Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Strong Enough"

(by Matthew West)



"You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

Chorus:
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't You cover me
Lord, right now I'm asking You to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out

Chorus

Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
And You are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough..."

First, I'd like to thank you for your prayers. I could feel them, and I love and appreciate y'all so much for your prayers, your support & your kind words. I'd also like to go ahead and state that I am not trying to say that my circumstances even begin to compare to the devastation of the people in today's video. This song has been very encouraging to me lately, and this video is the only official version of the song that I can find.

Okey doke...y'all were forewarned, so here goes...I decided to go ahead & tell you about my emotional meltdowns ~ not so you'll feel sorry for me, but so you can see the other side...To make a long story short, there's a little situation regarding a check we received from the hospital where Christopher gets his scans. For whatever reason it was returned (three months after we deposited it), and I've had to make a bunch of phone calls (to both the hospital & the bank ~ both of whom indicate that the other party is at fault) to try to get it resolved. It still isn't resolved, but I'm hopeful that it will be one day. Anyways, during phone call #7 (out of 10 so far), I was placed on hold...

...and that's when the meltdown began. Yes, I had a little meltdown while I was on hold for the umpteenth time. They were playing pity party music, so I gave in & had one. I was overwhelmed & frustrated, and I was mad that I was even in the situation to begin with. Because if it wasn't for stupid cancer, then I wouldn't have to go through any of it. After I got off that phone call (I had composed myself by the time the person got back on the line, in case you wondered), I spent some time venting all of my frustrations to God & explaining to Him that I just wasn't strong enough to deal with this. {I know I was a whiny little baby, but I think He understood} I sat on the floor in my closet & told Him how much it sucked that I have to deal with all of it ~ and how I'm not strong enough to handle cancer, much less all of the other stuff. And if He thought I was strong enough to handle it, then He must have me mistaken for someone else. {Yes, I told Him that. See? I told you I was a whiny baby. Don't worry, I don't believe it. I know that He knows who I am! I was just frustrated!}

I'd like to say that I arrived at a better place that day, but I prefer to keep things honest with y'all. It didn't get better that day. It actually got worse, because I decided I needed time in the Word. And usually that's a great thing to do, but it didn't work out too well for me at that point. The scripture in my Bible reading plan that day began with Ecclesiastes 7, and verses 1-4 & 13-15 weren't very encouraging for me at the time (nor are they now). I don't understand what that was all about, but I know that at the time I only became more discouraged. {Not the hoped-for result of seeking God in His Word!} Again, I'm just being honest with y'all, & that's how it went down...

Then there's other stuff besides the bank/hospital fiasco...Every six months we get to play the Pre-Authorization Game. You know the one I'm talking about...the one where the doctor asks for insurance to authorize his scans, insurance denies them, and then we get to make even more phone calls. For the record, it's not a fun game to play. We're usually losing for most of it. In the end, we win. But the prize isn't exciting: just a CT scan & sometimes an MRI. And we never win the PET scan, no matter how hard we try. Well, it was in the middle of the Pre-Authorization Game that I had a meltdown when I dropped something by the church after checking my mail & getting the denial letter. Ya, fun stuff...

Anyways, that's my attempt at trying to briefly tell y'all the circumstances leading up to my meltdowns. Now for the good stuff...remember the little venting spell in my closet? Remember how I told God I wasn't strong enough? Ya. I sorta think He was waiting for me to admit that. Any of you who have known Jesus & His Word for any amount of time know 2 Cor. 12:9a, "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'"

Sigh.

As usual, I had been trying to do it on my own. And that is so not a good idea. I totally know that. I've known it forever. But that doesn't mean I'm good at admitting weakness & allowing Him to be strong. And because I can be a stubborn little girl, it took me about a week to really let Him be strong for me. In my own strength, I can't handle cancer. Or frustrating phone calls. Or stupid denial letters. But God is totally strong enough to handle all of that and more! I can't honestly say that I'm at the point where Paul was in 2 Cor 12:10 ~ that I'm taking pleasure in my difficulties right now. But I feel stronger. Not because I am strong, but because He is.

Amy

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Shine"

(by Venice Confinement)



I had a depressing Eisley song post all written, but Gloomy Gus had taken over ~ & I decided that y'all have had enough of him lately. I'm going on about two hours of uninterrupted sleep (partly my fault/partly that spoiled brat of a dog & the grass-eating/puking thing she does every hour throughout the night). So I'd like to ask for your prayers without allowing this to become a pity party! Christopher's scans are in 10 days, and I'm already dealing with some scanxiety about them. Over the past couple of weeks I've had to make about at thousand phone calls (OK, maybe just 10) that led to a couple of emotional meltdowns, and I'd prefer to avoid those. I had one of them in front of people the other day {poor Carrie & Lance ~ I don't think they knew what to do with me! I usually only do that with my BFFs...well, and Pepper's vet...but that was only one time!} Anyways, if you think of me, please pray for peace, rest and that a couple of situations will be resolved so I don't have to deal with that stress on top of the scanxiety over next week. I really appreciate it!

Anyways, I may not be around much this week. The kids are at camp, and I've managed to fill up my days with work and friends. Chris & I went to see our friend Jeremiah & his band last night (the one playing in today's song). We had a great evening with them & their friends (though there were a couple of times when we felt like we were sitting at somebody else's table, 'cuz we barely knew anyone)! We'll have a couple of evenings to chill before he goes out of town & Elly comes back. I'm looking forward to a girl day with her on Friday before Cody comes back! Then VBS is next week, and we still have some things to do to prepare for it. That just leaves a couple of days with nothing planned before Christopher's scans next week. I know that I need some alone time with God in order to have the peace that I need. But if I can be completely honest with y'all, I think I'm over-scheduling as a distraction. That's probably not healthy, but I fear being alone with my thoughts ~ especially this close to scans.

I know that I just spewed a bunch of stuff all over y'all, but there are actually a lot of details that I left out. If I have nothing else to blog about, I may decide to tell y'all about the circumstances leading up to the meltdowns. {Consider this fair warning!} And if there's some resolution, I'll definitely tell y'all about it ('cuz it's a little bit crazy)! Maybe I'll end up in a better mood & post something fun. You never know! Feel free to drop by later this week, if I haven't scared you off! And before you get all worried about me & think I'm walking around in a funk, please know that it's not quite that bad! I didn't even cry when I wrote this! I hope y'all have a super great week!

Amy

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"These Hard Times"

(by NEEDTOBREATHE) These Hard Times - The Outsiders (Deluxe Version)





If you're not a Needtobreathe fan, what's wrong with you? I hope you're not bummed to see so many of their songs on here. Today's song isn't necessarily a reflection of how I'm feeling overall, though I'd be lying if I said I couldn't relate to the words ~ I'm pretty sure I've prayed the chorus a time or two! My favorite part of the song is the pre-chorus (or whatever you call it):

It's clear enough to me
The ugliness I see
Is evidence of Who I need

For those of you who don't live in the area, you may not know that we got some RAIN this week! Before Wednesday, Houston had gone nearly 150 days without getting at least 1/2 inch of rain during a single day. That's craziness! I don't have a rain gauge, but my friend who doesn't live too far away got about 2 inches. That's not enough to make up for the drought, but we'll take whatever we can get!

I got to hang out with a couple of my friends this week. One day, I got to do some scrapbooking with Felicity! I only got four pages done ~ but we hadn't hung out in awhile. There were several times that I just pushed my stuff to the side while we talked. It was good! :) I also got to watch a little TV & bake some desserts with Amy another day! We're WAY behind on MasterChef, though ~ so I'm thinking we need more TV dates!! :)

My babies just finished packing up for church camp this week. The difference in their packing styles cracks me up! Elizabeth makes somewhat neat little stacks on her bed like this:

And then there's Cody...

...with his stuff spread out all over the living room floor!

Speaking of Cody, he bought a new little electric scooter this week (to replace the one he bought last year that a neighbor boy broke). Earlier this evening we went on a little ride to Jana's & back. It was way more fun riding my bike with him on the scooter, because he could actually go pretty fast! I didn't realize how badly the kids need new bikes until I started riding a good one. Poor Cody's gears are all messed up, and Elly only has one speed (which is S-L-O-W) ~ so it hasn't been very fun to go on a bike ride with them.

And while I'm on the subject of bikes, I have to show y'all what I got for my bike this week:

I love things like this, because I'm an organization junkie. Plus I'm a girl, & we have necessities that we have to carry around (& I don't have pockets on all of my shorts). This little bag has a section that holds my phone & sunscreen (in case I forget to apply some before I leave the house), a little pocket for my iPod & Jana's key ('cuz it's super convenient to take care of Trevor if I'm riding by there anyways), another cute little pocket that's just the right size for ChapStick, & it also has room for my garage door opener. I could totally put more in it if I had to, but I can't think of anything else I need in there {expect maybe some Band-aids??} Here's a picture of what I have in the bag, because I'm quirky like that:


Alright, enough with my random pictures & ramblings! I hope y'all are having a super great weekend!! :)

Amy

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Supergirl"

(by Alfa) Supergirl - Second Skin



Last week, I got a package in the mail that brought tears to my eyes. It was from my baby brother (whom I've mentioned a time or two), and this is what it contained:


He also sent a really sweet letter explaining why he had his friend draw it for me. He said, "You're like Supergirl 'cuz you're such a great person, as a mom, sister, daughter & friend. And you save lives, so you're a super hero to your kids, and to me as well." Is he not the sweetest baby brother in the world?! I think that he thinks a little more of his big sister than she really is, but it's super sweet!

Well, this Supergirl is off to save the world...

Amy

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Let's Rock!"

(by Little Big Stuff Music)

{I couldn't find a good version of today's song, & Cody was appalled that I would even consider posting "We Rock" (from Camp Rock). I found this sampler video of the production that the kids participated in last week. I don't expect y'all to watch it all ~ but if you have any desire to hear a clip of today's song, start at 7:46}


As y'all know, my kids got to spend last week at my brother's house. They went there to participate in a music camp that Wendy (my sister-in-law) led at their church all week. The camp consisted of learning a musical (called Let's Rock!) as well as Bible lessons that taught them about using their God-given gifts in the Body of Christ (the theme of the musical). Their church is about an hour away, so the kids were super excited that they got to spend the entire week with their three favorite cousins (rather than me drive them each morning/afternoon). They went to camp in the mornings with grand plans of swimming & playing the Wii each afternoon.

And that's how things went until Wednesday afternoon...

...when Chase (the youngest) got a stomach bug from another camper. Wendy called me to let me know & give me the option of taking my kids home. Maybe I'm weird, but I'm of the mindset that since the kids had already been exposed to a virus then there was no point in bringing them home. Of course, I offered to get them if it would make things easier for Wendy, but she said that 5 kids are easy when it's those 5 kids that we're talking about! {I know I'm a little biased, but it really is true! We are so blessed to have such good kids! And when they're 7-12, they don't require much care. 6 or 7 years ago, it wouldn't have been as easy!}

A few hours later, Wendy called me back to say that Cody was sick, too. :( Again, I offered to pick him up (well actually, for Chris to pick him up ~ 'cuz he was closer), but she said it was best to keep him in one place & not put him in the car for an hour while puking. {Good call!} Fortunately it was only a 12-hour bug, but my poor sweet boy puked all.night.long! And poor Wendy was up all night dealing with both of our baby boys. And puke all the way down the hallway. Nice. {I hope you aren't trying to eat!}

This was the scene on Thursday:

They had to cancel camp, because 22 of the 40 campers had the bug! :(

By Friday morning, everyone had gotten over it and camp resumed. And fortunately for Wendy, our other three kids remained puke-free! Which was a good thing for many reasons ~ one of them being that Cody had a major role and Elly & Ryan had big parts, too! The production turned out SO good! Wendy did an amazing job teaching the songs & working with the kids on their lines. You wouldn't have a clue that they only worked on it for four days!



Kerry & Wendy took pictures of all five kids before the musical:


{You have no idea how rare it is to get a picture of Kerry's kids ~ much less one of them [mostly] smiling! I don't know how they managed this!}

Then there's this one with Chase smiling!


Here's my little rock star!


& my two favorite girls:


& the boys {I know this isn't the best picture ~ but it really is next to impossible to get one of Chase. This is a music camp miracle, so I just have to post all of them that I can! This seriously may never happen again!}


On a completely different note, Zumiez uploaded the photo booth pictures from Saturday...so go check them out if you haven't seen them already! :)

Amy

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Dad Life"

(by Church on the Move)

Jana's sister showed us this video the other day, and I just had to post it! Since I posted an even more random video on Mother's Day, I figured that I couldn't be all serious & stuff for Father's Day. Enjoy!



Amy

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Your Grace is Amazing"

(by Tricia Brock) Your Grace Is Amazing - The Road (Deluxe Edition)





I had planned on telling y'all about my kids' week at my brother's house, but I'm waiting on some pictures from my sis-in-law. And since I've already told y'all about the rest of my week, there's not so much to say today! My friend told us about the Zumiez Couch Tour at the mall, and it seemed like something the kids would enjoy. We watched part of a skate contest for a little while, and I was reminded that I could never be a skater. I can barely walk & chew gum at the same time, so I can't fathom grinding rails & stuff! Chris & Elly designed their own shirts at one of the booths, and the kids painted hats at another one. My dad picked me up at the mall (so we could go see my brother), so I left before the rest of my family. They saw part of the Anarbor concert but left before Forever the Sickest Kids (though we watched part of it via live webcast later). Before I left, we stopped by the photo booth. I'd love to show you the pictures, but I can't quite yet. They'll be on the Couch Tour website later, so we'll all have to wait until then! I think they turned out cute, though! :)

The normal pose...


...& the goofy pose:


In the interest of full disclosure, I have a confession to make: this isn't really the song I listened to the most this week. Apparently I listened to last week's song the most again. The next song is one I want to use another time, so I moved on to #3...which is still a super great song! I'll close with my favorite part, which starts in the last line of the 2nd verse:

I cannot justify the reasons why You took my place
Your grace is amazing
Your mercies unending
How the God of the heavens
Could know me and call me by name
I was lost when You found me
My hope everlasting
You're the God of redemption
And with every breath I will sing
Your grace is amazing

Amy

Friday, June 17, 2011

"It's a Great Day to Be Alive"

(by Darrell Scott) It's a Great Day to Be Alive - Aloha from Nashville



I've had such a great week, & it's not even over yet! I already mentioned a little bit in my last post, but there's a little more awesomeness to tell y'all about. First, the promised pictures...

This is where I had my quiet time a couple of days & where I wrote my last blog post:


& this is what I was privileged to enjoy when I looked up:




As always, I had a wonderful time at Jana's parents' house! Her sister came over every day, which is super great! {Though she did start up a little drama with Felicity on facebook! Ha ha!} In addition to what I mentioned in my last post, we also went swimming & relaxed in the hot tub. I got some scrapbooking done, but I was more focused on relaxing than I usually am when I'm there. So I actually got about 7 hours of sleep each night! {Can you believe that, Amy?!} Considering the fact that I normally get a total of 7 hours of sleep for the entire weekend, y'all should be proud of me! And since I usually give the following totals, I'll go ahead & do it this time, too ~ even though our week was entirely different than a normal scrapbook retreat weekend! My total count for the trip:

  • Pages completed: 34
  • Hours slept: 21
  • Pounds gained: 1.5

On Wednesday, I got to meet up with RRMama for lunch!! This was my first time to ever meet a blog friend, and I was SO excited! I already knew that we could totally be IRL friends, and I was right! She did a great job summarizing our meet up on her blog. I think the only thing I would add is that she is beautiful, inside and out. And she gives a great hug! {♥}

I took a few pictures, but I kept getting too much of a glare &/or chopping off our heads! :P

I can't wait to see her again!!

I got home yesterday afternoon, and my baby puppy was so happy to see me that she was crying! She usually just cries for Chris, but apparently she missed her mama! Since the kids were still at my brother's, my mister & I went out for dinner and watched a movie on Netflix last night. We're going to pick the kids up tonight & watch their performance. I don't even think I mentioned what they're doing at my brother's this week, but I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!

Amy

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Gift of Cool"

(by Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus) Gift of Cool - Beautiful Glow



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This song has absolutely nothing to do with my day! I was having trouble with the regular internet on Jana's computer, so I have to use my phone. {Please overlook any typos! It's not so easy for me to do all of this on a touchscreen!} I had started to post this song another time & already had the code for the player & stuff, so I just decided to go with it! Otherwise, I wouldn't have the capability of posting a song for y'all today. {Of course, it looks like it's messed up on my phone. If that's the case, I'm sorry! I'll have to fix it later!} I had actually forgotten about today's song until a few weeks ago (when I posted another Worship Circus song). When I decided to see what ever happened to the musicians from Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus, I came across this article about today's song. I don't actually have the album with this song on it, but I remember them playing it on Power FM when we lived in the Dallas area. I never knew the story behind it, but it's pretty cool {so you should read it if you get a chance!}

Anyways...I'm having a wonderful, relaxing time at Jana's parents' house! I've enjoyed good conversations with her mom, dad, sister & Grannymom! I've had super great food (as always) & have done some scrapbooking. And as usual, I'm being spoiled! I was reprimanded for trying to help out! {Just imagine Paula Deen saying, "Now, how are you supposed to be pampered if you...?" ~ that's what I heard when I tried to carry some plates inside after dinner last night!} This morning, I was able to sleep until nearly 8:00! When I went into the living room, I was greeted by Jana's mom & kids. Her mom offered me a pink Snuggie, and I got to snuggle up with it & Caleb while I watched Barbie: A Fairy Secret with Clara Belle! :) I wish y'all could see the beautiful backyard that I'm currently enjoying (& where I was blessed to spend some time with Jesus earlier)! It's like a little taste of Heaven! {I'll take some pictures to show you later!} For now, I'm here by myself, so I'm going to head inside & clean up a few dishes before I get caught! When they get home, I'll tell them the Barbie Fairies did it! ;)

Amy

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Lean"

(by Tricia Brock) Lean - The Road (Deluxe Edition)



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This week has been really good! It started off with a day of babysitting my friend's two sweet little boys! I worked a little bit, had lunch with a lady from church (to talk about a Fall Bible study ~ more on that later!), took the kids to the pool, played games with the youth group at the park, took the kids to the beach & helped with some VBS stuff at the church. Yesterday, Elly & I went to see Soul Surfer with my fried Angela & two of her daughters. Last night, the kids both spent the night at friends' houses, so Christopher & I went out for coffee! Then I made him watch Life As We Know It with me {which, for the record, has to be way better than the movie he wants us to see when it comes out!}

This morning, I had hoped to sleep in. I even got this cute sleep eye mask:

I was thinking that maybe I could sleep later if I didn't realize that the sun was out. Unfortunately, Pepper is well aware of the time of day...By around 6:15 each morning, she scratches on my side of the bed for me to pick her up & put her in bed with me. She'll get under the covers & snuggle up against me, but she doesn't stay there for long. She's super restless & jumps down, only to want back up a few minutes later. She's a spoiled brat, and I don't know what to do with her! The thing is that if she really tries, she actually can jump up there. So I shouldn't have to pick her up at all! I've tried to ignore her, but she just keeps scratching. Do you think they make sleep eye masks for dogs?

Anyways, I ended up with an entire day without kids today. Since I was awake before 7, I was able to spend time with the Lord & ride about 7-8 miles on my bike. I know I just complained about not sleeping in, but I really do prefer to do both of those things outside before it gets too hot. I also got to plan some scrapbook pages for next week! The kids are going to my brother's for the week, so I'm going to Jana's parents with her & her kids. I'm also planning a meet-up with RRMama!!! I'm SO excited to meet her! :)

As for the song...Tricia Brock (from Superchick) released a new worship album this week, and I've really been enjoying it! I already knew today's song, so I think I listened to it more than the others because I could sing along with it. It's good stuff, though! I don't have just one favorite line, so I'll leave you with a big chunk of the song!

This world wants to steal Your hope from my heart
But mercy's stronger still than my struggles are
Your love is nothing less than a life laid down for me
And a place where I can lean

So I will lean upon the cross
I will lean into Your love
Your Spirit's living in me, alive in me
I will sing when there is no song
In the dark, Lord Your light is strong
Your Spirit's living in me, Your Spirit's living in me
So I will lean, I will lean


I'm off to see my baby brother! I hope y'all have a super great weekend!!

Amy

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Catch a Wave"

(by The Beach Boys) Catch a Wave - Endless Summer



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You can probably guess what the kids & I did today! Well, we didn't surf (as the song talks about), but we caught some waves on Cody's boogie board. Does that count?


Apparently this was supposed to be a goofy-faced picture {I missed the memo!}


Cody spent most of the day digging a hole, body surfing & boogie boarding


Elly played in the sand the majority of the time

{this is supposed to be her friend Shrek's stuffed bunny!}

It was so cute seeing my kids play together! :)


Before we left the island, we stopped by our favorite coffeehouse for some yumminess!


And a day at the beach wouldn't be complete without a mishap or two! I can't pretend that everything went smoothly, because I think y'all know me better than that! {These incidents are SO not worthy of an entire post, though I'm sure I could come up with a beach themed mis-series post if I thought hard enough!} The mishaps began before we even got to the beach...we had to pull over on the way there to dispose of Cody's puke {because what would a trip be without him using the throw-up cup? Poor car sick boy!} Once at the beach, we were situated near a man and his children, whom we sorta befriended. His girls were about the same age as my kids, so we ended up in the waves with them while he stayed closer to shore with his little boy. Of course the one time we were remotely near him in the water, I almost lost my tankini bottoms while on the boogie board. Nice. I don't think anybody saw anything, but you can guarantee that the rest of the time I was in the water I was holding them up!! After we ate our lunch, we left our stuff in the beach bag & played in the sand and water for awhile. When we got back to our stuff, there were birds trying to peck their way into our bag of chips! Silly birds! {Speaking of birds, they were everywhere today! I'm used to seeing a bunch of seagulls, but there were also some other kind of birds (that were trying to eat our chips) & about a hundred pelicans. I've never seen so many pelicans in my life!} One final thing (that I can think of, at least ~ I'm sure there were mishaps that I've already forgotten about)...when I was uploading my pictures from today, this one showed up:

How funny is that?! I have no idea who took it or how it happened, but it made me laugh! :D

Amy

Monday, June 6, 2011

"My Girl"

(by The Temptations) My Girl - My Girl: The Very Best of the Temptations



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I know I promised y'all a new series today, but my kids think it's cheesy. While I try to figure out whether I'm going to do it or not, I thought I'd share a little something else instead! My baby girl sent me the sweetest email today! It said, "I thought of you when I found these." Then she posted the following pictures:











How cute is that?! I love her.

Amy