Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tell me 3 things that have made YOU who you are ....

That was a statement I had to complete today while I was filling out some paperwork.  I wish that I had saved it or copied and pasted it to a word document because it was thought provoking.  I am going to try and recreate my answers here ...

What a loaded question first of all.  There are so many things that could be said.

1.  First and of the most importance I am defined by the scars on Jesus hands.  I have been rescued out of the domain of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of HIS beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  I no longer have to walk in darkness but I get to be in the light!! I think its no coincidence that I love the sunshine.  I am to wear this rescue every single day in my relationships, interactions with others, etc.  I have this utmost need to constantly shed my depravity and take on His righteousness living in grace.  This is no easy feat.  Thank goodness its not about me.

2.  When I was six years old my dad died from what is now a very common skin cancer.  He was 30 years old.  He left behind my very pregnant mom. myself and my younger sister and soon to be brother.   I have now lived seven years longer than he got to.  This is thought provoking to me.  There's probably so much I could say about this but my mind is just looking for how to put it all in words so I will just say this has for sure shaped me.

3. Adoption it rocked my world..... in good and bad and yes the good outweighs the bad, but there is HARD none the less.  Becoming a mama is a life changing event in the first place.  Bringing home a child or two who were once orphans is hard business, add on top of that their medical needs and just neediness period that was a whole new ball game for me.  I had three healthy not super needy boys, I was the queen of involvement in lots of areas.  I was being stripped .... and oh how this was soo good for me.  My perspective on so many things is so different now.  I have seen Christ in such a way as I hope to never forget.  This is an ongoing journey more like a marathon or two ... and I am pretty sure I won't see the finish line on this side of life.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

starting at the beginning

Oh it has been far too long since I sat down to write on this sweet little site of mine. Like over a year!!  I think about it every now and then and I actually write out whole posts in my head but they never seem to make it to the screen.  Funny thing is I am sitting here staring at this screen wondering what in the world I should blog about.  I am not a writer by nature not even the slightest, I wish I was.  I often wish I could write like some of the other bloggers I read.  They are so eloquent with their words and I so often feel encouraged when I finish reading their posts.  Who knows maybe I will learn a thing or two and just maybe I can get in the habit of blogging regularly even if it is just for my own sake.  I have stories and I want to remember them.  I want to remember where I was and where I have come. We are often reminded in the Old Testament of how God wanted events to be written down and passed down from generation to generation.  Now I am certainly not a Bible scholar but I feel pretty good saying that I think HE desired this so we would remember HIM and what HE's done for us.  So we are constantly reminded of HIS faithfulness.  My sweet husband says I should write a book not because of my writing skills he knows I have a love for run-on sentences, sentence fragments, incorrect punctuation usage, etc.  What he does know is I have stories and he thinks they just might matter to other people and most importantly they are a reminder of God's faithfulness to us. He might seriously be biased and truthfully I don't even know where to start. As I just wrote that .. a quick phrase from a song from "The Sound of Music" came to mind .."lets start at the very beginning a very good place to start..." What I do know is that I feel this tugging from the Lord to do something I even bought this book "Lets All Be Brave - Living Life With Everything You Have" so maybe it can give me some encouragement on whatever it is the Lord is calling me to do. (I'll keep you posted on how it turns out)  Because I do have a story a few actually, and I do have a desire to encourage others in whatever journey it is that they are on - marriage, parenting, adoption, fitness you name it!   Most importantly I desire to make HIS name known to whoever will listen and in whatever form He calls me to do so.  I only have a story because HE gave me one.

So (my favorite word) here I am ... My name is LeighAnn. I am 37 years young :-) The most important thing you can know about me is that I am a chief of sinners who has been redeemed and been given the right to be the daughter of the most high King Jesus Christ.  I'm married my prince charming and we have five children.  We've adopted twice and continue to walk the road with all that brings.   We have children who have special needs. I am one year away from having a teenager in my house!!   Anger is my sin of choice plus a bunch of other things.  I struggle with good eating habits - did you say chocolate, pizza, cookies?  I love to run and workout.  My favorite clothes are workout ones. I am passionate about lots of things :-)  I want to encourage others.  I want to serve others.  Christ embodied servanthood,  and my husband has been the best earthly example I can think of - I have learned much from him.  So [again :-)] here I am ready to tell some stories and hopefully encourage and inspire others along the way.   Lord please use me and this sweet little blog site for Your glory.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Inspire - being fit with five.....

Editors note: - it has taken me all week to work on this silly blog post.  I could give you a plethora of reasons as to why - but what I have noticed most or what matters most is that God is doing a work in me and by this I am humbled, grateful, feel overwhelmingly privileged and determined to know Him more!! Goals come and go - sometimes we meet them - sometimes we don't.  But our God HE is an everlasting God.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He never changes.

Inspire..... that is my word for this year 2015 Lord willing.  I want to inspire and I want to be inspired.  The question now is what does that look like for me a mama of 5.

With the new year here there is lots of chit chat about getting in shape for the new year or getting fit in 2015 and that can mean different things for different people.   When I think of being fit - lots of things come to my mind - because there are a lot of ways we can be "fit" in this world.  I aspire to be spiritually fit and physically fit, mentally fit -  you get this idea.  One of my favorite quotes from a song says this "all the fitness HE requires is to feel your need of Him" and oh I how truly desire to feel my need for Him and Him alone.  Yes I want to be spiritually fit not that I will ever attain the fitness level I so desire here on this earth but I want to be working it out....

Now I don't know about you other mamas out there but when it comes to a "quiet time" for the most part I am in failure mode here.  I always have the best of intentions.  And there are seasons when I really get in a good groove.  I have a favorite spot in our family room and if I go to bed at a decent hour I can for the most part get up and start my day the way I really desire to without interruption.  But I think my kids have this sixth sense and they know when I am awake and they soon follow and the quiet morning soon disappears and then well slowly but surely my routine of getting up before them disappears.  

Then there are those mornings when we don't have a routine necessarily i.e. summer or just this week when we did have a routine and I could not get my groove back on because let me just tell you I love my sleep!!! So those mornings when I don't have to get up I am not excellent at making it a priority to do so.  And then of course once the day gets started - the time is eaten up with homeschooling, life, wearing all the hats a mama wears, etc.  Please hear my heart here - I am not making excuses just simply sharing an area of real struggle for me.  I have a tendency to be a check it off the box kind of a girl and this is an area that I don't want to be a check off the box.
While I am confessing I should also tell you I  tend to get really excited about the nine million different studies available and I want to start them all - but can't finish them because I have bitten off more than I can chew or maybe I start them and then they aren't as theologically sound as I had hoped and its back to the drawing board. 

I was recently listening to a podcast from Revive our Hearts ministries where Nancy Leigh Demoss was speaking on this very topic of devotion.  She reminded me that there is a big difference between devotions and devotion. Devotions is something we do... devotion is a communion with God.  Its kind of silly analogy but I think of the song from the Broadway show Grease "hopelessly devoted to you" ... when I finish my race here on earth I want the Father to look at me and say I was "hopelessly devoted" to Him - and thankfully devotion to Christ is anything but hopeless!!!  I was thankful for God's timing in listening to this particular message - it was a great reminder to me this mom of 5 of the importance of seeking that intentional devotion to God.  My "devotions" are not going to look the same as the mom next door or the same every day for that matter and I may or may not make it up in the dark hours of the morning as often as I would like but one thing I know for sure is that I want my devotion to be evident - to be seen for HIS glory.

What does this have to do with inspire - I want to be inspired by Gods truth to flesh out the sinful desires in my life, to be joyful in ALL things, to love to love BIG to love others like Christ loves.  I want to inspire my precious 5 to follow hard after Christ seeking Him in all they do all the while falling more in love with Jesus and His gospel.  I want to be a valuable helpmate to my sweet husband and an encourager to my dear friends.   To do this I will have to be diligent in being in Gods word so His truths can permeate me!! I am so thankful for the resources we have so readily available to us - I can physcially take my Bible anywhere I go - a luxury many do not have.  Here are a few things I am doing/planning  on doing 
  • I have started a read through the Bible in a year with SheReadsTruth.com This website has also done some studies through several books of the Bible.  They are currently doing John and it is corresponding with the read through.  They also have an app you can download. We are also reading through this kids Bible as a family during our family devotions at night as well as continuing to learn hymns.  

  • I really want to memorize more scripture because I really want to know God.  I think for awhile I was memorizing because it was a goal I had set and I if you know me I am kind of competitive you might say... and I as I am growing to be a woman who fears the Lord I am learning notice I say still learning that my end goal is not to say that I know so many verses in the Bible but I want my end goal to be knowing God.  Knowing Him in the moments that I might not have opened my Bible at all in a day.  If  His word is in my heart it is with me wherever I go. All that to say is I am starting out small - with Psalm 1 and I am memorizing a verse everyday.  I actually take a screen shot of the verse from my Bible app on my phone and make it my wallpaper that day so I can just look at it whenever I need to.  I really want to memorize all of Colossians at some point this year because that is my favorite book of the Bible.  I should mention a noteworthy app called Fighter Verses.  It is not free but if you are looking just to memorize a verse at a time it super helpful!! 
  • I am also going to work through a highly recommended book called Women of the Word. I am hoping to work through a book a month - that is kind of a lofty thought but I love to read ....
  • I am also reading through the book In This House We Will Giggle.  It focuses on 12 different virtues (one per month).  I am really looking forward to working through this with my fab 5 because we love to giggle!! This months virtue is JOY.  We are being fun little "joy detectives on the look out for those we come in contact with who are being joyful!! 

Another key component to fitness for me is being physically fit.  A couple of years ago I had set a goal to run a half marathon and run 500 miles in that same year.  Well that didn't happen that year. But last year it did!!! I ran two half marathons and a little over 500 miles.  It was such a great feeling of accomplishment and a good reminder to me that "the heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." While I didn't accomplish that goal when I set it - I still was able to do those things - in Gods time not mine. This year Lord willing - I am hoping to run a full marathon 26.2 miles in November.  It has been on my radar for quite some time and my sweet DP gave the registration for me to run it for Christmas.  It was one of my favorite Christmas gifts. He has been such  great supporter of my running because long runs are time consuming.   While I will continue to run this year I am also hoping to get back into and continue with my strength training.  I finished day 5 of the workout program Insanity Max today - its a 60 day challenge program.  Side note the trainer reminds me of one of the trainers at CFA Home office that has helped me in the past - shout out to Coach Lewis!! I am so super thankful that God gave me the ability to run and that I can do it.  It really is good for me.  Obviously only the Lord can make me a better mother but I am convinced he uses running to help me along because I say - running  makes me a better mother :-) 

I am not the cleanest eater in the world i.e. I love chocolate pop tarts and coke.... but I am working towards cleaner eating with the occasional chocolate pop tart and coke - you gotta live :-) 
Truth be told there are some days where I could just eat chocolate poptarts and drink coke all day all the while never working out.  Mainly there are just days when I am tired and I have had a workout being a mama, a teacher, a nurse, a chauffeur, a cook, a counselor you name it - but then I rememeber a quote from one of my running inspirations the great Louie Zamperini - "Never give up - No matter what" and if I happen to be on a run and my legs are so tired - I think of my wounded warrior friends - the ones who can't run or who run with prothesis.  They inspire me.  

So I hope I can inspire others somehow with my running and fitness.  I have no idea what this will look like.  I am thankful to have some running partners who are like minded and I pray we can encourage each other along in our journeys - maybe to run faster, run longer or just not to quit.  And maybe the Lord will use me in my MRRT (momsrunthistown) group to encourage someone along not just in their running but in their faith.  For in the end it boils down to this - 

let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith.....

So friends what are you aiming for in 2015.  How do you stay spiritually and physically fit?  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 In Review...

How do you put a whole year into words?? Ummm I can't!! As I say everytime I blog - I wish that I had blogged more - but what can I say except that I am so thankful that we have a gracious God who allows me to remember some things - not things like where I last put my keys, or where my cell phone might be - but the important things - the memory makers.  So here's a recap of sorts...

In January we saw LOTS of snow and ice for our neck of the woods!! It was a cold month with lots of warm cozy fires and this mama may or may not have gotten another year older :-)

In February we celebrated Chinese New Year, added a furry family member, and attended CFA's annual seminar where I happened to run into one of my favorite Christian artists....

In March we took a little business trip with daddy to Kentucky to visit one of favorite KY operators and his amazing family.  We also celebrated sweet Linnea bugs gotcha day!! Its hard to ever think we there was time when we didn't have her!

April was a month to remember!!! My firstborn hit double digits!! What in the world and how did that even happen!!! How do we have a 10 yo??  Nathan is growing so fast and becoming a young man before my eyes.  Praying that God will use him greatly for HIS kingdom.  And also in this fabulous month this mama met a goal she had set the year before - I finally ran that half-marathon!! It was the best experience and I am so thankful that God gave me legs that can run!!  Our sweet Ebear learned how to ride a two wheeler and Abbie got to meet our sweet friend Jacy from Irun4.  Irun4 is a group who pairs runners with children who have special needs.  The girls are both participants as buddies and I participate as a runner.  Abbie's runner is Jacy and we were able to meet her at an Irun4 function.  Linnea and I took a trip to Arkansas to visit some sweet friends who we traveled with in China.  This was probably one of my favorite trips!! We love Carrie and Bei Bei.  April ended with the glorious celebration of our risen Savior at Easter.  This was quite the month!!

May was just as fun and busy!! We got to take another business trip with daddy that resulted in Mommy spending mothers day at the beach.  It was fabulous.  We celebrated Abbies first gotcha day with us.  We had summer fever with play time in our cup de sac oasis and a few trips to the pool.  Our little Luke celebrated his 8th birthday.  He is such a tender hearted little boy who loves all things sports.

In June we had the opportunity to visit Lifeline's Birmingham office while we were in Alabama for the weekend.  During that trip David played piano for the wedding of some dear friends. It was a fun little getaway for our family.  We had some renovations in our house. We enjoyed lots of outside time and pool time.  A few doctors appointments that resulted in cupcake trips.  A fun date night first at Cafe Intermezzo!  We celebrated daddy on Fathers day and ended the month with BBC VBS!

Happy Independence day - its July!! We fireworked it up with some sweet friends for the fourth of July.  July also took us to see the Little Mermaid at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.  We had an evening trip to Stone Mountain to see the Laser show.  And thanks to CFA mommy and daddy had a little cruise getaway!!

August started the school year with both Abbie and Linnea going to new schools.  This was super big for us because not only were they going to school but they were also riding the bus!! The boys continued to homeschool participating in a school co-op on Tuesdays.

September was another month for the books.  It was not only busy it was memorable.  And of course September marks the ending of summer and the beginning of fall and of course good ole college football and some fall baseball.  September was our month for family vacation which included a trip to WDW. On our fun family vacation I got to meet the sweet little boy that I run for in our Irun4 running group!!  It also marked the end of earthly life for a remarkable man in our lives S. Truett Cathy.  We will forever be grateful for the Cathy family and are grateful for the legacy Mr. Truett left behind.  So thankful for his faithfulness to Christ and his service to all of us.  The end of the month marked birthdays for both Abbie and Ethan.  Abbie also turned double digits - 10 and my sweet Ethan turned 6 - a rite of passage for the prized BB gun.  We celebrate 4 birthdays at the end of Septmeber and beginning of October so to celebrate we took a little trip to the cabin that included a trip to Babyland General for some girlie birthdays.  Abbie and Linnea both enjoyed "adopting" their very own babies.  

October brought birthdays for both Linnea and daddy. It was also full of visits to CHOA.  We are once again so thankful for such great healthcare and we are so blessed to have CHOA so close to us.  It is super fun when we unexpectedly run into other Lifeline friends!! With Linnea being what they call a "frequent flyer" there comes a few perks - such as invitations to fairs and pink pig parties.  She is her own little celebrity with the folks at CHOA.  We also had fun celebrating fall festivals with sweet friends from church!!

Seriously my most favorite month of the year is November!! Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday!! I ran my second half marathon and continued to run on in hopes of meeting my goal of 500 miles for the year.   We also celebrated Thanksgiving feasts at school with Abbie!

And here we are in December!! This month was just as fun as all the others!! DP and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary!! He truly is my prince charming and I love thinking back to all the memories we have made and look forward to LOTS more!! We had fun decorating for Christmas, carrying out family traditions and just enjoying fun family time!! I had the opportunity to visit the house that I grew up in with my sister.... talk about memories!! We celebrated Christmas day at home and then spent a few days at the cabin just enjoying some down time and our first drive in movie!! And last but not least we had a fun day at the CFA Peach bowl this afternoon!!

Happy New Year to you all!! Looking forward to 2015!!

~Give thanks to the LORD for HE is good~