could pack themselves? Then we got to verse 5: "Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you". Yep. Just for me. So tonight, I'm consecrating myself. Washing myself clean from all anxiety and doubt and ready for the Lord to do amazing things.

I ask for you to please pray for....

  1. Obviously safety traveling and throughout the week as the kids will be playing paintball, white water rafting, etc. (John 17:15)
  2. That while teaching, the words coming out of my mouth will be His and not my own. (Isaiah 51:16) Bear's also teaching breakout sessions at the beginning of the week so please pray for Him as well.
  3. A long-suffering patience with my children. (Proverbs 14:29)
  4. Nap time or some semblance of it somewhere during our day so evening worship isn't a bust. (I mean for my kids but I'll probably need one before the week's over!) (Proverbs 3:24)
  5. The kids will be receptive to the Spirit and boldly act in obedience to His convictions. (2 Corinthians 9:13)
I think that covers it. I could list a million things really quickly but this post is already long enough! I'll try to post some pictures from camp if I can. Thank ya'll and remember us! :)
"Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away...The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground." Joshua 3:15-17

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Parent or Pet Owner?

I realize that I haven't written about sweet angel girl, but she's been teething. And who wants their debut to be in full out ugly cry? So now it's finally her turn...and it ain't pretty.

Lately I've been asking myself, "Am I a proud parent or a pet-owner?" I know I'm the mother of two children but evidence around our house states otherwise.

Exhibit A: Piddles

The other night Bear got home before dinner was ready so he offered to take the kids to the pool while I finished in the kitchen. They came back right as it was time to eat so we just stripped her down to her swimmie diaper and began supper. As most of you know, those things aren't worth the paper they're made out of and their absorbency levels are null and void. Sure as the world, she chooses this opportunity to relieve herself......all over Bear and my kitchen floor.

Exhibit B: Teeth Marks
They're everywhere! Shoes, our coffee table, her crib, Jonah's belt, MY BIG TOE.....they're all marked with the same little half-moon shaped indentations.

Exhibit C: Puppy-Proofing
I feel like that's what I've been doing. Everything from about knee level down has been raised a good two feet. Everything that's been on the edges of the side tables, nightstands, kitchen counters, etc. gets shoved towards the center so that exploring little fingers can't get to it. Also, if any member of the family is eating anything it has to be done either standing up or sitting on the bar stools. No more leaving your plate to get something from the fridge. You leave it and it's fair game!

Exhibit D: Wet Kisses and Mucus.....Lots of Mucus
Picture Hooch from "Turner & Hooch". Every ounce of love comes wrapped in drool and snot. Lovely.

Exhibit E: Crawling
She's always on all fours. Some would say like a canine.

Exhibit F: Scratches
Granted, this has nothing to do with teething and everything to do with the fact that Mommy always forgets to trim fingernails but still. I'm covered in scratches and it looks like I've been in a fight with an ally cat.
They just don't prepare mothers for this sort of thing. I swear, everyone should be schooled on teething before leaving the hospital, especially on molars! Then again, maybe not. I don't think anyone would leave with their baby! When Jonah went through this I asked my mom, "How long do they teeth?"
"Years," was her reply. Did I mention that we're in the middle of a Motrin/Tylenol/EVERYTHING recall?

I say this all in fun because really, I couldn't ask for a better baby. She's so good that it's almost annoying (to other people, of course). Last night, while I was rocking her to sleep I started singing "This is My Father's World". Eyes shut, she proceeds to take her passie out of her mouth, raise it up in the air, wave it, and sing as loudly as she could! "Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Oooohhhhhhhhhh, Ehhhhhhhhhhhh" Bless her. My heart melted. I guess this baby raisin' thing ain't so bad after all.

Now if only I can get her to devour God's Word as vigorously as she's chowing down on Daddy's flip-flop.....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Jonism: a comment, thought process, theory, or simply an observation based upon life as perceived by our three-year-old, Jonah

Today, as we were going through the McDonald's drive-"way"....

"Mommy, I sure hope they are in a good mood today because if they are than perhaps they will give me a boy toy. (As opposed to the girl toy, barrettes, that Burger King gave him by mistake a few weeks ago.) I would like to order chicken nuggets and a hamburger, apple slices, and some bubbles (any carbonated beverage). The brown kind (Coke)."
He just got the nuggets. I don't understand the fascination with combo platters lately.

Later at the library, while waiting for it to open (1:00 on Wednesdays)......

"Mommy, how long 'til it's open?"
"27 minutes, dear. Hmmmmm, I know someone's birthday has a 27. (His is March 27.) And I know someone who's memorizing his Bible verse with a 27 in it. (John 10:27-he totally can do it.) Do you know who that might be?"
"Me. But Mommy, I can't say my Bible verse here because someone will hear me."
"Honey, that's good if they hear you talk about Jesus. Everyone needs to know about Him."
"No, Mommy. I can't because then eeeeeeeeeveryone will see how cute I am and say, 'Oh, that's Jonah! I want to take him home with me!' So I can't."

There you go. I think maybe we'll be working on humility as our next character trait.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bachelorette Parties and Naked Mole Rats

Yep. You read that right.

Friday, I took the kids to the zoo with my friend, Jessie, and her two kids, Grayson and Colbie Via (pronounced Vi). We were either really brave or really crazy. It was SO hot! We went about a month ago and apparently had forgotten the vow to never return after only covering half of the exhibits. The day started out promising. We began at the parakeets, which are housed in a open-air type pen. You walk in and they're free to fly around you much like the butterflies at Callaway Gardens. It was very cool.

The lady told us that they had just released all of the fledglings born this year into the open area and they were trying to get accquainted to their new surroundings. These birds were dive-bombing every person who walked in! Surprisingly, Jonah didn't seem to notice the sneak attacks. All he cared about was feeding the brightly colored birds....of course, because that costs extra. A little girl had bought too many seed sticks so she kindly offered our boys her extras.

After our free hand-feeding, we proceeded with our educational tour. Jessie and I are thinking we're doing pretty good. I mean, we're already beating the system with our free seed sticks. Then came the question of the day: "Are we going to see the naked mole rats?"

Huh? How do three-year-olds know about naked mole rats? We don't even have cable. With every stop came the question, "Is this the naked mole rats? Where are the naked mole rats? I don't see the naked mole rats." To be perfectly honest, I think they just liked saying the word 'naked'. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these dear little creatures, here you go.

Ew. Is that not the grossest thing you've ever seen? They were in heaven!

....and out the other side.....

I think this says it all!

Lewis Grizzard has a quote:

"In the south there's a difference between 'Naked' and 'Nekkid'. 'Naked' means
you don't have any clothes on. 'Nekkid' means you don't have any clothes
on....and you're up to somethin'!"
I don't know about you but something this ugly is definitely up to somethin'!
Speaking of.... Saturday night was my sister's bachelorette party. She's getting married August 15 in Mexico.

Our "Tantie Tatie"
No, this is not her real dress.
Check out that bow in the back. That's my handiwork!
It was an interesting night to say the least. This little Cinderella was home before midnight lest she turn into a pumpkin but the part of the festivities I did partake in were enough to last me a lifetime. I told Bear I'm so glad I will never be in the dating game again. Way too much pressure! My seat was by the front door and I enjoyed people-watching most of the evening. Every single person looked like they had tried so hard to look just like everybody else. They all cared so hard what people thought and the goal was all the same: to get 'nekkid'. You know it was.
On the way home, I pondered the blessing of nakedness. (Could've been the Spanx digging into my ribs or the delayed heat stroke from the zoo-I don't know.) The purpose of Jesus was so I could be naked before God, Maker of Heaven and Earth. He came to bring me back to the way it was supposed to be in the Garden. No pressure, pretense, or prejudice. Just me. The real me. Pretty amazing. Pretty incredible. Pretty hard for me.
I'm not usually one to raise my hands or lose myself in worship while at church. What would people think? I mean, what if someone was watching? He is watching. Waiting for me to drop my own pride and come to Him completely open, completely honest, completley naked. Baring all of my questions and doubts. Funny thing is He desires me to be 'naked' even when I'm 'nekkid'. And it's when I'm 'nekkid' that I truly need to be 'naked'. Does that make sense? I hope so. It was pretty late when this hit me and at the time it seemed quite profound. It's pretty scary too, beng naked before God with all of my faults and failures, but He knows me already. He knows all of that and yet still loves me. There's no shame involved because there I find forgiveness. So I find it encouraging and hope you do too.

"The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." Genesis 2:25

This is where all the little naked mole rats entered....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Every Thing There Is A Season...

Okay, before continuing with this post I want to state for the record that I will NOT be posting as often as I have in the past, say, 24 hours. For one thing, my dad has requested his laptop and Internet card back (something about that's important) so there goes my access. That and my husband is about to revoke my blogging privileges. But this post had to happen because the primaries are next Tuesday. With that said, I don't want to use this blog as my personal soapbox but cupid's arrow has struck!

Let me back up. Bear is undeniably the love of my life. He fulfills every wish I had in the idea of a husband and father and I couldn't be happier. Prior to our meeting, however, there was one who held my heart like none other. It all began on November 7, 2000. I was a college freshman and a newbie to all things political. I did take Political Science my junior year in high school but that semester was mainly spent writing notes in French (to avoid anyone reading them, of course) to Elizabeth, my best friend, about the latest news in the halls. So I was enthralled. Sucked into the war of good vs. evil played out in every late night talk show and media website. If I could've staged a sit-in in Milledgeville, I would've. It's just that there are no liberals in middle Georgia so it would've held no political significance whatsoever.

Enter George W. Bush.

Yes, I realize that I just lost a bunch of you. But you have to understand at the young age of 19, the silver hair, that sheepish grin, his southern accent, and those smoldering eyes were more than I could stand.

BENTON HARBOR, MI - MAY 28: Former President George W. Bush speaks at the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan May 28, 2009 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Bush was to discuss his presidency and life, as well as the economy and world events in his first speech since leaving office. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

That and his wife has GREAT hair.

Former First Lady Laura Bush waves to the crowd as she is introduced at the 2009 National Children's Cancer Society Award Dinner in St. Louis on September 26, 2009. Bush attended the dinner to accept the 2009 Alvin K. Stolze International Humanitarian Award from the society. UPI /Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

Yes, I am fully aware that I just set a bunch of ya'll up for a perfect opportunity to completely ridicule me but I don't care. I'm proud of my unrequited love affair. Granted this is all pre-9/11. The terrorists took a toll on dear Georgie and he never quite recovered.

Just shy of one year later, in October 2001, imagine my delight when I began dating William Wayne Keeling. I got my own "W"! After serious heart-to-hearts, a few tears, and some heated debates, Bear allowed to "grandfather in" my love to our marriage. (No pun intended.) Well, it's been a good run but Dubya has moved on and so must I.

Tonight at church, Jody Hice spoke. He is Georgia's 7th District Congressional Candidate.

As soon as he began wrapping up his session, I leaned in close to Bear and whispered, "I think I just got a new boyfriend" which was promptly followed by a spousal eye-roll. I added, "I think this is blog-worthy" hence the aforementioned revoking of privileges. While my relationship with G-Dub was purely based on physical attraction, Jody and I share strictly an intellectual bond. (His wife of 27 years may be reading this.) He means business and I love it! How should I put this? He wasn't confrontational or judgemental, as the stereotype for Republicans tends to be. But he also refuses to back down from Truth and is not afraid to tackle it in the public arena like others are. I really, really liked him. His arguments were so well-thought out and based on what our founding fathers intended for this country as well as Scripture. This is definitely admitting my ignorance but I have no idea what boundaries define Georgia's 7th Congressional district. All I'm sayin' is if Hice is on your ballet come next Tuesday, check that box! Seriously, I believe that he will defend Jesus Christ and the Bible in Washington and we need more of that. Check out his website:

Charles Stanley, Andy's dad, challenged his congregation on July 4 to pray for the next 20 weeks for our nation. (The video's on YouTube...."Turning the Tide"-check it out. It's great. And definitely more entertaining than summer programming. Although, "So You Think You Can Dance" is awesome....) Tonight, Jody Hice specified that challenge. He asked for people to pray at 7:14 a.m. and p.m. for our nation to return to its Christian heritage. Why 7:14?

2 Chronicles 7:14

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Please join me in interceding before the Throne to plead our Lord to bless this nation once more.

Now. I will leave you until next week....unless I can wrestle the laptop away from Dad sooner! ;)

Driving Lessons

For his birthday, Jonah received a John Deere Gator. He affectionately calls it his "John Deere Bota" because my dad has a Kubota in which he does yard work, toots around the neighborhood, and does all sorts of grampa-ish stuff. I'm sure both tractor companies are thrilled with the misnomer.

Anyways, he LOOOOOVES his "Bota". He drives all around our yard loading, unloading, dumping, pushing, pulling, giving rides, etc. I'm convinced that there's a love for all things mechanical ingrained in boys at the moment of conception.

Strapping Woody in for a ride

Crank it up!

What good is a tailgate if it doesn't dump?
Now our driveway is not that hard. In fact, it's quite simple.

For unknown reasons, certain family members have a hard time mastering it's simplicity.

So I can understand why our three year old considers it perfectly normal to run over bushes, shrubs, flower beds, or any other type of low-lying vegetation.

A while back, Jonah was piddling around in his JDB while Bear was transplanting some trees and plants in the yard. (He's dedicated to reverse the slow destruction of our plant life. It's his cause.) Jonah asked if he could go through the bushes- a normal occurrence in our house while in a car, apparently. Bear told him no, so he put it in reverse and moved on to an alternate route. Well, 3 or 4 minutes later Jonah made his way straight through an Indian Hawthorne.

Bear proceeded to go through our discipline routine.
"Did Daddy tell you not to go through the bushes?"
"Did you obey?"
"What happens when you don't obey?"
"I get 2 spankings." (Yes, we spank. Call DFCS.)
"Come here...."
"Hey, Daddy-Can I just have 1?"
"Wait a minute! Daddy! Jesus took my punishment. He took my spankings away!"

Um, yeah. Talk about a Twix moment. We had been talking about what the cross means and how Jesus took our punishment for us, explaining mercy is not getting the judgement we deserve. Wow. He was listening. Wow. How do you answer that one?

Well, he did get a spanking. Consistency is key, right? But afterwards, we talked with him about how discipline is not punishment. Often we confuse God's discipline with punishment because it's hard. But that's what He uses to protect us and put us on the right path. And if He didn't love us, He wouldn't bother. All that from an afternoon in the yard and a mother who may need some driving lessons.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." -Hebrews 12:11
"My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in."
-Proverbs 3: 11-12

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting Started

The most annoying thing about being a Keeling is Christmas, hands down. Let me explain. You see, every single blood member of the Keeling family has at least one talent. When I say "talent", I'm talking a skill that any normal-type person would kill to have, usually on some sort of professional level, that exceeds all human imagination with absolutely no exertion of effort whatsoever. For Christmas, each member creates a hand-made gift for a person assigned to them the previous year. Every December I am witness to some of the most amazing craftsmanship as person after person presents his or her creation. There have been quilts, needlepoints depicting family members (like a photograph-I'm NOT exagerating), tables, chairs, guitars (yes, handmade and working), paintings that are worthy of Sotheby's,and one year there was even a whole room! It's humbling to say the least. What is probably the most annoying part of all is when questioned about their handiwork, every member will usually say, "Oh, I was going to really start earlier but life was so busy...I got the idea 3 days ago and just finished this morning at 2 a.m. Careful, the stain's probably still wet." What?! In all my life I could never begin to do what these people do and yet, here I am...a Keeling.

When I joined the family, I desperately wanted to participate but could never figure out what in the world I could do. Nothing that I could scrounge together would be fit to present to the family pet, let alone someone that I loved and respected. Yes, I know the whole point is "It's the thought that counts" but who really wants to be stuck with a home-grown Chia pet or their very own personalized sock puppet? I think not. After taking inventory of my God-given abilities, there is one that surpasses even some of the most-talented Keelings. I have been given the gift of gab. It's undeniable. Strangers have even commented on my prowess in the communication field.

So, here's where the blog begins. Since we rarely see family outside of holidays and special occasions, I figured this would be a great way for everyone to see our kids and learn more about us. It's a very raw work in progress since we don't have Internet at our house. (Yes, we are from the tribe that still communicates by smoke signal.) I'm figuring out all kinds of things on the world-wide web so things may change often around here. That and I may accidentally delete the entire thing occasionally....just to keep things lively. :)

On a more serious note, ever since I became a mother God has used my children to teach me some pretty profound stuff. (Like did anyone else know paper is edible? Who knew crawling tots love it's irresistable taste and texture?! I think it's in the grain category...) I titled the blog "Acorns to Oaks" after Isaiah 61:3. My prayer for both of my children is for them to grow strong in the Lord, mighty as oaks, rooted deep in Christ's love for them. But for now, they're my little acorns entrusted to me to water and fertilize. I'll share silly stories and some serious insights along the way. And if anyone else finds this interesting, maybe they could show me how to macrame next year's gift......
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