Tuesday, September 29, 2009

18 months...

Jesse turned 18 months old on the 26th....where did the time go?? Turning one, of course, is a big deal.....but turning 18 months is even bigger....it means they are half way to 2...and then no more baby. Not that Jesse acts like a baby much anymore.....he has tried to go to the potty.....can go up and down steps on his own....can climb on my kitchen table....sleeps in a big boy bed...can kick a soccer ball better that half the kids in our soccer league...can say just about anything you tell him too.

He is a big boy...except for the fact that he is JUST now starting to sleep through the night...that he loves having a bottle before bed(which I have never done with my other kids...their bottle was gone at 1)....and that he still cries....a lot...!

I love this little blonde haired boy that has the darkest brown eyes that I have ever seen! He makes me smile...makes me laugh....makes me a better person, just 'cause I'm his mom!

He loves his siblings....loves to wrestle...loves to chase them...run from them....do head stands...swing...slide...play outside....jump on the trampoline....loves books....coloring....making messes...sitting on the cat...oh seriously people, the list could keep going. He loves life...all things grand....and he makes me see things in a whole new perspective.

18 months has come and gone......there's a new kid in town...and he "ain't" no baby!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We are Pray's Mill...We will Prevail.....

Wow....what a week it has been....and through it all God has been faithful.

We went through some major changes in our church this past weekend and we were all sad...heartbroken...fearful...and ready. Ready to dig in and prosper as a body. We as a church have been through some tough times in the past three years. I have been broken...beseeching the Father...bewildered....and bathed in love from the people. We have definitely had our ups and downs. As I sat there on Sunday night.....I couldn't help but want to get up and holler at the top of my lungs "We are Pray's Mill..WE will prevail". I thought of the speech that Nikki Giovanni gave at a campus convocation following the Virginia Tech shootings. By NO means do I think what we have been through as a church can even compare to the things that those students went through on the campus of Virginia Tech. I just loved what she said....and I will continue to tell our church....We will prevail....We are Pray's Mill!!
Read the words of the speech below....it'll move you!

We are Virginia Tech.
We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.
We are Virginia Tech.
We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.
We are Virginia Tech.
We are Virginia Tech.
We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.
We are the Hokies.
We will prevail.
We will prevail.
We will prevail.
We are Virginia Tech.

As I read over those words, I remember the prayer I had on Sunday night....that God would use our church. That He would be honored by our deeds...our hearts...our thoughts. That we would be a lighthouse to our community....and that we would prevail. And boy, did He ever bless us!

This week has been a tragic week in our community. We had torrential downpours on Sunday night leading to severe flooding. Much of our community was under water...immobolized...without power. Lives were lost....7 total in our county alone and the majority of them were in a five mile radius of our church. On Monday my husband was up at our church gym where a makeshift shelter had been put together for the families of missing loved ones. Our gym was somewhere for them to go and get dry...to get food...to wait for news. A family had been there all afternoon waiting on news of their lost loved one....a young mom. Several members of our church body were there to minister to the family when they learned the devastating news that she was gone....they loved on that family....prayed with them...shared with them.

Over the next 2 days our church was used as a water distribution center for those in need.....we handed out thousands of gallons of water to people in need. Our members were out in full force to labor....to love...to laugh....to be a light. What an awesome ministry opportunity it was....one I will never forget as long as I live! We had joined together....a band of brother's and sister's....for one purpose!

As I was handing out bottles of water yesterday alongside church members....high school wrestlers...boy and girl scouts.....prisoners.....friends........I got welled up inside and couldn't get over how God had blessed us amidst the storm. Not just the literal storm that had taken place outside...but the one inside our church body....and I could just imagine that He used this whole thing to tell us this......You are Pray's Mill...You will prevail!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Great is Thy Faithfulness.......

Weary today, but thankful that my God is always Faithful. He has always given new mercies and always provided. These words have been on my heart all week long....so crazy how songs and verses mean more when you live them...when you go through hard times...when you go through the good times. Even in the valley...God is good!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Red Mud...Pine Trees...and Traffic...

9 years ago God chose to move me from everything that I knew. I left behind a home that I had lived in for 20 years...my parents, siblings, two precious nephews. I left my favorite restaurants, stores, roads(yes I had favorite roads to drive on), memories, and literally everything that had been so dear to me for the majority of my life.

I will never forget leaving my wedding reception with a box of tissues in my lap that my new husband had given me. I think I cried for literally 2 hours. I was leaving home...and I didn't know if I would ever move back to the place that I loved....Virginia. We were going to a church in Georgia...in a town outside of Atlanta. My husband had been the youth and recreation pastor there for a year and now we were starting our new lives...in a completely foreign land. The accents were thicker(although y'all know I have an southern accent), the tea was sweeter, the days were hotter, the traffic was CRAZY, and it just wasn't Virginia. I was use to rolling hills of green grass and mountains....not flatness, red dirt, and pine trees. I remember thinking in my head that I would convince Ric to move back to Lynchburg within a year or so! I seriously cried for the first year and a half of our marriage. I was so sad.

I slowly began to build relationships with people...make friends that I will have forever...pour my heart into the teenagers and the sports ministry....and slowly, but surely...Georgia became home. I started to see beauty in the landscape....started to steer away from the traffic at all cost...found awesome places to take my kids....got season passes to Six Flags...ate hot dogs at the Braves games...loved teenagers....found the Pottery Barn Kids....built my dream home....found the greatest little school ever for my kids...and loved my church even more.

I use to think that I would move back in a heart beat(and yes, I still would), but it would be so hard to leave all of this. To leave the friends that we have made...the friends my kids have made....the school that we love deeply...the people......our church. The list could seriously go on and on. I never in a million years thought I would have the friends that I do...friends that pray for me...laugh with me(and at me)....cry with me.....help with my kids....friends that love my kids like family. We don't have family here, so our friends have become our family here. If I need someone to watch my kids....I call a friend. If my dog is having puppies all over my backyard and I can't find her...I call a friend. If my car won't start and my husband is gone....I call a friend. If I fall down and can't get up....I call a friend. We have become family for reals!!

I tell you all that to say this.....when I thought that God was crazy for moving me...for taking me away from all I knew....He blessed me. When I dreaded getting up in the morning because I missed my family so much....He gave me friends to encourage me. When I didn't think I could live one more day in this state....He made me love it even more. When I had no one....He blessed me with many. Sometimes we don't understand why God does the things that He does...but if we just trust Him...His plan will slowly unfold......and we just might find the blessing in it all!

No longer do I hate Georgia..although I still loathe red mud....the traffic...the pine trees(which ironically we have like a gazillion on our 4 acres). I love this crazy place I call home....but not because of it's beauty or the cool places to go or the Pottery Barn Kids.....but because of the people!

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fell Asleep....

Last weekend my brother and his precious wife and two kids came for a visit. This was only their second time visiting....so needless to say, I was stoked. I got everything clean...too bad it's not now....guest room set up...food in the fridge...Diet Mt. Dew in the fridge (cause Paul and I are seriously addicts)....and very little sleep because of all of the above!!

They got here late on Friday night and we all...and I mean all(except Jesse) stayed up until about 1:30 or so. We were having such a great time and the kids were seriously in heaven playing with their cousins. Shelby loves....loves Ty...she had asked me earlier in the day if she could marry her cousin when "she was all grown up"...I told her no..we are not from West Virginia honey!!

Saturday was a glorious day filled with the bikes...trampoline jumping...four wheeler riding...swinging...sliding....getting dirty......it was just glorious! My mother in law got to the house around 4:00 and then we adults left her with 6 kids.....yes..you heard me right. One sweet loving Nemaw with 6 kids! God Bless her...she is the best! They had a great time with her and she is so good with the kids!

We "big" kids headed out to dinner...shout out to the Outback......and then headed to the Marta to join in the swarm of Maroon. We were headed to the Alabama/Virginia Tech game. You see we are long time Hokies....we grew up just miles from the stadium...all of our family are fans of the Hokies...my sister went to VT...we even have a VT sticker on my van(yes in Georgia...I know)! We were so excited to be heading to the game.....it was sold out..not an empty seat in the joint....fans were screaming(and seriously if I ever hear "Roll Tide" again I might puke)...there was Maroon everywhere....more screaming fans...Good Times people! We settle in and cheer the Hokies on! My bro is crazy and loves to holler...jump around...and then holler some more. He fits right in with us.

Well, remember how tired I told you I was from doing all of the above? Well guess what I decided to do right after the band played the half time show? Did you guess it???? I layed my head over.....and amidst all 75,000 screaming fans.....I took a nap. I am not talking about a 3 minute cat nap...I am talking about a dozing off and on the entire second half. People around me must have thought I was either crazy or had had to much to drink...and I DON'T drink..ever! How sad is that...that I am a 34 year old spunky lady...living large...getting things done....and I fall asleep at a football game. I mean I know I fall asleep watching it at home....but I don't have a cow bell ringing in my ear at home. I have just come to the conclusion that I am old...no fun....and seriously need some sleep. Good times people....good times!!

We went to the CNN center for lunch after church on Sunday and then hit Centennial Park.....we had such a good time and I was so sad when they left. My brother has been my best buddy since we were little...all through high school and college...we did all kinds of crazy stuff together. I love my brother and his sweet family. When they left and we were heading home....as I wiped a few little tears from my eyes...I prayed that one day...God would allow me to live near all of them again. I miss them so much!!
The below pictures aren't the greatest...they are from Ric's i phone:)

Friday, September 11, 2009

I will never forget…..

Eight years ago I stood in my living room. I had just fed my three day old newborn, Charlie. We had come home from the hospital the night before and we were just settling in to being "home". My mom had been with me all week and she was sitting on the couch drinking coffee. I had on a yellow robe and my hair was a mess. I was standing in the living room talking…holding Charlie…when Ric called. "Turn on the TV…something has happened in New York". I turned it on to what is now etched in all of our minds…..the pictures…the images….the fear. The one tower had been hit…papers were flying everywhere…people screaming…running…..fear. I stood with my mouth open and tears flooding my eyes….and then the second tower got hit. I remember saying…"get them out…get them out…oh Mom, they have got to get them out". I stood there with my newborn sleeping in my arms….crying…Mom was crying….more fear. Ric called back at that point to see what was going on and then the unthinkable…….the first tower fell. I remember screaming at the phone "Oh no Ric…it fell, the tower fell, all of those people Ric……they couldn't have gotten out." There were people jumping from windows…dust everywhere….running….and more fear.

That day changed our lives as we know it..no longer would we fly the same…visit popular landmarks the same…..view New York City the same…the Pentagon…the field in Pennsylvania. I would never hear the saying "Let's Roll"..without thinking of Todd Beamer and the hero's on that plane. We hugged our kids more…held onto our spouses….called people we hadn't talked to in ages. We forgave people….apologized to friends….dug in and clung to one another. Life was forever going to be changed.

I remember looking at Charlie thinking "what have I brought this child into…what is going to happen". I remember praying for families..firefighters…policemen….and the missing. I prayed that souls would be saved through that tragedy. Churches were filling up…people were reading their Bibles……people in our nation were on their knees in prayer…and God was with us. Through all of that tragedy…death…fear…a Holy God was still with us. He still brought peace..He still showed mercy...He was still God! He still was in Control…He still reigned..even in the darkness and the smoke. He was still God….and I will always remember!!

To hear the music on the video you need to scroll down and push pause on my player!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

8 is Great!!!!

Eight years ago on this day....the Georgia Bulldogs were playing South Carolina in the opening game of the season.....Venus and Serena Williams meet in the final of the US Open becoming the first sisters to meet in a grand slam event since 1884....the terrorists were finalizing their plans on the attack of our great country...and this little man was brought into this world!

Eric Charles Blazi III "Charlie" came into the world and into my heart. We weren't "trying"to get pregnant when we found out about Charlie. We were suprised...scared...excited...and a little numb! We had only been married about 4 months....we still barely knew each other....and we were going to have a baby? He was born 6 days after we celebrated our one year anniversary. Well, we had him...and we loved him....and loved each other more for it!

He is an awesome child. Wise beyond his years..filled with laughter, yet still very serious (as most oldest children are:)...has a heart for people....a desire to do right....an unashamed love for Christ....has a great smile and the biggest brown eyes....a sensitive soul...loves all things grand. I love this little boy....my first born. He makes me smile and can make me cry. He makes me want to be a better person!

I hope that he grows up to be a Godly young man. A young man who stands for the things of Christ...no matter what the circumstance is. A young man who tells people about Jesus....and lives Jesus in front of them. A young man who treats others with respect. A young man that will go to all lengths to spread the Gospel. A young man who trusts God in all things. A young man who always loves his family. A young man that is willing to say "here I am....send me".

I don't care if he is the quarterback....the valedictorian....most popular....(he's got best looking in the bag...I mean he does have his father's genes)....all of those don't matter to me. What matters is who he is in Christ.

I am happy to sit back and watch his life unfold...to see what God has in store for him. Right now...it is digging in the yard, riding his bike, jumping on the trampoline, playing games, playing sports, reading, loving on his baby brother, fighting with his sisters, chopping down trees with his machete..yes people, I said machete (thanks to my husband...my 8 year old has a full fledged machete)....and I will take all of that that any day of the week.

Happy Birthday Charlie Man.....Chuckie-B......you are a gift...a light....and a blessing!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tiny Truth's Thursday....Jesse and the Ants

Today was a productive day...to say the least. Ric and I bought bunk beds for the girls for $20.....and put about 20 hours of labor into them. We had to strip a layer of paint and stain off....sand them...sand them again....and then stain them. Whew....I am tired thinking about all the work we did. They look really good and I hope the girls enjoy being in a room together for a while.

We were outside for most of the afternoon working and Jesse and Shelby played while we worked. Jesse likes to throw balls....ride in his fire truck....hit bugs with an old golf club....chase the cat....stand in ant beds....you know, all things boy. I had seen the ant bed and knew that it was there, but seriously, Jesse didn't even listen to me when I told him not to go over near it. Well, let's just say that his baseball ended up over there....and he just had to go get it. Needless to say he got several bites as he stood there crying the most pitiful cry.....almost a whimper. I quickly scooped him up and stripped him down and got rid of the ants. He then preceded to go on a mission to grab the cat's tail and forgot about those pesky ants.

Not 10 minutes later......I heard the whimpering....again. I look, and there he is....knee deep and ants.....again! I throw down my paint brush and once again scoop him up and strip him down (at this point all he has on is his diaper) and get the ants out of his pants!! I told him"seriously son, why did you go back over there...again? Did you not learn your lesson the first time?". I know that his little 17 month old mind understood everything that I was telling him. He got down....still naked....and took off after the cat.

Why did I tell you that long drawn out story? I got to thinking about Jesse and the Ants, and why he would get knee deep in the junk that just hurt him...like 10 minutes ago. I thought about sin in our lives and how it stings...it bites....it hurts us....but yet, we keep going back to the same sins, over and over again. Why is that? We are content to stand knee deep in ants.....to go back to the same things that just hurt us. This verse hit me and reminded me about this very thing:

Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, [So] a fool repeats his folly.

We have all seen it...you know...the dog thing...it's gross, nasty, I don't even like thinking about it. But the Bible says, a person who continues to go back to the same sins....commit the same sins....is a fool and is just like that dog that does the unmentionable. Sometimes it seems like we just can't learn our lesson....that we can't get away from the grip of that sin. But friends, I know we can....because the Bible says so....and I have lived it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear.

I am thankful that I have been saved by Grace and that I do have a way of escape.....that I can bear it...say no to the ant hill.....that sin that keeps pulling at me. And yes, God is faithful...all the time! I don't want to live in bondage to any sin....don't want to live in my flesh. Sin no longer has a hold on me...and when I do see that same old sin creeping in...the one that I go back to...I will remind myself of this verse...remind myself of His grace...and praise Him that I am no longer dead in my sins!

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

I pray that we will change our views and no longer live in bondage to the same old, same old....live in His grace...His wisdom...His light!

Tiny Truth's for this Thursday(errr...Friday):

~ $20 bunk beds rock...20 hours of labor...not so much

~ Jesse is all boy

~ Ant's are horrible in Georgia....seriously should all be killed

~ Jesse never learns a lesson on the first try

~ We all have one sin that we struggle to move away from

~ We have been offered a way of escape

~ We should take IT

~ God's grace is unbelievable
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

9 Years ago......

9 years ago today I said " I Do" to a man I barely knew....no, we didn't elope....didn't have an arranged marriage.....I just hardly knew him. You see, when Ric and I met, we went on three dates and knew that we loved each other...knew that we would be married...and knew that forever had each other in it. We just didn't know each other. Yes I knew that he was Godly, funny, caring, hot....oh, the list could go on. But seriously, how do you know someone in three dates.

God had brought us together in His perfect timing.....and we just knew....quickly! It was a whirlwind to say the least. I had finally found the man that I loved....and that loved me! We got engaged just five weeks after meeting....I would have said yes on that third date though! It was the sweetest, most thought out proposal ever.....and I remember being just giddy when I said yes. Just two short months after we got engaged, Ric had to move to Georgia to start his job as a youth pastor. We were apart from May until we wed in September. We saw one another occasionally....but really got to know each other, as best we could, over the phone....and my husband hates....HATES...talking on the phone. Needless to say....we didn't really know each other.

I remember standing there on our wedding day and repeating the words that Ruth told Naomi in the Old Testament....." Where you go, I will go...Where you lodge, I will lodge....your people will be my people...Your God, will be my God! I remember feeling more love for that man than I had ever even imagined could be humanly possible......but I still didn't really know him.

Little did I know that over the next years that we would have four children, go through great times, mourn over loved ones who had died, weep over teenagers that had gone astray, pray for our sick children...with uncertainty, move three times, drive... a lot, go through really hard times, laugh like we do, lose 10 cell phones(Ric) and four drivers licence's(me), stay at the same church....oh the list could seriously go on people.

I also didn't know that the man that I married, would be my closest friend, the one I laugh with about everything, cry with about everything, and love more today than I did the day I stood beside him as we got married.

You see, I do love Ric Blazi....more today than I did yesterday. I have seen him become a father...four times over. I have seen him grow in his ministry....and begin to preach like a seasoned pastor. I have seen him love his children....and teach them about God and His unbelievable grace. I have seen him go through struggles....and come out stronger. I have seen him pray over one of our sick babies.....with tears in his eyes. Yes, I love him more today than I did 9 years ago. I have seen him make mistakes.....and sometimes learn from them. I have seen the intensity that he has...when he watches Georgia football(and yes, he has woken up our children with his hollering more times than I can count). I have seen him cry in a movie....so what if it is Beverly Hills Chihuahua....that is why I love him!

9 years ago I married this handsome man with the darkest brown eyes you will ever see. I could look in those eyes and know that I was safe...that I was loved...and that he would be faithful to me....until death parts us. 9 years ago, I knew all of that.....but I have lived it now....and that my friends, is what makes me truly know who Ric Blazi is. He is a man of his word, a man of faith...conviction....and a man that stands for truth. He is faithful...kind....generous....and most of all he loves me. And after 9 years......I think I know him....and I love him even more because of that!
Happy 9 Years.......I love you Ric........