Monday, February 10, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

Before I begin, here’s a little update on my life as of now: I graduated from UGA in December of 2013 with a degree in Health Promotion. I am working part-time as a personal trainer at Tribe Fitness ( and full-time at Chick-fil-A.  I got engaged to my best friend and love of my life, Isaac Plemons on December 13, 2013.  We will be married on September 12, 2014.  Isaac is in his last stretch of pharmacy school at UGA.  He will graduate with a PharmD in May of 2015.

I am writing this letter to raise money to go to Guatemala this summer on a mission’s trip. The past two summers, I have gone to Antigua, Guatemala to work with Nathan Hardeman, a full-time missionary with Engadi Ministries. Engadi Ministries works to break the gang cycle in boys and helps them find refuge and growth in Christ by giving them a home to train them in the instruction of the Lord. Learn more about the ministry here.

As some of you may know, this country and Engadi Ministries are near and dear to my heart.  This trip was how Isaac and I met (in 2012), and we went back together last summer while we were dating.  Isaac and I are both drawn to Guatemala and hope to one day move there and work with Nathan as house parents for the boys.  This year, I will be going without Isaac (he will be interning for his last year of pharmacy school starting in May), but I cannot pass up the opportunity to work with the Guatemalans in the country that may be our future home.  So, this summer, I am returning to Guatemala during the second week of June (7-14) with Watkinsville First Baptist Church to continue helping Nathan with his work in Antigua.  Our work will involve ministering to the children in the city as well as helping with the construction of the boys’ home.

So here’s the nitty gritty: the cost for the trip to Guatemala is $1300.  This is a lot of money that I do not have.  It is with great faith and knowing that this is the will of the Lord that I have committed to this trip with full assurance that God will supply the money.  I ask that you prayerfully consider partnering with me in prayer and in finances.

                                                 *****If you can give*****
Send a check to 1061 Persimmon Creek Drive; Bishop, GA 30621.
Make the check out to "WFBC", and do NOT put my name anywhere on the check.

Please know that this trip is not possible without your help. The reason we are here on earth is to spread the saving knowledge that the only way to get to heaven is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I am looking forward to sharing this good news in Guatemala this summer!  Thank you for partnering with me in sharing the Gospel!

In Christ,
Psalms 113:7-8
“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ask heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

new year - new post

Ok, so I know that January is almost over, but it's still the first of the year, so the title counts.  I figured since my life has changed so much in the past few months that it was about time for an update.  So this post is about everything NEW in my life.

NEW name

The biggest news to announce is that come fall of 2014 I will become Mrs. Plemons!  Isaac and I got engaged on December 13, 2013.  (read the engagement story here) We haven't set a date yet, as we are waiting on his school schedule for the fall, but we do know that the wedding will take place this fall (as in, after August).  With all the excitement and adjustment of being engaged, I can say one thing: I love it!  I am so excited about the future of marrying the love of my life.  We have been so blessed to have the support and approval of both families and all our friends.  We are in the very early stages of wedding planning and will not do too much until we have set a date and can make more permanent plans, but I refuse to be stressed.  I am determined to enjoy this season (as it is only a season) because I will never be able to go back and simply enjoy being engaged.  Look for our wedding website to go up in early March!

NEW degree

I officially graduated from the University of Georgia in December 2013.  I finished classes in May 2013 and completed my degree by doing an internship at Mercy Health Center during the fall of 2013.  I now have a Bachelor's in Health Promotion and Behavior.

NEW job

Well, not really a new job, but a new position at an old job.  I worked for Chick-fil-A for a year and a half during undergrad.  After I graduated, I returned to work full-time as a Team Leader.  My responsibilities include opening up the store each morning and managing the store until the shift leader arrives for their shift.  I currently work about 40 hours a week and am grateful to have a job so soon after college.  I am also still working part-time at Tribe Fitness as a personal trainer and am currently working on renewing my certification by completing a training specialization through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

So that's the short of it.  For the moment, I am living at home in Athens, grateful my parents still let me stay, but that will change come this fall.  When Isaac and I get married, I will pack up the few belongings I call my own (because everything else is my parents), and move to Augusta where Isaac is finishing up pharmacy school (pray I find a job there).  We will live there until May 2015 when he graduates, and after that it's unknown territory. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

answered prayers

If you've been following me on Facebook, you know that I've been traveling a lot this summer.  I've been to Guatemala, Honduras, and to Florida twice.  The entire family will be flying out to Colorado at the end of this month for my cousin's wedding.  Traveling can be relaxing, at least it is for me, but it can also lead to a lot of extra thinking time, which for me, can lead to worry and stress.  So something I've been trying to do lately is pray about things instead of worry about them.  I'm very glad I did because God has shown up in two amazing ways.

1. Money for College
I graduated at the end of May, but I still need to do an internship in order to officially complete my degree.  This isn't an ordinary internship, but rather an internship that I get 12 hours of college credit for, as well as an internship that I have to pay full tuition for.  So, far, with help from both parents and grandparents, I have been able to pay cash for every semester of college thus far.  So this fall is the last semester of college that I will have to pay for, and if I can do it without taking out a loan, I will graduate completely debt free.  However, with my dad planting a new church in East Athens ( and both my college fund and the one my parents and grandparents set up for me completely drained, there's not too much money for the almost $3,000 that this fall of tuition will cost (and that's after HOPE scholarship and many fees have been waved).  Rather than panic or worry or completely stress out about finances, I decided to pray.  I prayed for God to provide with no idea what that would look like. make a long story short, when I got home from my trip to Honduras, my parents told me that a family member recently sold a very valuable painting to a museum, leaving $3,000 to each of us grandchildren who've graduated high school to use for further education purposes.  This is the exact amount that I will need to finish out college debt free.  God is so good.

2. Rosetta Stone, the language learning program
Future plans indicate that I will most likely spend some extended time in a Spanish-speaking country.  I would really like to be close to fluent before moving there.  I took four years of Spanish in high school, but 5 years of college have kind of made me forget.  I want to learn it all over again, and Rosetta Stone started to seem like the best way to do so.  However, $500 is the cost of all the levels, and as I mentioned before, I don't have that kind of money.  So, again, I prayed.  I prayed specifically for the product as I might be tempted to use $500 for something else if I was just given the money.  So again, when I got back from Honduras, I come down the stairs and my mom so non-nonchalantly says to me, "hey, did I tell you that I bought Rosetta Stone!?"  I was shocked.  She said there was a sale so she bought it.  She had no idea I was praying for it.  God is so good.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Post-Missions' Trip Update

I sit down to write this blog and it’s always hard to decide how to begin.  I know exactly what I want to say, but it’s hard to formulate it into language that will be understandable for everyone, rather than me just rambling on in Catherine-words.  There’s so much to tell about the past 3 weeks, but yet I don’t want to bore you with unnecessary details.  So I guess I’ll just start writing and trust that what comes out is what needs to be said.

First of all, a big, ginormous THANK YOU to any and all of you who supported me financially.  I have barely any money to my name so going on two international missions’ trips this summer could’ve been a big drain on my already empty bank account.  I physically could not have done them without you and for that I am extremely thankful.  Another huge THANK YOU to all of you who prayed for me during the past 3 weeks.  Both trips were physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenging and draining; thus, I needed an extra dose of Jesus to get me through.  Probably the cutest and most encouraging thing I experienced before I even left was getting to see my 3 littlest cousins (ages 4, 3 and 2).  I had dinner with them and they told me that they had been praying for me every night for the past week prior to my trip because they knew I was “going to Guatemala to tell people about God because they didn’t know God.”  My mom spend even more time with these boys while I was in Guatemala, and she said they continued to pray for me every night while I was gone.  What an encouragement that even the littlest in the Kingdom are praying for the missionaries.

Guatemala (June 9-15)
My heart was captured by this country on the trip last year, and I feel deeper in love during this year’s trip.  We spent most of the week preparing a road to be paved (which a team down there this week is actually pouring the concrete for).  This road leads into the property of Engadi Ministries where the boys’ homes will one day be built.  We were also able to go into a school in Zone 18 in Guatemala (one of the poorest, most dangerous areas of Guatemala).  In this school, we were able to paint a few of the classrooms.  The children that went to school there were so excited and encouraged that we were there.  Most of these children live in one room houses made from scrap metal.  Seeing paint on their school room walls make the rooms so bright and happy that they children are even more excited to be going to school.  As we left the school, all the students were lined up by their classrooms shouting “thank you, thank you” to us as we passed by.

 Painting in the schools...I guess I had a supervisor. 

Our team after the last day of work.  We widened this road by 2 feet on both sides.

Honduras (June 22-29)
Orphanage Emmanuel is not what you’d first expect an orphanage to be.  First of all, most of the kids have parents, but they have been taken away from them by the country because of abuse or neglect.  So it’s not technically an orphanage, and you can’t adopt out of it.  You can however sponsor children from the orphanage, which is how Emmanuel gets the majority of its funds.  The children go to school during the day and while they did, we would do some tasks around the property.  These included harvesting fish from their tilapia farm, working in the greenhouse, butchering pigs, and pouring concrete.  I personally only participated in the first two.  The last three days we were there, I spent a great deal of time around the toddler and infant house, playing with the children on the playground.  During the afternoon, after the kids came home from school, we would do a Bible story, crafts and play games with the “small boys” group (the ages being  around 4-9).  These children loved us and only wanted to play and cuddle with us.  You’ll see a few pictures of the children who touched my heart the most.


Manuel (braiding my hair) and Richard (sitting in my lap)
People have asked me which trip was my favorite. I can’t answer that because the trips were both so different.  My heart has been gripped by Guatemala and Engadi Ministries, but the children worked their way into my heart when I was at Orphanage Emmanual.  The real test for me is “would I go back?”…and the answer is yes for both trips.

  Isaac and me in Antigua, Guatemala (volcano in the background).

Isaac and me at Orphanage Emmanuel

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Summer Missions 2013

A mini life update: I am currently in my last semester of classes at UGA.  I will be done in May, complete an internship in the fall, and graduate in December of 2013 with a degree in Health Promotion.  I currently work at Tribe Fitness ( as a personal trainer, hoping to continue in that profession after graduation.

So...last summer, I went to Antigua, Guatemala with my sister doing missions work with a group from Watkinsville First Baptist Church. While in Guatemala we worked with Nathan, a full-time missionary with Engadi Ministries. Engadi Ministries works to break the gang cycle in boys and helps them find refuge and growth in Christ by giving them a home to train them in the instruction of the Lord. Learn more about the ministry here.

The trip was life changing and the Lord put a burden in my heart for the boys in Guatemala.  This summer, I am returning to Guatemala during the second week of June (8-15) with Watkinsville First Baptist Church to continuing helping Nathan with his work in Antigua.  Our work will involve ministering to the children in the city as well as helping with the construction of the boys’ home.

Not only am I going to Guatemala this summer but I will also be going to Honduras during the last week of June (22-29) to work at Orphanage Emmanuel. ( This ministry takes in unwanted children and gives them a chance at a life that they would not have had otherwise. During our time there, we will be helping on a construction project in addition to spending lots of time with the kids and showing them the love of Jesus.

So here’s the nitty gritty: the cost for the trip to Guatemala is $1300, and the cost of the Honduras trip is around $1100.  This is a lot of money that I do not have. However, praise the Lord that the cost of the Honduras trip is already covered, so all I need to do is raise $1300. It is with great faith and knowing that this is the will of the Lord that I have committed to these trips with full assurance that God will supply the money.  I ask that you prayerfully consider partnering with me in prayer and in finances.

                                                 *****If you can give*****
Send a check to 1061 Persimmon Creek Drive; Bishop, GA 30621.
Make the check out to "WFBC", and do NOT put my name anywhere on the check.

Please know that these trips are not possible without your help. The reason we are here on earth is to spread the saving knowledge that the only way to get to heaven is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I am looking forward to sharing this good news in Central America this summer!  Thank you for partnering with me in sharing the Gospel!

Acts 1:8
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

a little more handsome

For those of you who know me at all, or even if you happen to see my Facebook page periodically, you know that there is a certain little boy who means so much to me.  I've been friends with Jess and Chris Fitzgerald since early 2010, and their first child, Asher Keel Fitzgerald, was born February 7, 2011.  I've spent a lot of time with Asher since he was a baby, have grown to love him so much, and we known each other so well that he even calls me "tatty."  About nine months ago, Jess told me she was pregnant with baby number 2, and I remember telling my mom, I don't think I could love another baby as much as I love Asher.  She responded, "love is not divided, but multiplied."

This weekend, on Saturday, September 29, 2012, Baby Fitz #2 was born: Graham Christopher Fitzgerald.  I held that baby and fell in love again.  He is so precious, and the world just got a little more handsome with this baby. I love this boy so much, and I'm not even related.  I can't imagine how much Chris and Jess and the rest of grandparents and family love him.  I am already looking forward to getting to know him and continuing to "nanny"/babysit him and Asher in the years to come.
The happy parents!
Graham Christopher Fitzgerald
With the birth of "Baby Next" (as I called him until he had a name), it meant that Asher and I got to spend a lot of time together on Sunday while Jess and Chris and family were at the hospital with Graham. I picked him up for church, he played in the nursery, and then we went home for lunch and a nap (well, study time for me while Asher slept).  Then we got to go to the hospital to visit Graham (he's having to spend a few days in the NICU for an infection...he's looking better and expected to be done with antibiotics by Thursday or Friday).

                             A little tired after church                                       Before church, hanging out with
                                                                                                                   me in the sound booth.
 Baby Graham

Because Graham was born on a Saturday, UGA football was being played.  This week was a home game; and it was a good one!  We played TN and we won, making us undefeated this season.  Kay and I got to meet Hairy Dawg (which is one of three things I wanted to accomplish regarding UGA football before I graduate).  Now I just have to meet/get a picture with Uga and be on the sidelines for at least a few minutes in a game.  I will love you forever if you can make either of those two things happen. 

In other news, I still love my job as a personal trainer!  And I made an A on a test yesterday that I hardly studied for!  The Lord is good and continues to bless me beyond what I deserve.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm an introverted extrovert

I spent a lot of time around people.  I'm in classes with 60 or more people at a time.  I live with six other people.  My job consists of spending lots of time with people.  And most of the time, I have evening and other extracurricular activities that require me to...yep, you guessed it, be with people!  And I love it!  I love being with people.  I'm very much a people-person.  I love talking with people, hanging out with people, spending time with people.  I am an extrovert (sometimes to a fault in that I am a loud person).  However, sometimes I just have one of those days where I get people overloaded, and I think, "if I see one more person I'm going to blow my head off."  Today was one of those days.

It's not that anything bad happened.  No body said anything to make me mad.  I didn't get in a fight with anyone.  It's just been one of those weeks where I've been with people so much and I've had so much going on (mid-terms are next week) that I need to not be with people so that I'm a much pleasant person when I am with people again.  So I cancelled all my evening plans and made new plans to do nothing.

Well, not nothing.  I got a work-out in, to rid myself of stress (see below if you'd like to try my circuit).  Afterwards, I made some tea for the stress-induced sore throat I've come to house in my body.  Then I spent two hours studying and doing homework.  This was all very nice "alone time."  But something was missing; my mind still felt "heavy."

Jesus was missing.  The one person who is THE stress-reliever, THE healer, THE rest I needed today had only been spent time with while I had my discipleship group this morning, and even that was with other people.  Don't get me wrong, we had an amazing group this morning, got through all of Luke 2 (which I thought would be impossible) and had corporate prayer and worship, but that doesn't substitute for a personal reading of Scripture and prayer.  What I needed was ALONE time with Jesus.

I opened to Psalms 27:1-6

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid.
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that I will seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord 
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord 
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tend sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

What a beautiful reminder of the power of Lord, even in times of distress.  I needed to be reminded that the one thing I should be seeking (more than good grades, more than a raise at my work, more than lots of friends and favor among my peers) is the face of the living God.  He is the only one that can sustain me.  He is the only one who can save me.  He is the only one who can defeat my foes.  And praise Jesus that he does!  I am glad that I don't have to do it, because I never could.  I will be confident, that my God can!

And on a completely unrelated note, my d-team worked through Luke 2 this morning, and this little verse about the prophetess Anna is completely amazing and inspiring to me. 

Luke 2:37
[Anna] did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.

What a role model for all of us!

September 27 work-out
rotation of 21-14-7 of each
     single leg lift to dumbbell (lie on your back with arms extended upwards with a dumbbell in hands, crunch up and lift your leg towards the dumbbell until the dumbbell touches your shin)
     alternating bicep curls

Monday, September 24, 2012

The One With The Life Update

So, 4 months ago, you heard from me...and here we are in Fall of 2012, when my last post in May felt so long ago.  I will try to keep this short and sweet so not to bore you with the non-excitingness of my life, but I was reading Jon and Katie Alligood's blog today and felt inspired to update my blog on my life.  So here it goes...

Summer 2012

It went by WAY TOO FAST!  I spent the month of May taking an Epidemiology Maymester class at UGA, which is basically fitting a semester long class into 15 days of 3 hours a day.  I was thankful to have friends in the class with me, but needless to say, I spent most of the class on Pinterest of Facebook and still made an bam!  

 After class, my sister Sarah and I spent a week in Guatemala with a team (seen right) from our church (Watkinsville First Baptist Church) working with missionary Nathan Hardeman and Engadi Ministries.  It was such a blessing to go with Sarah on her first out-of-country trip.  Engadi is building a home for boys with the aim of breaking the cycle of violence and gangs by training them to be godly men.  We spent most of the trip doing construction on the property.  The picture of Sarah and I below is us in front of a large pile of dirt that we pulled from all week.  I have never been so captured by a mission's trip.  I have seen Nathan's heart for the boys of Guatemala and love his mission so much that I am already planning on going back again this summer.

After coming home from the trip, my summer consisted of a family vacation to Asheville, NC at the end of June and then a family reunion with the Holt family (see picture at left) in Folly Beach, SC at the end of July.  The beginning of August met me with the start of a new job and my senior year at UGA.

Fall 2012
I am a senior at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.  Go Dawgs!  I am studying Health Promotion and Behavior, and if you don't know what that is, it's exactly like it sounds...I promote health.  I got accepted to my major for Spring of 2012, which means I am in my second semester of taking major classes.  After this semester, I have two semesters semester of classes and then my last semester will consist of an internship. I am supposed to be graduating in May of 2013, but I may be pushing it back to December of 2013 (still praying about this).  I am taking 12 hours of classes which, unfortunately, have proved to be pretty boring, but so far fairly easy for me.  I am looking forward to being done with school, not because I don't like it (I am the nerd who actually really enjoys school, but because I am finally fell in love with a job and can't wait until I can do it full time after graduation.


Last semester (Spring 2012), I took an elective for my major entitled "Intro to Personal Training."  This class was designed to teach you how to be a personal trainer and prepare to you take the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Personal Training exam.  I took the class not because I was interested in a job as a personal trainer, but because I was interested in learning more about exercising for my personal fitness.  I loved the class from the moment my professor started taking.  And then halfway through the class, I realized "I could do this as a job, love it, and be good at it."  The day after my final in the class I drove to Lawrenceville, GA to take the NASM test and PASSED!  I have been blessed with two jobs as a trainer: UGA at the Ramsey Student Center for Physical Activities and Tribe Fitness.  I started working at UGA in August and with Tribe in September.  (the picture to the left is my profile that hangs in the gym at Ramsey)

I LOVE IT!  I have always enjoyed working, but I have never fallen so much in love with a job that I could actually see myself doing it the rest of my life, as a career...until now.  I've been working as a trainer for only two months, but I've already experienced the old phrase "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life."  I currently have six clients between the two jobs and love spending time with them while working out, learning about their life.  Training is my mission field and each one of my clients is an opportunity to show/share the gospel with them. (the picture to the right is my personal training business care with Tribe and the photo below is of another UGA training and myself doing a foam-rolling workshop on campus)

Life etc
When I'm not in class or training my life is otherwise pretty busy.  I am involved with the technical team in our worship ministry at church and am also on the leadership team for the college ministry at my church.  One of my favorite parts of the week consists of my Thursday morning discipleship group with four other girls who also go to UGA.  We are currently studying through the book of Luke and, after 5 weeks of meeting together, have just finished chapter 1.  These girls have become some of my closest friends.  We studying the Bible together, pray together, and keep each other accountable by confessing sin and speaking truth to each other (even when it hurts).  We also "do life together" by going to dance parties and UGA games together. (seen below are pictures of my d-team; missing is a picture of Kalie Hall)
                Phi Slam party: (L-R) Meredith Holt, Kay Parker, me, Kimberlyn Wilson
UGA game vs Florida Atlantic University: (L-R) Kimberlyn, me, Kay
UGA game vs Vanderbilt: (L-R) Kay, Meredith (Redcoat trumpet player), me

Another favorite part of my week is my Tuesday afternoon babysitting date with my favorite little boy, Asher Fitzgerald.  I have know his parents (Jess and Chris) since Spring of 2010 when they led my small group. Jess wasn't pregnant yet and we used to take walks together weekly before he was born. I got so excited when she got pregnant with him (an answer to prayer), and after meeting him for the first time at the hospital when he was only 15 hours old, we have spent much time together.  I have been keeping Asher every week on Tuesdays since he was 4 weeks old so Jess can volunteer at the Athens Pregnancy Center.  We've also spent many evenings together so Chris and Jess can have a date night to themselves.  He is now 19 months old and expecting a baby brother any day.  Whenever he sees me, a big smile spreads across his face, he runs to me yelling "tatty tatty" (that's Asher-talk for "Catherine").  He brings so much joy to my life! 

If I could choose one verse that I have been clinging to these past few months, it would be...

Galatians 6:9
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

In the business of life, especially this "season" of my life that seems to be especially busy, I have a tendency to become weary of doing "stuff", even good stuff like church and ministry.  However, I know the work I do in Christ and for Christ will not be done in vain.  Even the seemingly mundane activities of life, if done for Christ, will spread the Gospel of Jesus by the Holy Spirit working in me. This is truly "glorying in the ordinary."

Last few pictures of some of my closest friends...
            Julie Hinson and me (we are both Health Promotion majors and have a lot of classes together)
Chelsea Jay, Kay Parker, me (girls from church)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

painting...with mom

Memorial day was yesterday.  A time to remember all those who've served our country, fighting to keep us free.  Apparently, it's also "national BBQ day" and "home improvement day."  Whatever you want to call it, it's really a day to spend with family. 

This year, my family was scattered.  Daddy and Josiah are in Uganda for another week.  Sarah left for church youth camp at the beach.  Michael was working.  So that means, Mommy and I were left to our lonesome.  We decided to make a day of it.  Mommy has been in a painting mood, and after 3 years of living in our house with every wall the same color as the day we moved it...a surprisingly pretty brownish/tan's about time to add some color!   Sarah's room got painted last week (teal blue with a black chalkboard wall and a pink bathroom).  Now, it's my turn!

After mowing the grass (which, if you know me this won't surprise you, I did barefoot) and dropping Sarah off at the church, we headed off to Home Depot for paint!  We started our just going to paint my bathroom, but after finding a color we really liked, the half-bath downstairs was soon about to get colorized.  The picture shows the colors.  The color for my bathroom is the lightest green shown (Green Shimmer).  The color for the half-bath downstairs is the coral color second from the top (Sahara Sun).  The lightest blue color is for my bedroom, which hasn't been gotten to yet.

But enough about meaningless paint (although, both rooms did turn out really well).  The whole point of this blog is to express how wonderful my mom is and how thankful I am to have her as my mother and friend.  We've never, at least not to my memory, had a big strain in our relationship.  Sure we've had times where we fight or disagree, especially since we're both opinionated people and I've been a stupid teenage girl with hormones, back-talk and just plain sin raging.  However, as I've gotten older (and hopefully more mature), our relationship has grown from just mother/daughter to friend/friend. 

We genuinely have fun together as we do this crazy thing called life together.  We talk about anything, and I seriously value her opinion and advice.  She worked her way through college (yes, I followed in both her and my dad's footsteps by going to UGA), worked to put both her and my dad through seminary in Chicago, stayed at home to be her husband's helper as he was a pastor for 18 years in WI and home-schooled us four kids most of our lives.  She has glorified God is the seemingly ordinary tasks of life, found great joy in ministering to women of all ages (which is one of her passions in ministry), and has raised us kids in the knowledge and love of the Lord.  From her example, she is the reason I myself desire to be a wife and mother one day.  She has shown me Jesus in ways I can't even begin to describe.

Our relationship is deep not because we share DNA and have lived together for 22 years, but because we share the common bond of Jesus Christ.  It is only by the grace and forgiveness of Christ that we can have the relationship that we do.  I have truly been blessed with a mother and friend that I can be real with, cry with, laugh with, and trust with my life.  She seeks Jesus with everything and prays always.  I am thankful for the legacy of Jesus love that both her and my father have given me.  I am blessed because of their lives!

"But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments."   Psalms 103:17-18

Friday, May 25, 2012

doing crazy life together

For the past 2 years, one of the things that I am most thankful for in my life is a community of women in my life that are at the “next stage” from me.  These women have graduated from college, gotten married, and have young children.  With a desire to one day be a wife and mother, I love spending time with them because they teach me so much more about life and godliness than I could ever learn in a college classroom.

I had the honor and privilege of spending time with two of these women and their children yesterday for an afternoon.  There was no plan, no schedule of what we were to do, but that’s the beauty of this relationship: it’s simply doing life with these ladies…and I love it and thrive on it!  I arrived at J’s house around 3:30 in the afternoon, during naptime.  Her two kids would be asleep for about another hour so we got to sit in the living room, sip coffee, and catch-up on life.  We talked about everything under the sun: Jesus, recipes and Pinterest, growing in grace, kids, confession, babies, the Bible, health, church, what would be for dinner, etc.  You name it, we probably covered it!  

About 4:30pm, after discussing how long the kids were sleeping (which was about 4 hours, for the record), L arrived with her 10-week-old baby girl. Baby Girl A had just come from the doctor and had gotten four shots that morning (ouch!).  Even though Baby Girl A was sleeping and J’s two babies were sleeping, the peacefulness was short lived.  J’s two babies (Toddler Boy A and Infant B) and Baby Girl A was soon to follow.  We moved to the kitchen where snacks were given to the three kids and me!  Dinner (which was to be homemade turkey meatballs with pasta, red sauce and broccoli) was soon to begin.

During dinner preparation, which, to my observation, becomes a much more difficult task when you’ve got two hungry children, the kids were stripped down to just their diapers, and put in a high chair.  The faces that they gave J, L, and me during food prep was precious as they excitedly awaited their meal.  Homemade turkey meatballs, pasta and red sauce, and broccoli was soon put on their trays, and I soon saw why they wore no clothes.  These two clean, hungry children soon had full bellies and red bodies (Toddler Boy A soon acquired something resembling a clown mouth…you can use your imagination on that one). 

After dinner, kids covered in sauce and all, we moved to the back deck where two naked children played so very happily in a bucket of hose water and J gave them a mini-bath outside.  Such joy was seen on these babies’ faces.  They loved splashing, playing, and throwing every toy into the bucket.  J would spray Toddler Boy A with the hose and a huge smile came over his face as he ran around the deck laughing and giggling.  It was a sad day to come inside and get dressed, which wasn’t exactly getting dressed at all, but rather changing the wet diapers and just putting a shirt on. 

Dinner was soon done, the kitchen had been cleaned up and Baby Girl A was soon getting fussy (I would too I had just had received 4 shots in my legs), and Infant B and Toddler Boy A were getting restless.  A WALK!  That’s the key!  Three kids, two moms, me, and a dog were soon out the door!  J put her two kids in a double baby jogger, in nothing but a shirt and diaper (which was too cute to even try to explain), L put Baby Girl A in her car seat with her own stroller, and I leashed Spotted Dog B.  These kids love to walk! Well, last night that seemed to be the ticket to content and peaceful children – a short little walk around the block.  Toddler Boy A had his sippy cup and puppy (a stuffed animal blanket that is essential for putting him to bed), Infant B (with paci in mouth) almost fell asleep in the stroller, and Baby Girl A was peaceful in the stroller even though she would whine every other second because of the pain from shots. 

Through all this and because of all this chaos (including an almost runaway stroller), I love to spend time with these ladies and learn from them interacting with their kids.  Despite the occasional fussiness of the three kids (which was actually more often than not last night), the love that overflows from the moms is complete evidence of Christ’s love flowing through them.   I only hope they know what a blessing they are to me and how thankful I am to them for letting me “do life” with them and learn from them.  These women are truly amazing.  Whoever says that being a stay-at-home mom is not a full-time job has clearly never spent an entire day with one such woman. These women are first of all their husband’s helper, and to their kids they are nurses, cooks, cleaners (both of the home and the children), chauffeurs, coaches, hug-givers, boo-boo fixers, and most importantly they are Jesus to their children. They are patient, gentle, compassionate, giving, and self-sacrificing.  Through them, I see no higher calling than for a women to be a mother.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.   2 Corinthians 12:9