Posted by: amyedwards | January 1, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I love tradition!  When I was growing up, my family had several Christmas traditions.  Because I enjoyed them so much, I decided to continue them in my family.  But the fun of having your own family is starting new traditions.  And maybe, just maybe, your children will decide to continue them on when they have families of their own (and add a few of their own).

But one thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that some times traditions can be a pain in the neck!  You know, when you can’t pull it off, for one reason or another, but everyone wants to scream, “But, it’s tradition!”  UGH!!!  Life is hard enough to simplify, but even harder in the month of December.  Some times you just can’t do it all!  And some times, that means certain traditions just won’t happen that go around.  But it doesn’t mean next year it won’t be a go!

These are some traditions our family enjoyed (at least this year, anyway):

A couple of years ago we started putting Christmas cards we received in a stack in the middle of our kitchen table.  Each night at dinner time, the kids pick a card from the stack and we pray for that family.  We thank God for their friendship and ask Him to bless their Christmas and the year ahead.  Once that family has been prayed for, we tape their card to the window behind our table so that a new family is picked each night.  It’s so sweet to hear my children pray for their friends and family!

When I was a child, we were always allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve.  This was not one of those traditions I was particularly fond of then.  Why?  Because I was always disappointed when year after year the gift was always Christmas pajamas.  What a let down.  But I suffered through it, so now my children do too!  It makes for great pictures on Christmas morning!  After Grammie passed away, we started opening presents with Poppy at his house on Christmas Eve.  This year, we mixed up our pajama tradition and decided to wear pajamas to Poppy’s house and open our presents in them.  Even Poppy wore pajamas!!!  The kids had a great time and it put us one step closer to bedtime.

Another tradition I had as a child was that all of the kids would sleep in one room on Christmas Eve.  This is one of my favorite memories.  We would have such a hard time falling asleep as we all anticipated Santa’s arrival.  As the years passed, you could always tell which kids had been enlightened to the “truth” and which ones hadn’t by how quickly we would go to sleep.  My kids all sleep together now in my room.  It’s so sweet to hear their conversations before they sleep as they anticipate the next morning!

I’m not sure this is “tradition”, but one of the things we established early on is that we do not do any family get-togethers or go anywhere on Christmas day!  We reserve this time for our family.  It gives us a good time to rest and relax and enjoy the day together.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to come to our home and see what the kids got and we always fix a big breakfast for anyone who joins us.  We spend the rest of our day playing with the kids’ toys.  By the time dinner time rolls around, we’re usually ready to get out of the house, so we head to the Waffle House.  It’s a fun-filled day and we appreciate the fact that our families have been so accommodating to hold our get-togethers on days other than Christmas day.

A tradition I would like to start next year within my own family is something me and my sisters do now.  We started a couple of years ago giving a “used” gift to each other.  We draw names and we give something of our own to the person whose name we drew.  I didn’t think about doing it with my children until Christmas had passed this year, but I think we’ll implement it next year.  I think it’s a great way to teach them about sacrifice and that Christmas is not just about getting.  There is fun in giving!  Sure, I could give them money to buy their siblings a gift or just put their name on a gift I’ve bought  – that’s how I’ve always done it.  But I think a gift means a lot more when sacrifice and heart was put into it.

I love Christmas and all the memories and traditions that come along with it.  I just hope that one day when my kids are grown and have families of their own, I’ll remember the fun I had in starting new traditions with them and relax when they decide to change things up a bit for their own families’ good!

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Posted by: amyedwards | November 10, 2009

That’s NOT a Worm!

A few weeks ago, I was inside finishing up dinner.  Addilyn came inside and asked for a Ziploc bag.  She was proudly declaring that she had found a worm.  I gave it a very quick glance and handed her the bag.  There has been so much rain lately, that I figured an earthworm had made its way up and Addilyn had grabbed hold of him.  My thoughts were more geared to the fact that my little girl is surrounded by too many boys and should be playing dolls instead of catching worms.

When dinner was ready about ten minutes later, I called the kids inside.  Addilyn came in with her bag in hand.  I told her to go wash her hands and I would take care of her worm.  It was then that I realized her “worm” didn’t much look like a worm.  In fact, this worm was a bit longer and had scales!

Posted by: amyedwards | November 6, 2009

What Can I Say?

Truth is, I am never at a loss for words.  I have several posts in mind right now that I would like to share, but when you’ve been away since June – it feels kinda funny just hopping back in.  But I told my BFF Jodi that I would post on my blog if she would post on hers.  I know, it sounds like high school!  But she is much better about blogging than I am, and she is a much better writer.  When she goes without posting, I miss it!  So because we are spiritual accountability partners, I thought we could hold each other accountable for blogging too!  Funny thing though – we were supposed to do this yesterday.  Guess who did and who didn’t?  Hey, but I did do my Bible study yesterday – that has to count for some accountability, right?

So, go ahead, ask me what keeps me from blogging?  I’m ashamed to say it, but I’ve caught the Facebook bug!  It’s ridiculous how much time I spend checking the daily (some times hourly) status of people.  The majority of those 251 people I’ve known at some point in my life but have nothing to do with now.  I don’t really consider them friends but on Facebook I call them that.  Go figure!  The truth is, I really don’t care what they’re doing every day, and I’m certain they don’t care what I’m doing either!  Now my friends (in life and on FB), I enjoy keeping up with them.  Tell me funny things about your kids because I love them too!  Share with me your prayer request, because I want to share your burdens!  But really, I don’t need to know that you’re heading to the grocery store or that you just had your car detailed!

That brings me back to blogging!  How, you might ask?  Those things that I enjoy reading are the things I see in blogs.  And when I’m spending so much time elsewhere on the computer, I’m limited to the time I can spend reading your blogs.  Or, here’s a thought – writing one of my own! 

Our pastor started a series last week on “The Final Days”.  If today were your last day on earth, what would you want to accomplish?  What would you want to leave with your kids?  I can’t even comprehend an answer to that question, but I am positive what they read in my blog would be more beneficial than my Facebook status.  After all, isn’t that why I started this blog – to leave a legacy?

I’ll be back!

Posted by: amyedwards | June 11, 2009

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

I am privileged to have married into a wonderful, loving family.  Part of the backbone to that family is my husband’s great aunt, Ella Ruth.  She is one of the most precious people you will ever meet.  Her personality is priceless, and even at her current age of 94 years old and completely bedridden for the past year, she is full of wit and dry humor.  She loves my children like they are her own grandchildren, although she never married or had children of her own.  She has always lived with her sister, Robbie (who also never married), and together they live next door to my father-in-law and have done so since my husband was a small child.

Just a few years ago, Ella Ruth was still driving herself and Robbie around.  Going out to eat, a weekly trip to Sam’s, a weekly trip to get their hair washed and curled, church each Sunday morning, etc.  But old age has taken a toll on her body, and over the last couple of years she has given us several good scares.  Each time we prepare to say goodbye, she makes a comeback and God allows us to keep her a little bit longer.  Her legs have given out and she has not been out of her bed for any reason now in over a year.  She is on oxygen 24 hours a day for the most part.  But, other than the occasional bad day or high fever disorienting her mind, she is completely coherent and still sharp as a tack.

One thing most anyone could associate Ella Ruth with is her love for food and cooking.  Over the years she has taught me so much about cooking.  When I got a pressure cooker, she was the first person I called.  You may remember that I canned some homemade apple jelly last year.  It was her recipe and she taught me how to do it from her bedside!  If you’ve had my cooking, and it was good, you can probably thank Ella Ruth – especially if it was Southern style:) 

A couple of months ago when my sister-in-law, Melissa and I were visiting with her, she made the comment that she would love to cook for all of us again.  We started talking about some of her favorite dishes and some of our favorites that she used to cook.  Melissa and I decided then that we would give her that opportunity again.  After all, if there’s a will, there’s a way.  So a few weekends ago, we met at Ella Ruth’s house with groceries in tow.  Our surprise menu was pork tenderloin, creamed potatoes, black-eyed peas, fried squash, fried okra and cornbread.   (I said Southern cooking, not healthy cooking!)  Ella Ruth instructed us on how to cook and season the dry beans and she sliced the squash for frying.  Then she taught us how to cook fried squash in the iron skillet.  To my surprise, she doesn’t even bread her squash!  Let’s just say “she butters it”:)  Our intentions were for her to bread the okra for frying, but she was tuckered out and in need of a nap before eating.  The smell of good food filled her sweet little house, and we enjoyed spending another meal together as a family around her table.  She listened to the laughter of loved ones from her bedroom.

Next time, we’re hoping to learn how to make homemade biscuits!  And I’ve even asked her to teach me how to knit if I ever make the time.  What started out as an attempt to do something special for Ella Ruth turned into a bigger blessing for me and Melissa.  It’s true what they say – In giving, you receive!

Posted by: amyedwards | May 28, 2009

Let Me Hold You Longer

When all of my children were infants, I made it a rule of thumb to put them in their beds while they were still awake so they could teach themselves how to fall to sleep.  Don’t worry, I had plenty of time to rock and bond while I was nursing them.  But I have to admit, there is something so sweet about holding a little one and watching them drift off to sleep in the comfort of your arms while you sing to them softly. 

Last night, I had the pleasure of rocking my sweet Addilyn (soon to be 3 yrs. old but still tiny in size) to sleep.  We had a busy day yesterday, and she missed her afternoon nap.  By the time we got home from church last night, she was exhausted.  I sat in the rocker in her room with her for what was supposed to be a quick book read.  Within seconds, her eyes were falling and she had grabbed her favorite pink doggie and her blanket.  I closed the book and began singing some of her favorite songs (“Jesus Loves Me”; “Jesus Loves the Little Children”; “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”; “Isn’t He Wonderful”; and more).  By the time I finished her favorites, she was fast asleep in dreamland. 

Rather than putting her in her bed, I decided to enjoy the moment.  I began singing some of my favorite hymns to her.  The singing turned to crying and the crying turned to praying over her.  For those few moments, I was overwhelmed with the fact that my baby is growing up so fast.  The days of rocking Noah (my 7 yr. old) to sleep are passed.  And Colby (my soon to be 5 yr. old) would have to be sick for me to enjoy a moment like that with him.  So for as long as I chose last night, God gave me the wonderful gift of being able to rock, sing, cry, pray, smell, and listen to my sweet baby while she slept, all the while reminding me that He loves me even more that that.  I can’t fathom such love!

If you have never read the children’s book by Karen Kingsbury, Let Me Hold You Longer”, I recommend it.  I have not read it to my children, but from time to time I read it for myself.  It talks about how we as parents often take notice and put emphasis on “the firsts” our children have, but no emphasis is ever given to “the lasts”.  Usually, because at the time it is happening, we don’t realize it is going to the be the last time is takes place (last bottle feeding, last time they crawl in your bed, last time you pick them up, etc.)  Trust me, I can’t get through this short book without squalling, but I read it because I want to be reminded to enjoy all of those moments while I still can.

Let Me Hold You Longer

They grow up way too fast!

Posted by: amyedwards | May 14, 2009

Playing House

Today while I was folding laundry, Addilyn and Colby were playing together.  They proudly announced that they were playing “house”.  I commended them on how well they were playing and how much more I enjoyed seeing them play than fuss and argue.  I continued folding.

A few minutes later, my interest was peaked when I heard Colby asking Addilyn if she was going to spank the baby or did he need to.  She quickly volunteered.  I began watching them from across the room.  (Because if they know you’re watching, they stop!  And don’t even think of getting the video camera out!)  What I saw was so much more than my children playing well together.  I saw my home from the eyes of a 4 year old and a 2 year old.  They treated each other the same way they see their mom and dad relate.  What they said to their baby dolls is what they hear from me.  I have to say, I was convicted.  Some of their mimicking wasn’t so bad.  But I didn’t like everything I saw, especially in the way they treated their babies!  At one point, after the doll received numerous spankings, I stopped them and reminded them to love on their baby, that she needed more than just spankings. 

Do they only see me disciplining or fussing?  Why aren’t they emulating how I love on them?  Does the bad outweight the good?  Today’s play got me thinking.  Discipline is important.  And I do believe what the Bible says that if you love a child, you’ll discipline him.  But children don’t recognize discipline as love.  What they recognize as love is hugs, kisses, book reading, playing, etc.  Just good old fashioned quality time. 

So my conscious effort this summer while they are at home with me will be to make sure that what they see as good outweights what they see as bad.

Posted by: amyedwards | May 10, 2009

Dear Mama,

Because of you

I am alive.  I know that’s a given and doesn’t seem very sentimental to others, but to you and I it has a special meaning.  On August 28, 1973 you gave vaginal birth to a nearly 8 lb. baby girl who was literally doubled in a frank breech position.  The fact that I survived such a traumatic entry into the world is a miracle in itself.  But the fact that you not only endured but survived the delivery and then emergency surgery immediately following, is a greater miracle.  You were already teaching me strength and determination. 

I’ll never forget crying to you as an adolescent that I didn’t feel special.   “Shelly is special because she is your oldest.  David is special because he is the only boy.  Kerri is special because she will always be your baby.  As the middle child, I don’t have any reason to be special”, I said.  In all your wisdom, you had saved my “birth story” for the perfect moment and that was it.  I walked away from that conversation knowing that we held a special bond!

Because of you 

I came to know the Lord at a young age.  Now that I have young children of my own, I understand the struggle of getting everyone dressed, fed and out the door on time for church each Sunday morning.  It would be so much easier to just stay at home together as a family and relax before the next work week begins.  But you didn’t and I don’t either.  I can remember so many Sunday mornings sitting in the car while Dad blew the horn (ugh!) while you were trying to get out the door.  I can even remember times that you would take your hot rollers out of your hair on the way to church.  But we eventually made it and there I learned of a God who loved me and sacrificed His only Son to save me.  And so, when the Holy Spirit urged me, it was you who sat at a kitchen table and helped me pray to receive Christ.  I pray that one day I have that same privilege with my own children.

Because of you

I learned the meaning of sacrifice.  Whether it was the last bite of your favorite dessert, a comfortable spot in your own bed, nights staying up late to help finish a procrastinated on project, or doing without new clothes, new cars, bigger houses, etc. to send 4 kids to a Christian school you were always sacrificing. 

Because of you

I had a purse to carry lipstick in for my Jr/Sr. Prom.  Crazy, I know!  But somewhere in my hope chest I still have that “Epilady” bag covered in eyelet lace to match my dress.  Why?  Because the day of prom when I had no purse to go with my dress, my mom got creative and made me one so I’d be like the other girls.  Truth be told, I was probably embarrassed at the time to carry it.  But, I wouldn’t have hung on to it all these years if it hadn’t meant something to me.

Because of you

I wanted to be a mommy.  As a child, I never dreamed of being a nurse or a teacher.  I always wanted to be a mommy.  Playing “house” was my favorite way to pass the day.  Even at 16 years old, Chanch remembers me telling a room full of teenagers that my dream for the future was to get married and have babies.  How fortunate am I to be living my dream now!  I’m so grateful that my mom didn’t discourage me from that dream, but rather encouraged me to be who I wanted to be. 

I hope that one day Addilyn dreams of being a wife and mommy.  While there is nothing wrong with the business world or career women, I pray that Addilyn will learn from me, like I learned from you, that there is no greater joy in this world than that of being a Mom!

Because of you

I’m a procrastinator.  I’m blaming this on the time that you stayed up all night reading “Tortured for his Faith” because I had an oral book report the next day and had waited until the last day to read the book.  Had you made me fail the report, I might have learned not to procrastinate.  But instead, you spent the next morning telling me all about the book while I got dressed for school.  See, it is your fault!

Because of you

I’m overly dramatic; I’m ridiculously sentimental; It takes me forever to tell a story because I give so many details; and I have small boobs and big hips (not so sure I’m thankful for that genetic hand-me-down!)

Because of you

I’m a better mommy than I ever would have been.  I had a great teacher.

The Girls!

The Girls!

Posted by: amyedwards | May 5, 2009

Nothing to write about?

So I had dinner with my BFF, Jodi, last night and we sat and talked for 4 hours!  And no, I’m not even kidding!  Four hours of uninterrupted (with the exception of the occasional waitress asking if we were still okay) conversation.  Aaaah!!!  For a stay-at-home-mom, those chats are few and far between:)

Anyway, we talked about everything from spiritual growth to PMS.  Well, maybe I should say that I talked.  She  is a friend of few words and that’s probably a good thing since I always have a plethora to choose from:)  Our ending conversation was about my desire to stop wasting time on Facebook (and I do mean wasting time) and get back to blogging.  I enjoy writing the occasional post, but I enjoy even more reading what my favorites are saying on their blogs.  I always get up from my time on blogland feeling as though I’ve taken a few minutes out of my day to do something I enjoy doing and it is never a waste of time.  I’ve either laughed, cried, prayed, or been encouraged each time I finish, and that is just not so with my other computer time!

Funny thing though is that I told Jodi I didn’t have anything to write about.  She quicky reminded me that she had just sat across a table from me for 4 long (my word not her’s) hours and she was sure I had plenty to write about!

So, here I am, trying to get back into the groove of blogging – if there is anyone left to read it:)

Posted by: amyedwards | March 11, 2009

The end of any nation

Though Dr. Rogers said it in 1984, his words are so relevant to what we are facing in America today.  In fact, it was even read and posted in the Congressional Record by Congressman Steve King from the state of Iowa on January 14, 2009. 

Dr. Rogers is quoted:

“Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.  And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.”

Posted by: amyedwards | November 6, 2008

Won’t you join me?

I was recently talking to a friend and she was commenting that her prayer life wasn’t all that she wanted it to be.  Can I ever relate!  You know what I’m talking about – praying, but not specifically; or praying, but not consistently; or praying, but not earnestly; or praying, but not meaningfully. 

Well, I’ve given a considerable amount of time to that conversation.  We talked about the need to pray for some things every single day and about the need to pray Scripture.  It has been my intention to sit down and make my own list of daily prayers with Scripture to back them, but I have not taken the time to do it.

Then, November 4th Election day came and went, and I went to bed that night with a burning desire to pray more for my children and to do so on a daily basis.  Well, today I visited one of my favorite blogs, Bring the Rain, and was so excited to see her latest post

I’m committed to praying these seven prayers for all three of my children daily over the next seven days.  I hope you’ll join me in praying for your children!  And maybe after the first seven days, I will have taken the time to come up with my own verses for the next seven:)

1.  When they wake up: “Let the morning bring (child’s name) word of your unfailing love, for she has put her trust in You.  Show (her/him) the way (she/he) should go, for to you (he/she) lifts up her soul.” (Adapted from Psalm 143:8)
2. When they are getting dressed: “Therefore, as God’s chosen child, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Lord, help (him/her) bear with others and forgive whatever grievances (he/she) has against others.  Help (him/her) forgive as the Lord forgave (him/her).  And over all these virtues, help (him/her) put onlove, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Adapted from Colossians 3:12-14)
3. While they are eating: “Teach (child’s name) the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Teach (him/her) that (he/she) can do everything through him who gives (him/her) strength.” (Adapted from Philippians 4:12-13)

4.  When they go out of the house: “(Name of child), do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Adapted from Romans 12:2)

5.  While they are taking a bath: Lord, give (name of child)  clean hands and a pure heart, and let (him/her) not lift (his/her) soul to an idol or swear by what is false. Let (him/her) receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God (his/her) Savior.  Let (him/her) be part of the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. (Adapted from Psalm 24:4-6)

6.  When they are going to bed:  “The Lord Your God is with you; he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, be will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

7.  While they are sleeping:  “I pray that (name of child) will do everything without complaining or arguing, so that he/she may become blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which he/she shines like a star in the universe as he/she holds out the word of life-in order that he/she may boast on the day of Christ that he/she did not run or labor for nothing.” (Adapted from Philippians 2:14-16)

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