Just Keep going

I missed blogging.

I missed writing about the random everyday things of being a mom, a wife, a singer, a songwriter, a woman, a human, etc.
So, I gave myself a challenge.
Post something (anything) every single day for a whole month. 
Sometimes I post something I’ve been thinking about sharing for a long time. Like, the email etiquette post.
Other times, it really is something that happens during the day that I just want to share with you.
So, last week in the middle of vbs craziness, I ran to Party City to have balloons (which I ordered on Amazon) inflated for Leeland’s birthday. 
While I was waiting in line, I saw one of my Mom’s bible study buddies. She’s more in the throes of motherhood than I am with at least one little one still in a stroller. That little encounter encouraged me to just keep going.
She told me she had referenced my blog earlier that week in a conversation with her husband. 
I cheered a little on the inside. And, I think I cheered a little on the outside too.
It’s encouraging to know that I’m not talking to myself all of the time.
Sometimes, my random, everyday life might make impact yours and connect with you.
And, so I’ll keep going this July. 
I’ll do it for me and I’ll do it for us.
Thanks for reading!
El Momma 
Date night with the DH last week 

What does the tooth fairy bring to your house?

I’ve heard this question a lot from other parents.

“What does the tooth fairy bring for a tooth?”
I’ll tell you what she brings at our house.
If she remembers to visit. (She has forgotten a couple of times in the past, but she always remembers and visits…eventually)
So, for the very first tooth it’s a whopping $2. 2 whole dollar bills. Nothing super exciting. And, yet we are always really excited to see that she has delivered.
For the second tooth and every tooth thereafter, she pays $1 per tooth.
For 4 kids that comes to roughly $22 per child or $88 total.
That’s plenty, in my opinion and these kids couldn’t be happier with the tooth fairy (at least when she shows up) 🙂

Lucky for us, she will make an appearance tonight as Trinity lost her second front tooth today. I think she looks adorable and can’t wait for her to sing “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!”

What does the tooth fairy bring to your house? is the 20th post this month from El Momma .com where I am blogging every day for the month of July. Follow with the hashtag #elmomma31 Thanks!

Another summer Another few VBS camps

We save the best for last.

And I’m not just saying that because it’s the one I’ve helped with the last three years.
There is honestly something so real, so organic, so amazing about having a “homemade,” not storebought VBS.
If you haven’t ever organized a VBS from the ground up, you may be unaware of the big business that is summer Vacation Bible School. Churches get bombarded with emails, letters and magazines trying to sell a vbs package. Meaning: a Theme for the week that can include as much or as little as you want (lesson plans, scripts for skits, CDs with theme music, lead sheets, chord charts, etc.) It’s how most churches (not all) we have visited operate. 
This is DIFFERENT. It starts with music, a scripture, an idea or all three and then we spend time praying, studying and looking at more music. That’s when the idea begins to take shape. And, we will pick a theme.
Last year the theme was all about discovering who God made you to be (YOU) and the skits and the music all focused on God’s plan and hand in our lives. This year, it’s about learning how to THRIVE using the “tools” God gives us: His Word, a Strong Foundation to build upon, prayer, Jesus, and the church body.

My job was easy. I just helped (volunteered) to do the music. It was a gift to me, really. But, the Children’s minister (my dear friend, Kelly) and her team work tirelessly on every detail of the theme: skits, snacks, story time, crafts, games, etc. It’s amazing to see it come together each year! I get to do the music: first thing in the morning without the full band and again later in the morning with the full band.
It’s a really special time that I get to spend doing something pretty different than my normal week. Yes, I lead worship every week, but not every day and not totally kid-driven. This is a very different energy and I am peacefully and happily exhausted at the end of it. And, feeling quite blessed and with a full heart after seeing the light in these beautiful children all week.
If you haven’t gotten involved in a local church, VBS week is a great week to step in. You can send your children all week (and volunteer or not) and attend church with your children on the Sunday after. By then, your children will be super comfortable in the environment. Less anxiety for you!

PS. this is not an official announcement, but…***I am really looking forward to the first week of June next summer, when (HOPEFULLY) we will get to have a VBC (Vacation Bible Camp) at Church of the Apostles Houston!***

Turning Five is Fine

Does it seem like we celebrated Leeland’s birthday all week? Well, we kind of did. 
Saturday was Leeland’s party day. 
Our house was hot. See yesterday’s AC post. 
He wanted to see a movie – The Minion Movie. We invited our cousins, a couple of friends and met at the movie theatre first thing Saturday morning. 
Some cousins were out of town, but with 3 siblings and 4 cousins in town, it was already a huge movie watching party! Add in a couple of friends and their siblings and it was a whole lot of fun!
Here’s the whole Minion movie-watching gang!
Afterwards, we planned to have Leeland’s grandparents and Aunt and Uncle and baby cousin come to the house to celebrate. (Those who were too little to sit through a movie or wouldn’t want to and wouldn’t miss celebrating their Leeland) This part was really important to our Leeland. In planning his celebration he wanted to celebrate with Grandma and Jiddy and Grandmother and Grandfather. Unfortunately, with no AC, that part of the partying didn’t look like it was going to happen. Luckily, we have great friends who offered us another solution! A very COOL solution. So, we picked up the cupcakes and balloons and had a quick little party. 
With lots of minions and a very happy Leeland…
And, Grandmother’s “L” cookies! Leeland told her “I finally figured out why you make cookies for our parties. It’s because my mom is your daughter.” 🙂
The giant balloon…as big as LeeLee

After the family celebration, we went home…to a cooling off house. The AC guy made the repairs late in the afternoon. (Praise the Lord!) So, we watched Astros baseball and Leeland opened presents. He loved them all and sends many thanks for all of the birthday wishes. 

Leeland on his fifth birthday.

Hooray! I’m FIVE!

No AC…a Houston Summer gone wrong

Does my hydrangea look hot and droopy?
Well, that’s because she is hot and droopy.
I am also hot and droopy because at this point we have been without AC for one night, going on two. 
In Houston.
In the middle of July.
What in the world!
Count your blessings, Rebekah.
You can afford to have a hot and droopy hydrangea. (Although there is often a debate on whether or not you buy yourself too many flowers)
You have a house. (A hot house, but a house)
You have a house full of children. (hot children, but children that aren’t even cranky)
You have a room with a wall unit with floor space for 4-5 people. (that’s almost your whole family!)
Tonight, I will sleep on the floor and that is a blessing.
I have a floor in a cool room to sleep on and I will go to sleep praying that the AC repairman will return tomorrow (Saturday) able to fix my AC.
Until then, I will count my blessings and get out of this (blessed) house as early as possible tomorrow.

Not enough and that’s okay

Sometimes I feel as if I can never do or be enough.

My house is not clean enough.
There are ALWAYS chores that need to be done. 
My children are not happy enough.
Why don’t they help more?
What am I doing wrong?
Look at my room.
What kind of example am I? 
I fold clothes for six.
I wash clothes for six.
I dry clothes for six.
I do laundry for six with little or no help. 
And, I don’t sort socks well.
I’ve given so many socks away because I just give up finding the pair. 
I am not enough. And you know what, that is okay.
I started writing this post in October. The day before visiting Apostles (our church home now) for the first time.  The pastor spoke right to me. He literally said I was not enough and I was floored. And that when God knows us, our innermost parts,  everything about us, he knows that we are not enough. We are not enough without Him, but with Him we are more than enough and He loves us completely and wholly and fully whether we are enough or not enough. I am not enough. I am not enough without Jesus. I am not enough without Christ.
He knows all those parts about me that I try to hide from others. He knows exactly what my room looks like. He knows exactly what my closet looks like when I close the door and I don’t want anyone else to see. He knows the things on the inside that I hide even from myself. He knows me better than I know myself and he loves me in spite of myself. I don’t know that I’ll ever be the mom that I believe I should be, but I know with Jesus I am enough and I’m going to keep trying and never give up. 

Happy Fifth Birthday to my Baby El

Well, those five years sure flew by! 
Today was a great day for this little guy.
We started with pancakes from Momma’s griddle.
Then, we spent the day at Vacation Bible School.

That afternoon, we had cake and waited for daddy to get home, so we could go to dinner, just the six of us.
He chose Little Pappasito’s for his dinner location. We love the fact that they put a giant sombrero on your head and sing to you.
It was a great day to celebrate a wonderful kiddo that blesses our life every single day!

Forgiveness in the Church

I’ve thought a lot about what forgiveness looks like.
In our culture, it’s pretty brutal.
Look at just a few of the celebrities caught up in scandals of the last few years:

Paula Deen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Deen see “Racial epithet controversy”

Lance Armstrong http://time.com/2822189/lance-armstrong-forgive-oprah/

Brian Williams http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/la-et-st-politicians-brian-williams-lie-20150214-story.html#page=1

Of course, you can find those who are well known who seem to have been forgiven for their transgressions and welcomed back into successful careers: Rob Lowe, Christian Bale, Hugh Grant, Chris Brown, etc.

But, when our culture decides that enough is enough, we won’t forgive. That transgression is too far. Too much. Too bad. And, we write the person off. That’s all. Until we forget.

On the flip side, what is the picture we get of forgiveness from Jesus?

In Paul’s letter to Ephesus he writes 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”

I think it is hard for us to accept these words as truth and let them pour over us. But, let’s try. Read this again:
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

We have REDEMPTION through his blood

The FORGIVENESS of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…

God’s word gives us further evidence of true forgiveness in Jesus’ teachings. He says in Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins

Whoa. So, God’s Word teaches that we are redeemed because of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. He paid the price for our sins and we are forgiven. But, Jesus tells us we must forgive others. To be forgiven, we must forgive.

So, the church’s response is clear- we must forgive. We want to have this unfiltered, direct connection with God that comes through Jesus Christ. And, we are promised that connection. We are promised redemption and forgiveness and we are commanded to forgive.

It sounds simple, but forgiveness, though easy to receive, can be hard to give.

Almost Five

Every day for the last week, he wakes up and asks, “How Many days until my birthday?” The answer today was “3 days!” He is so very excited to turn five. 
Can you imagine waking up this happy nearly every day and to top it off, you are wearing a top hat on your head? What a character!

We have lots of names for this child. 

Our fourth.
His name is Leeland. 
Lee for my dad, Jimmie Lee, and it was close to Leo, a family name on my mother-in-law’s side. After we named him, we found out that Leland was also a family name on her side too. 
We call him Leeland.
Lee Lee.
Big baby (he was over 10 lbs at birth!)
And, this week Big Baby turns five years old. He’s not a baby anymore.
Happy almost birthday, Leebug! Next time you awake, the answer will be “2 days!”
Love you forever.

Sad Day

This morning we found out that our dear friend and teacher’s baby went to heaven today.

He lived to be 5 months old. He was born full term at a healthy weight.
Looking perfect in every way. 
But, he couldn’t move.
He was later diagnosed with type 0 SMA. SMA is the number one killer of infants. 
How do I know that?
I know it because of super Cooper!
Because of his little life, we can make a difference by spreading awareness and stopping SMA.
His type of SMA is the worst kind and the hope to be able to take him home from the hospital one day was small. But, there was hope. And prayers. Lots of prayers.
And, he did go home.
In fact, he went many places: a bbq benefit, walks with mommy and daddy. He even went for a swim last week with mommy.
His little life is an inspiration. We now know more about SMA and we can spread awareness to stop SMA. 
More about SMA From CureSMA.org

About SMA

SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) is a disease that robs people of physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, taking away the ability to walk, eat, or breathe. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants. 
SMA is caused by a mutation in the survival motor neuron gene 1 (SMN1). In a healthy person, this gene produces a protein that is critical to the function of the nerves that control our muscles. Without it, those nerve cells cannot properly function and eventually die, leading to debilitating and often fatal muscle weakness. 
SMA affects approximately 1 in 10,000 babies, and about 1 in every 50 Americans is a genetic carrier. SMA can affect any race or gender.
There are four primary types of SMA—I, II, III, and IV—based on age of onset and highest physical milestone achieved.
Individuals with SMA have difficulty performing the basic functions of life, like breathing and swallowing. However, SMA does not affect a person’s ability to think, learn, and build relationships with others.
Though there is currently no approved treatment for SMA, there’s great reason for hope. We know what causes SMA and what we need to do to develop effective therapies, and we’re on the verge of major breakthroughs that will strengthen our children’s bodies, extend life, and eventually lead to a cure.

More about Cooper and more info on how to donate: