Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Glow of Tiny Footprimts

This morning as I clean up the sticky mess that trails through my house left by my tiny tornado, I can see tiny feet prints on the tile floor shimmering in the light. I could be upset about cleaning this crazy mess, but something won't let me.  Perhaps, it is the delicate pictures posted on Facebook of a mother and the few precious moments she had with a baby she will never get to see make those same prints. The pictures are beautiful, but the story behind the pictures are heartbeaking. I have never known this pain personally, and I pray that I never will. Friends that have gone through it say it is the most heart wrenching experience a parent will journey through. Not only do you feel robbed of this precious baby that you are suppose to take home from the hospital, but you feel robbed of what wassuppose to be-the future. Before life has a chance to start, life is gone. I can not imagine the life time of hurt, questioning and healing that must take place. I know that I do not do this tragedy justice because I do not speak from personal experience. I want to capture what I have learned. Life is the most precious gift that God gives us. We can trick ourselves into thinking that we are creators of life, but we are not.  Job, in all of his heartache and woe got it right, "And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and The Lord has taken away; blessed be the nave of The Lord.'" (Job 1:21). I work very hard each day to cherish the beautiful messes. Yes, I get overwhelmed with the laundry, dishes, floors and for me the dreaded daily lunch making. When I get bogged by all these things, I TRY to remember I have a beautiful family making memories out of moments. I still don't like laundry or lunches but at least i get to do them. Now if you'll excuse me, my ice pop eating tornado is awake ready to start a new day.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The cross makers

So today I started thinking about the cross maker. Could you imagine if your job was to make the cross that Jesus took his last breath. There you are cutting the wood that would capture God for just a brief moment. As you fashion the two cross beams wondering what criminal would meet his demise on your masterpiece. You grin to yourself thinking that some justice will come to a lowly thief who can't follow the rules. Later that week you hear commotion is the city. Rumor is spreading through out the town. The Jews have decided to kill Jesus. You've heard a little about this man named Jesus. You scratch your head a minute thinking back to what you had heard. Was he a thief, a murderer? No, those things didn't come to mind. What had this man done that was so wrong to merit death on one of your crosses? The best you can remember he was a pretty good guy. Sure he was known to be a little crazy. You had heard that he was going around talking about the future. Some were saying that he was to be some sort of king of the Jews. Why would the Jews want to king their possible king? It just did not make sense. Your curiosity gets the best of you. You decide to make your way up to Calvary to see if someone knows what on earth this man could have done to take the place of a known murderer. As you make your way up the hill you see two crosses that your buddies had built. You could tell by the craftsmanship. There hung two men convicted of crimes. Neither of these two men looked much like a king. Out of the corner of your eye you catch a vision. "A man?" you think to yourself. It's hard to tell. This guy has been so badly beaten you wondered how this man could still be living let alone walking. Then you see your beam coming over the hill being carried by another man. There is no way that other could have carried that beam, you knew just how heavy it was. The roman

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering 9/11 my American viewpoint

A normal September Tuesday morning. I'm getting ready to go off to teach a group of squirrelly fourth graders.  The radio is on in the background announcing that it's National 9-1-1 day. I think "What a great teachable moment."  As I'm making my 26 minute drive to work, I plan out my little discussion of the people that put their lives in harms way everyday to help our country. As we are getting into our discussion, one of my students says "I know why it's National 9-1-1 day…because something bad is going to happen."  "No," I assure them "nothing bad is going to happen."  No sooner do I get those words out of my mouth...knock, knock, knock. "Miss Swanson, may I speak with you a moment" says my coworker coolly. thinking we are about to discuss lunch plans, I step out side the room. " A plane has hit the World Trade Center building."  I think ok, a plane hit a building. She waits patiently for that to really sink in. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks…"there are people IN the building."  I lean against the wall and wonder aloud, "what do we do with this information?"  We are instructed to continue the rest of the day as if nothing has happened. This is a difficult task.  It's hard to teach when I'm wondering why on earth a plane would crash into a building.  Students begin trickling out as concerned parents, who just want to hug their babies, check their kids out of school. Radios and televisions are on in the office and through out the building during teacher planning periods. All teachers are eating lunch with their students to monitor conversations. All teachers are out at recess. The eerie calm of no planes in the air lingers in the air.  Everyone is told to go home once their duty was over.  That eerie calm follows me home as I lived minutes from DFW airport. My roommate is glued to her computer and My television is on in room where just that morning I left excited about National 9-1-1 day.  My memories do not compare to my fellow American who lost family members that day but they are memories that will stick with me forever. 

Remembering 9/11 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

First grade funnies

Children are full of interesting stories and mine are no exception. We all say that we need to write these stories down and I am finally going to try. 

About a week into school Joshua had an upcoming fundraiser at to buy dinner at Raising Canes. He got a little confused as to when it was taking place. Wednesday he came home and announced "Mom, you don't need to make me lunch tomorrow (me:why?) Because we are going to Canes (Greg: just you or your class?) The WHLOE school…except for kindergarten. Poor Canes…800 elementary kids ascending on them at lunch. That would be a sight. 

Joshua has been blessed with fantastic teachers. This year is no exception. According to Joshua his teacher got Teacher of the WEEKEND. I did not correct him. She is however teacher of the year. I figure she can do whatever and I will just have to trust her. Who can argue with the teacher of the (weekend) year? 

Did you know that nurses and doctors have to go to school for 8 extra days?  I knew I should have gone into the medical profession. While I have the best doctors in the country, I think some need another 8 days of training. Miss Pelletier (Joshua's teacher) only had to go to school for 2 extra days. If I had gotten my teaching degree in two days I'm sure I would have been teacher of the weekend as well. 

That concludes part 1 of 1st grade funnies. Stay tuned for the preschool edition. I would write about the baby but he has to do something besides choking on French fries, goldfish and dry erase crayons!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Yearly blog

I admit it, I am terrible at blogging. I really do thinking of writing often but I always find a reason not to. I'm going to make no promise to do any better than I've done in the past. So much has happened in our family since the last blog. Since the last post (which was actually written in June) I discovered I was pregnant (while Greg was coming home from Big Stuf), we bought a bigger car (Jayla still wants the Escape back-she's the only one), I developed Gestational Diabetes(strict diet during our anniversary, Christmas, my birthday and Valentines day-I got to CELEBRATE Madi Gras). February 8, 2013, with very little effort, I gave birth to a very health Josiah Thomas weighing in at 6 lbs 10 ozs and 19 3/4 inches. He has fit into our family with ease. Joshua,timid at first, shows his love with the greatest gentleness and sweet little I love yous whispered in his ear. He is very helpful from the backseat and I wish I had a Joshua when he was a baby. I pray they will someday be close. Jayla is not quite as gentle needing some reminding of the fact that he is still a baby. She loves her little brother proudly and shows him off often. However, you must not get too close without mommy's approval. Jayla is Josiah's guardian and she takes it very seriously. She claims she saw his first smile. We don't tell her any different.

April 27 Greg conquered his first 1/2 marathon in the rain on the hills of Nashville,Tn. The kids and I were sad that we did not get to see him cross the finish line. The rain was relentless and the baby is too young to be that cold and wet. While we were there in Nashville we had a great time with friends and family. The Ellis family were wonderful hosts during the first half of the weekend. Hannah, Joshua, Jayla, and Benjamin had a blast playing together. The second half of the trip was spent with the Clydesdales where Jayla and Sierra became instant friends. They were two peas in a pod. We topped the whole trip off with 6 holes-in-one at Grand Ole Golf (3 by Joshua, 2 by Jayla and 1 for Greg).

I am so blessed to be the wife of a wonderful, Godly man and the mother of three beautiful children. I look forward to what God has for this next year.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Taking middle schoolers on mission trips is life changing chaos. About 9 years ago, Greg decided that we would venture out on our first ever Middle school (junior high) only mission trip. We didn't leave the city of Arlington, but it felt like we were hundreds of miles away from our usual surroundings. Immersed in a culture many of our students had seen but never understood, we saw 7th and 8th grade students' lives completely transformed as they shared the gospel of Jesus with children in their own city. Many of those students are still very involved in missions to this day.

Each year brings on its own set of challenges. One year we ventured to San Antonio with our contact person not returning calls and Greg almost canceling the trip. Stepping out on faith (this included the parents staying behind), we voyaged on. God stretched ALL of us that week. I think that was the week we put "being like Gumby" to it's biggest test. After a week of service projects to feed the hungry, they had a greater understanding of just how blessed they were. They returned home talking about the mission trip and never mentioned their trip to the water park they had just left. Last year's group of students became so attached to the children we had to pry them them away with tears in their eyes. It truly was amazing to see their spiritual lives evolve over these past year.

This year was the youngest group we have ever taken on a mission trip. Mostly students made up of 6th graders with two 7th graders. We had our usual sleep deprived drama and goofy antics. Our students were stretched beyond what they thought they were capable and leaders emerge. As ever year before them, they came home changed forever by what they had done and the unsettling urge to return. Mission trips just seem to do that to a person, no matter the age. I look forward to seeing what God does with them this year and the hope of seeing them on mission next year. I am truly blessed to be married to a man who gets the importance of middle schoolers being on mission for our Lord. It's just another step in understanding their purpose on Earth- to bring glory to God.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV84)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spinach to cupcakes and thanks mom!

It has been said that we have THE most difficult job. While this might be true, I couldn't imagine a better job. I get the honor of watching two little people grow up and figure out life in this crazy world. I know there are struggles and sometimes they don't do what they should. Those are just the cooked spinach moments. We don't like it, we have to get through it, and it makes us stronger. But oh the sweet cupcake on the other side that is waiting. So, if your a mom eating cooked spinach…just hang on the dessert is coming.

Mom-thank you for showing me what it means to be a Godly mother. You completely understand what it means to give all of yourself in every area of life. You have helped to mold me into the strong, independent (yet submissive) mother that I am. Your examples of submission, compassion and love are embedded in the fabric of my being. Now, let's see if I can pass that on to my already independent daughter.

Mother in Law- thank you from the bottom of my heart for raising a son after God's heart. My prayers were answered the day we met. Thank you for the countless hours you poured into raising him. I know he must have seemed a bit misguided in his late teens, but look were he is now. He truly is the most incredible father (awe but that is for another day).

So, sometimes as moms we have to eat the spinach to get to the chocolate, but how sweet it is. I would eat all the spinach (I HATE cooked spinach) in the world knowing the sweet ah ha moments are always right there.