Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Hope

I listen to Christmas music all throughout the year, but when the 31st of October hits it's full on Christmas music in our house, van, my computer, and anywhere else I can turn it on.  It never gets old to me.  This is the most wonderful time of the year, as the song states, but my heart is so heavy and I find tears too often the last few days.

The day before Thanksgiving two sweet families I know experienced tragedy and loss.  They were both enjoying a nice week off from work and school and weren't expecting what came to them.  Our family is continually praying for both situations and my mind has been racing with so many thoughts.  Why does it take unexpected events for me to stop and re-evaluate what I'm doing with my life?  I rush through each day, fill my schedule with too much, live in stress, buy too much, get easily frustrated with the kids, waste too much time, and it goes on and on.

We stopped before bedtime last night to begin the first of our Advent readings.  Hope is the theme this week.  How appropriate for these last few days.  I asked Sawyer if he knew what hope meant, and like all good mothers we asked SIRI to tell us the Webster's definition.  We received a lot of info from SIRI, but what it came down to was this,  Hope is - to place confidence; to trust with confident expectation of good.  We ended our reading with thanking God that he is our unchanging HOPE, and that we get to live our life with purpose because we are confident in the expectation of good from Him.

Life is hard.  The unexpected and confusing happens way too often, and at any moment it can be my family dealing with tragedy and loss again.  But then comes HOPE.  HOPE that makes me pray that God will bring comfort, peace, endurance, and answers for these families.  HOPE that reminds me to slow down during Christmas and really listen to the words of the music I play, to live in moments fully present without rushing to the next, to hug people more, to be slow in anger, forgive quickly, to put others needs before mine, and to be patient with my kids constant requests for having needs met.

I will be more aware of my HOPE in Christ this week and more willing to share it with those who don't understand it or need to be reminded of the HOPE they possess.  I will live in HOPE and not fear.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Everywhere I go I'm seeing the little pocket of community/relationships that affect me and I them every day.  We are designed to be relational people.  We are designed to want and need to be encouraged by those around us.  We desire to know and be known.

One of my soon to be favorite communities is the book study club that I'm a part of beginning this week.   A group of moms, soon to be moms, and want to be moms who need a place of encouragement, laughter, prayer, and accountability.  We are spread from Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, to Florida.  So we get to do this conference call style.  These women challenge me to keep going when I don't think I can.  

Just this morning God used my online community to help me move past the issue of worry in my day!  God always meets us where we are.  I love that!

I'm sad for the times I have hindered community/relationships because of selfishness or just lack of compassion and love.  The more I need encouragement the more I'm aware of my selfishness in my relationships.  Eye opening!

Lord help me to see those around me in need of your encouragement, love, and community.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013


There have been several times in my life that I have had dreams of things I wanted to do, be, or have.  Then there are times I stopped dreaming because it's hard when they don't get accomplished or they fail.  Here lately I've begun to dream again- dream for myself and for my family.

I had an opportunity last month to meet one of my favorite authors in a small group setting.  It would have been a dream come true.  After praying about it I knew that it wasn't going to happen right now because of a lot of factors.  So, I began to dream and pray about the people I would like to meet.

Candace Cameron Bure
Lysa TerKeurst
Liz Curtis Higgs
Angie Smith
Christy Nockels
Natalie Grant
Martina McBride

These are all women I admire for their talents, faith, and accomplishments.  It's one of those things that I would love a girlfriend afternoon of hanging out and picking their brain for more wisdom as a mom-friend-artist.  So, I'll continue to pray for the opportunity and until then I'll be grateful for the internet and social media!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Books for the Kids

When it's time to read with the kids we are mostly reading books for boys.  I really enjoy ordering books from Scholastic and they have a great selection of boy books.  If you frequent the library, search the scholastic website and then go see what Scholastic books your library may have.

My boys are 6 and 2 1/2 and these are a few they love...

Pete The Cat

Splat the Cat

Pirates Go To School

ANYTHING by P.K. Hallinan
He is my FAVORITE children's author and illustrator.  Go find him on facebook!

I'm a seasonal reader so right now we have several new books from scholastic that are spring themed.  Then there's the Shark books.  You can't go wrong with little boys and shark books!

As far as chapter books go we have read through a condensed version of The Black Stallion and Pinnochio.  I'm ready to dig into some more classics with Sawyer!

Earlier in the year we finished the Jesus Storybook Bible.  We all enjoyed this and will start it again soon. 2 1/2 year old is very active and rarely sits still.  I finally figured out that it's going to be a LONG time before he sits still to listen to a story.  So, now he has to stay in the room while we are reading but I don't make him sit down with us.  He does hear the story and occasionally will come over to see the pictures.  Don't get discouraged if you've got one or more like this.  Just keep reading, and maybe even read while standing on your head!  If you have a kid like this you totally understand.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Who's Desperate?

 I've been on a book reading frenzy lately.  It's pretty normal for me to have about 5 I'm reading at once. On the finished list lately has been...

The Wedding Dress - Rachel Hauk

Liz Curtis Higgs 4 book series Thorn in My Heart-Fair Is the Rose-Whence Came A Prince-
Grace In Thine Eyes (read these now)

Higgs Novella - A Wreath of Snow

Melanie Shankle's - Sparkly Green Earrings 

Desperate : Hope For The Mom Who Needs To Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

 There's more on the list that aren't finished but as much as I enjoyed reading Higgs' series I needed Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson's book more.  Sarah was very brave to reveal all she was feeling about motherhood.  She laid out on pages for anyone to read all the weaknesses I keep to myself and don't want others to know.  Desperate is a perfect title because that's the feeling I have most.  So, I know of at least 3 people, including Sarah and Sally, that have felt desperate.  There's got to be plenty more moms and guardians who feel desperate too.

 I would enjoy so much going through this book with other people.  There are so many scriptures and tips to help you get through the desperate moments.  Most of all there's reminders that I will never be perfect as a mom or anything else.  I have to take each day as I'm given it and ask for God's grace to help me honor him in what I do, say, and think.  Oh and STOP STOP STOP comparing!!!  As Lysa TerKeurst would say, "I'm not equipped to handle her good or bad".  I can only handle what God created for me!

Monday, March 25, 2013

2-12-13 to 3-24-13

41 days is not a long time, but it's the time that Preston was here with us.  I saw him 3 times, so sweet and tiny.  I wanted to touch him so badly!  Thank you Lord for our time with him and thank you he is in your presence now!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


 I've been wanting to post for months and haven't.  Just a few moments ago I had that thought, "you need to write on your blog".  And then the other thought happened, "I don't have the perfect picture and there's too much that's happened and I can't even begin to write it all."  Then I realized that I was doing what I complain (in my head to myself) about to those whom are perfectionists.  NOBODY that knows me would EVER use that term to describe me so here I am creating an imperfect post!

Everything in me feels heavy today.  My Great Nephew (I can't be that old) Preston was born at 23 weeks on February 12th.  Smashed right between Thea and my sister Christy (who he will affectionately refer to as YA YA or Heem).  This sweet baby has been born with a whole bucket full of physical delays.  Today Holly and Taylor (baby P's mom and dad) received the unhappy results of his MRI.

"Lissencephaly (sp), neurons are grouped rather than spread out, high risk of Epilepsy, will likely never reach common milestones of walking and talking"

How does any parent process this information?  How do doctors deliver this kind of news every day without mentally breaking down?

This is only the second time in my lifetime I've had to experience serious health complications with a family member.  In 2006 my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor and in less than a week of diagnosis he was on an operating table and we had no assurance of good to come of it.  The prognosis was he could die, he could survive, he may survive and never be the same, and on and on.  I was pregnant with Sawyer, my first born, and was feeling sad that my little one may not ever know my dad.  

It was almost like an out of body experience standing in the hospital room pretty much telling Dad bye just in case things didn't go well.  He was definitely ready for the leaving or staying but it wasn't easy to come to that myself.  And we are a family of criers, thank you Grandma, so we were pretty scary to outsiders watching!

Now baby Preston is here 6 years later.  It's a very different situation but the unknown is still just as frustrating!  So, we continue to pray with everything in us that God works in Preston, all of us, and anyone who comes in contact with his story or presence.  

Thank you God for being in control and help us to let go of control and trust in your faithfulness, grace, mercy, love, and peace!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Race Day's A Comin'

I did something yesterday I thought I would never do.  I officially registered for a 1/2 marathon.  It's not that I thought I would never run 13.1 miles at one time, but it's the "OFFICIAL" race thing. 

Running has been a part of my life since I was 13 years old.  My mom was a speed walker and I could never keep up and still can't keep up with walkers, so I ran.  I ran for sports conditioning and I ran for fun.  When I say "run" I use that term loosely.  There are many walkers who go faster than my running pace, just ask my Tuesday/Wednesday workout buddy!  Nevertheless it is some form of running:)

In February my sister, Joan, says to me, "do you like to run?".  And again my response, "I don't like to walk, so I run".  And she proceeds to remind me that she's been wanting to do a 1/2 marathon and at that moment out of postpartum insanity I said, "I'll do it with you"!  That's the moment the words fall out of your mouth and the rest of you is screaming You Are Craaazy!

Up until a couple of weeks ago I never understood the hype of all these people running 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon races.  It was as if all of a sudden there has been this huge boom of "I run races".  And I sat thinking, "I've run for years what's the big deal?".  Now I get it.

The hype is about setting a crazy goal, disciplining yourself to accomplish each step, and growing in character for the baby steps accomplished.  In turn getting back in shape after 3 kids!  Even more exciting, my middle sister who doesn't even like the word exercise is joining us!  I'm actually getting excited every time I go out to run instead of doing it out of the mind set- I've got to get in shape.  

The best part about joining the racing world is that it makes me more disciplined in training my heart.  This is definitely a goal I can't accomplish without God's intervention and I find myself pouring into the Word more and being much more diligent about loosing myself and listening to Him in every aspect of my day.

Now to complete the K's..5K, 8K, 10K and then the big day Saturday, December 1st St. Jude 1/2 marathon.  I can't wait to experience what's to come.  Lord give me endurance!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mondays, enough said

When I was working full time I dreaded Mondays more than any day of the week.  You'd think being at home on Mondays would change that.  Today I was reminded that's not always so.   Here are the positives so far..
Everyone slept all night, hooray!
Started my new devotional series with obu girlz in the morning:)
Made an important phone call
Made it on time for Monday conference call
Paid a bill
Let boys play in the mud
Did core and strength training for 15 interrupted minutes
Knox finally goes to sleep

Now the frustrations italicized along with the positives:

Everyone slept all night, hooray!
Started my new devotional series with obu girlz in the morning:)
Thea wakes up and still hasn't pooped in 2 days
Made an important phone call
Boys are fighting
Made it on time for Monday conference call
Way behind on team goals for the month
Paid a bill
Thea can't rest b/c of gas
Let boys play in the mud
Ants everywhere in the bathroom
Knox won't eat what I gave him for lunch and we have a 15 minute stand off 
Sawyer and I read and talk more about the story of Joseph in Genesis
Knox hits Sawyer in the head with a tripod
Ryan calls about a bill not paid that terminates coverage today
Drank lots of water

Ate only 2 cookies instead of a whole bag because I was getting stresssed
Did core and strength training for 15 interrupted minutes
Knox won't go to sleep, crying, finally stopped workout to check on him and he's taken his diaper off and pottied in his bed, lovely
Get back to work out
and Thea wakes up again with gas
Knox finally goes to sleep
Sawyer wakes up
God reminds me of what I asked for this morning.
3 loads of laundry still to fold

Seeing this in writing helps me understand that in the whole scheme of everyone's world, my frustrations are sooo minor.  And I actually asked for it this morning in my time in the Word and prayer.  I asked for an unsettling in my heart to have more compassion on others.  And He gave it to me starting right at home with my kiddos!

This day isn't over and who knows what else will be frustrating, but I know that God hears me, comforts me, and tests me to get me closer to him.  I might even be able to say at the end of the day to Ryan, "Did you have a good Monday?  We did:)"

Hebrews 1:3  The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

If you don't get how this verse applies to my day it's OK because I didn't understand it at first until I looked at the words that stood out.  Enjoy breaking it down for yourself!

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Additions: Welcome baby Thea (AKA Bee-uh)

On February 11th around 11:52 p.m.
 Thea Grace Hillman came into this world with a 
head full of hair!
Thea Grace Hillman, 2 weeks old, photo by Natalie Gray Photography

It was quite an eventful delivery.  It's funny because Knox is my child who is the most active and hard to keep up with, but his delivery was the most uneventful:)  Love you Knoxer.

I was at a Mary Higgins Clark women's conference in Little Rock with 4 beautiful ladies.  We had joked that if I went into labor we would be right there by the hospital.  So, Saturday morning around 5:30 a.m., following a night of an exciting game of Chicken Feet, I started feeling really strong gas pains.  At least that's what I thought I was having.  

We had to be at the church around 8:30 that morning and I was able to get ready fine but the closer we got to the church the stronger the gas pains were.  I really wanted to be at this conference.  Clark is one of my "fave" authors now and she is so captivating as a speaker.  I didn't want to miss the rest of her interpreting the story of Ruth.  She hooked me the night before.

So, I sat there, sang through worship, and then it hit me.  I'm having contractions!  It had been 5 years since I had them and forgot what they felt like in the beginning.  So, I text Christy and told her how I was feeling and she said, "yep you're in labor start timing them".  Every 30 minutes from 9:30-12 they were coming.  Happily, I made it through the conference and actually was able to concentrate on what she was saying.  I even won a door prize!

At the end of the session Rachel took me to the hospital and of course I wasn't dialated because I NEVER do!  My contractions were still coming every 30 minutes but the doctor on call wanted them every 5-8 minutes before they kept me.  Of course, once again, my Dr. wasn't there!  We left the hospital, grabbed Chik-Fil-A, and headed back to Almyra.  

In an 1 1/2 of being home I had plenty of time to pack the boys clothes, change clothes myself, Ryan finished what he was doing in our remodeled porch, he took a shower, and I said we gotta go!  Contractions were coming every 8 minutes.  We even had time to stop and get Ryan Chik-Fil-A and eat it in the parking deck of the hospital:)

Here's the frustrating part...I got to sit through contractions from 5:00 p.m. -11:15 p.m. when they finally took me back for my C-section!  So, once again my whole family had time to get there and be ready for Thea's entrance into the world!  A lovely reminder of Sawyer's birth:)

Dr. Huback did an excellent job.  We were surprised when this sweet baby girl was introduced with SOO much hair!  Thea Grace Hillman, named for my Mammaw Retha Hughes and Aunt Gracie Duffel was born 7 pounds, 15 ounces, 20 inches long and so precious!  Our family has a little girl!

Seven weeks later she's still precious with a head full of hair!  Sleeping is getting better and the boys have adjusted great!  As long as we can keep Knox from poking her eyes and playing with her like a toy, his "Bee-uh". 

Whoever told me that having 3 was not much different than 2, LIED!  It is definitely a bigger challenge and exhausting, but I'm taking in all of this because they won't be little long.  Sawyer starts Kindergarten this fall and my heart is already breaking!

Now Ryan and I really do have our Hillman Trio and are adding to our tractors and trucks - hair bows, lace, ruffles, and pink!