My rebellious non-trendy parenting style

Disclaimer: I typed this post a week ago and it's been a debate in my head over whether or not to post it. I've been under this conviction for such a long time. This is MY conviction. Please understand that. I do not expect anyone else to follow in my footsteps. I just want to share. That's all. 

This post is bound to be a little controversial. Older moms may think I'm crazy for having such extreme expectations, younger moms may be irritated or intimidated by this post. Some of my mom friends may even think I'm crazy. Well, this is just me. These are my thoughts today, as a late 20-something, with a young daughter, who just has the conviction that if I am not careful to be set apart from the standards of this world, there will be a high price to pay for me and my family. I do not have a "holier than thou" attitude. This is just me and my words, with all humbleness. 

During my adolescent years, I discovered that I don't enjoy being like everyone else. I didn't give in to trends. I have never in my life owned a pair of Birkenstocks. I only owned one shirt from Limited 2 and it was a hand me down from my best friend growing up. I never begged for a Tamagotchi.

{Some of you are like, what the heck is that? It's a hand-held toy pet. I remember sitting at lunch in middle school surrounded by high-pitched dings reminding my friends that their electronic pet was hungry or wanted to go for a walk.}

Without intention, I did not get on the trendy bandwagon. I have parents who indirectly and discreetly taught me, by our buying habits, that I don't have to have what everyone else has.

Of course, there were a few exceptions. I did own a red anorak from Gap. And I did have some Timberland boots and Wallabees (that I still own and wear...yes ma'am I do. The Wallabees that is, not the Timberlands!). I bought a pair of Chacos this summer and returned them. And I'm still in debate over getting my first pair of Toms.

When it came time to buy my prom dresses...oh my, what an incredible amount of time that took! I was absolutely opposed to wearing a different shade of what every other girl would have on.

And I was super picky about my wedding dress being timeless, not trendy.

It's really a far stretch...but the way I feel about trends is the way I feel about parenting. I don't have to parent like everyone else does. I have come to learn that that means I will have shallow friendships with many moms and deep ones with very few. What the world accepts as good parenting is WAY different from what the Lord accepts as good parenting.

Becoming a mother has made me realize even more that I just do not want to be like everyone else. It's not easy to go against the grain, but when it comes to Lily it's absolutely worth my attempts to be different.

Since before she was born, I have wanted to raise her in a way that she understands that the world does not revolve around her. I want her to be aware of the needs of other people. I pray for her to have compassion and the desire to serve others. I have no desire to have a worldly, materialistic, or popular "all about me" daughter. Like I said in my last post, I want her to be comfortable in her own skin. I pray daily that she will not be influenced by the world and her choices, even down to which dress she picks out for school, will be based on pleasing the Lord and just simply doing what she wants to do because it's her decision, not a decision that the world or her friends made for her. I want her to have an intimate fellowship with her Savior so that when she thinks for herself and makes her own decisions, they are the fruit of her relationship with Him.

Here are some of the things I (we) do to foster godly character in our little girl:

She does not wear a two piece swim suit. Quite frankly, I'd be okay if she never wears one. And as long as I'm not allowing her to wear one, I won't either. I mean, I'm just dying to show off my post-baby body, but I'll show some self-control for her sake. JUST KIDDING! What kind of example would I be setting? Our beauty is found in our heart for Jesus. Not in our flat stomach, skinny thighs, and tan skin. The same rule applies for what I wear vs. what I allow her to wear. We will be modestly dressed, even now when she doesn't even really understand the whole clothes issue. I wear very little, or no, makeup. Fortunately, I loathe wearing makeup. But, I want her to see that makeup complements our beauty, it is not a necessity for beauty.

I don't say yes every time she asks for something, even if she says it nicely and ends with "please". That may mean I leave the store with a mad child, but it's good for us to deal with that. It teaches me patience and self-control and it teaches her that she can't have something just because she asked for it. Guess what? Sometimes I beg God for things and He still says no.

I rarely buy her something just for the sake of it being cute and I know she would love it. I'll surprise her every now and then. In fact, I love to surprise her! But, I don't buy every Dora toy I see. I don't want to wear out the surprise factor. I don't want her to come to expect and demand material things from me.

Lord help me, I will not go overboard with her birthday parties. We will celebrate, yes. We will make her feel oh so special, because she is. But, I will not use every idea I pin on Pinterest.

I will not sit around on my phone all day long while she plays and I ignore her every attempt to get my attention. Yes, I do use social media on my phone. But, I carefully protect my one on one time with her. If it's just the two of us (or even the three of us), my focus is on her and not my social life. Spending lots of time on social media shows her that my social life and promotion of myself (which is all that stuff really is anyway) is more important than quality time with her. I never want her to think that something trumps her...other than Jesus and her Daddy.

I don't like her looking at People magazine (just an example) or anything on TV/radio that would promote worldly thinking or an "all about me" attitude. I'll be honest, she loves the song Call Me Maybe and I hate that she knows it. It's cute and all, but I don't want her to hear the song so much that she learns the lyrics.

I don't talk negatively about my physical appearance around her. If we go walking or running, I tell her it's because God gave us our bodies and we take care of them by eating right and exercising. I never express to her that I'm "fat" and "need to lose some weight."

When we say "no" we try to stick to it, no matter the battle we face as a result. Even if what she wants is really no big deal at all. The fact of the matter is, Mommy and Daddy said no, therefore it won't happen. We do offer grace though :).

I know I sound like a complete snob. Or a mean parent. I promise I'm not. I'm not perfect. I don't know how to do the whole God-centered parenting thing flawlessly. Who does? But, by golly, I'm going to diligently do my best according to the strength and wisdom from Him that is within me. I can't protect her from the world. We live in it. Sin is everywhere. We are sinners. But, I can be very careful to set boundaries that foster a heart for Jesus and a desire for His approval and no care to meet the world's standards.

Being intentional in parenting is not an option. It's an obligation to my responsibility before God to raise the daughter He put in my hands. I love Lily with a love that I can't comprehend. In that love, knowing that this world can never satisfy her, I want to offer her Jesus. Therefore, I have no desire for her to desire this world.

I know that not every mom does things this way. Even some Christian moms are less concerned about this stuff than I am. That doesn't make you a "bad" Christian. You don't answer to me and I am not the standard. And if you have a boy, the list may be completely different things. I don't claim for my style of parenting to be what's right. These are just the convictions I have and how they flesh themselves out in our family.

I also know that I can do everything "right" and Lily can turn out to be completely rebellious and resistant toward God. All I can do is pray against that, set the example for her, and honor the Lord in my parenting. God is sovereign over her life. I trust He will use my efforts to glorify Himself and bless my family how He chooses.

I was so blessed by Vicki Courtney at the dotMOM conference. She said what I imagine I would tell younger moms in 15 years. It was on narcissism and how we as moms can add to the problem of creating little me-monsters. Here's my notes straight from my notebook:

Are we raising a little narcissist? Are we buying into the world's definition of a good mom?

How to create a me-monster (aka what NOT to do):

1.  Make your child the center of your life.
We can make our kids a counterfeit god. We are putting our  kids where only God should be. Our children are not the center of our home. Christ is!

2.  Do whatever it takes to protect your child's "fragile" self-esteem.
All you are doing is making them think they are better than everyone else.

3.  Rescue your child from the consequences of poor choices and life's injustices.
We are teaching them that the rules don't apply to them.

4.  Teach your child to put themselves before others.

One day our children will leave our homes. The time they have in our home is very short, compared to the long life they will hopefully have outside of our home. We can't spend our child-rearing years of our marriage focusing on them 100% and neglected God and our husbands. The result will be a truly empty and lonely nest. We must be in the process of letting go little by little so that we as moms (and dads) still have an identity when they are gone.

To conclude this ridiculously long post...

Keep doing what you are doing, moms. If we are keeping in step with the Spirit, he will convict us where we are wrong and will encourage us where we are right. We have to take this whole parenting thing seriously. We are raising a generation of people who will one day be die-hard disciples of Christ, passive Christians, or rebellious enemies of God. Ultimately, God is sovereign over who they will become. But, it starts in our homes and we must daily be on our knees asking Him how He wants us to do this. Please Him, and have no regard for the foolish and fleeting standards of this world.


dotMOM Part 2: RELAX

Before I even begin to record my thoughts from the weekend at the dotMOM conference, let me first say this:

If you are an older mom, with adolescent or grown kids, and find that you wish you had done things differently...I really don't want to discourage you. Please don't let the guilt brought on by the enemy make you feel like you've failed. If anything, you've done what all young moms are doing now. Learning as you go, making mistakes along the way, and thriving on God's grace and forgiveness. And in the end, your child is exactly who God created him/her to be. 

So, moms--young and old, there is no room for guilt or regret here. Only encouragement, because we all need that. And conviction, because we all need that too. 

I'll start by saying anyone who does not know Jen Hatmaker needs to get acquainted with Jen Hatmaker. Like now. Well, read this post first, then hop over to her blog. Do you ever hear someone speak or read something from an author and think to yourself, that person is so much like me! Her sense of humor/sarcasm/bluntness/no-shame-in-what-I-say is, umm, just like mine. So you can imagine that I absolutely loved hearing her speak. 


That was her theme. Just relax. 

Do you ever pre-worry about a hypothetical scenario involving your family? 

{Cue finger pointing from my husband}

Here's an example, in case you are abnormal and only deal with reality. Or a man. Because they don't play the "what if" game.  

You know what I'm talking about. 
The thoughts that flood your mind every time you are on a bridge. If this bridge collapses...

First, I'll roll down the windows. While we are falling to our death, I will unbuckle my seatbelt and crawl to the back of the car and unbuckle Lily. Then, I will quickly put her in the life vest that I have hidden under her seat (which reminds me, I need to buy a lif evest to put under her seat). If we are still mid-air (you know, in case the bridge is really tall and we fall in slow motion like we do in my imagination) then I will jump out while holding her, land safely in the water and swim to shore or wait for a rescue boat. If we are already in the water, I will hold her tightly and make my escape from the car. By that time there will already be a rescue boat waiting to get us. 

It's kind of like the one time I was sitting on the emergency exit row in an airplane between my brother (16) and Brent (23). I was the 22 year old that looked too young to be sitting on that particular row. Pretty sure the minimum age requirement is 15. That's besides the point. The stewardess bent down in front of me, like I was 8, and said,

"Sweetie, I want you to be aware that you are sitting on the emergency exit row. You are not old enough to be sitting here so I was wondering if I could have you switch seats with someone who is." 

"I'm 22," I said, maybe with the attitude of an 8 year old. 

"Oh, ok. Well do you feel comfortable being responsible for the others on this plane in case of emergency?"

"Yes. Now get out of my face." Ok ok, I didn't say that last part. 

What I wanted to say is, "Look, stewardess lady, if there is an emergency on this plane and I am responsible for doing anything but spazzing out and screaming 'help me God, help me God', I will fail you. There is no age that I will ever be that will improve that outcome. I will be helpless to everyone, including myself. I will succumb to my inevitable death and die of a panic attack before anything else. So, no I do not feel comfortable sitting on this row in the event of an emergency. But in the meantime, I'm going to buckle up and hope for the best and enjoy the extra leg room." 

Whether I'm falling to my death off a bridge or out of a plane, it's just plain foolish to imagine those things happening and spend my time praying they don't. LIKE I'M GOING TO BE THINKING LOGICALLY IN THE EVENT OF A DISASTER! So what's the use in thinking logically about hypothetical scenarios that a) may never happen, and b) won't pan out quite like we prepare for it to.

It's silly to waste our time worrying about anything. And it's silly to waste our time praying for those things that we do worry about to not happen. What we need to pray is that we can overcome worry and, instead, trust the sovereignty of God over our children all day long, every minute, every second of the day. And trust that when we are in a horrible situation, we will receive the wisdom in that moment to do what's best. 

All that leads to this: when in your life have you grown the most? In times of certainty, comfort, safety? 

I don't think so. 

It's in the times of struggle, pain, sacrifice, and loss that we grow as children of God. 

Guess what? It's the same for our children. They learn the true marks of a disciple of Jesus when they are scared, out of their comfort zone, hurt, and selfless. 

Not that I desire for Lily to be scared or hurt, it's just that I desire for her to know Jesus. And the best way for that to happen is to experience suffering as Jesus did. 

So, if she gets her feelings hurt on the playground, gets a teacher she can't get along with, isn't invited to a birthday party, doesn't make the team, etc. I will hurt/cry with her. I will comfort and encourage her in light of God's word. But, I won't parent her in order to avoid struggles and failure. I won't jump to call the school when I don't like who her teacher is. I won't hunt down the parent of the child who called Lily a name on the playground and give her a piece of my mind. 

I will remind her of the life of Jesus and that putting up with the crappy stuff is part of life. Minus the word crappy...I'll substitute a more kid-friendly word. I'll teach her that we don't run from the tough stuff, instead we take it to Jesus and ask Him to give us grace as we deal with it according to His will and for His glory. I will remind her that He is FOR her and for her good. 

I agree with Jen when she said that she doesn't want to be the reason her children choose safety over courage. Amen! Instead, I want Lily to recognize God's sovereignty in her life even at this early age. I will parent with diligence, not fear. Read this post, I hope she is already figuring that out. 

What do I want for Lily? I want her to be brave and fearless. I don't want her to compare herself to others, although I know she will. I want her to be comfortable in her own skin. I want her to be confident of who she is in Christ so that potentially hurtful words and awful situations will only affirm in her heart that she is engraved on the palm of His hand and she can walk with a smile on her face because she knows Who she is joyfully trying to please. 

I just want her to know Jesus. That's it. 

So, all you parents out there. Just relax. Take your worries to God and trust His sovereign grace over your children...and yourself. 


Sweet September Baby

Make sure you also read the post before this one! 

Today is without a doubt the hardest day of my life, Sweet September Baby.

The 9 months before today were hard. The two 1/2 weeks it took to lose you were the most painful weeks--physically, emotionally, and mentally. The day they wrapped me in a gown and put me to sleep while they removed what He knit together in my womb, I thought that was the hardest day.

Turns out the hardest day is today. Your due date. September 24th, with the perfect weather for bringing home a new baby.

I have experienced a side of myself this month that I never knew existed. I have been in rare form. I guess this is what they call grieving. I was sure I had already done that in February while crying out to God in the bathroom asking why in the world He chose this pain for me. I thought the grieving was over.

Sweet September Baby, I was anything but right to believe I was done with my grief over the lack of your precious existence. After talking to other moms that have miscarried, turns out your mother isn't crazy. She doesn't need professional help. She is just a normal mom grieving the child she never held. It's incredible how much you can miss a person you never met face to face.

I don't even have your first and only set of ultrasound pictures. They were never offered to me. I was only physically present the day the news was confirmed. My body moved, but my heart had stopped and my mind was fuzzy. Asking for your precious pictures was not something that came to mind that day. I'm so terribly sorry.

I just remember Jesus was there.

And really, what else matters at that point when you feel closer to Him this side of Heaven than you ever have?

You, my Sweet September Baby, are experiencing Him on the other side. I bet it is glorious.

We signed a lease on this basement apartment with you in mind. It has three bedrooms. The changing table has been in there since the day we moved our furniture in. That and all of my maternity clothes. But two days after we did all that moving we began to lose you. To be honest, adding a baby to this quaint home of ours would have been a challenge. A challenge that many families in third world countries would consider a luxury. It's a first world challenge, nonetheless, that I would have welcomed with joy.

I don't ask why. I don't look at other pregnant women with envy or a hardened heart. I just trust that you were never meant for this world. Your purpose was to leave before you got here, so that I would be brought to my knees in complete dependence on our Father.

always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 
2 Corinthians 4:10-11

Just like in Mercy Me's song "The Hurt and the Healer"...I'm alive, even though a part of me has died. Glory be to my faithful God that by the blood of His righteous Son my sins are wiped clean and I have the promise and hope of eternal life. I will meet you one day and we will dance together on the streets of gold.

Speaking of streets of gold...I love these lyrics (video of song at the end of this post for your listening enjoyment):
Mama can you hear me
Daddy can you feel me
I'm made whole
I'm at home
I'm dancing on streets of gold...
Can you see her at His throne 
With her hair of gold?
She is holding-holding on
To the threads of His robe
"Amy's Song" by Jonathon David Helser

To imagine you holding on to the threads of His robe...oh, how I love that image.  It reminds me of the story in Luke 8. A lady who is very ill and considered unclean wants so badly to be healed. She knows Jesus is in town and she crawls on the dirty ground, attempting to dodge others to keep from making them unclean, because she knows if she could just touch the fringe of His garment she would be healed (Mark 5:28). She is immediately healed. But the story doesn't end there. Jesus is on his way to heal the daughter of Jairus when he feels someone touch his robe and he stops in the crowd to find that person. Actually, he didn't feel anyone touch his robe. He felt power leave his body. That power, after it left him, was imparted to the ill woman and she was healed completely.

Jesus feels it, too, when we are healed. When He called your little life home, He felt your healing. As He is healing me, He feels it. What a comfort! What a God we serve!

Yesterday when your daddy and I picked up your sister from her class at church, she was coloring a picture of Abraham and Sarah holding their new baby Isaac. I asked her to tell me what she learned about them and this is what she said,

"Abraham and Sarah wanted a baby rrreeeeallllyyy bad and they waited a rrreeeeaaalllyyy long time. God gave them a baby."

It is NO coincidence that she learned that story this particular weekend. It is the grace of the God of all our comfort that He would send us a great reminder through Lily that God's promises remain true and steadfast regardless of our perspective of the situation. I am so grateful for the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit. It is like no other.

Today we will be celebrating not just your little life, but more importantly, the hope we have for eternal life through Christ Jesus. Lily picked out red velvet cupcakes at the store. We baked them, ate a picnic lunch outside, then decorated them.

Daddy ate with us outside on his lunch break!

Sweet September Baby, we love you. We always have and we always will. And despite all the pain that's been so new to us and has made for random moments of weeping and had me acting like anything but myself, we are grateful beyond words for your all too short life. You, my dear, are an avenue to a more intimate fellowship in my life with Jesus.  And anything that draws me to the feet of Jesus--whether I go there willingly or I fall at His feet out of utter weariness--is a blessing. Today and always we celebrate your sacred life because we love you, but more importantly, we are reminded by your death that our hope isn't in this world. Praise God that this life is temporary and He is preparing for us a home with Him (and you) in Paradise.

Love you, my baby.


dotMOM Part 1: The weariness that produces sweet fellowship

For multiple reasons, the past nine months have been the most difficult months of my life.

I've known weariness and loneliness more than I ever have before. And, this month in particular, it has been more evident than all the other months. More to come on that on Monday...stay tuned. 

My oh so encouraging friend Ashley recognized my weariness and offered to take me to the dotMOM conference this weekend. I am forever thankful! It was such a refreshing weekend, surrounded by other moms simply there to rest in Christ and hear His whispers of encouragement. Ashley and I were introduced by the Lifeway staff to another mom and she quickly became a new friend. God placed her in my life at the perfect time, as she has gone through many of the same things I am struggling with now. I got to spend a lot of time talking to her. It's amazing how intricately God knows our needs. I look forward to growing our long-distance friendship :). 

God spoke to me in so many valuable ways this weekend and I'm already looking forward to next year's conference. I plan to blog some more this week about what He taught me, but more importantly, I want to share with you a question He quietly asked me the first day.

As we were being led in worship by Melissa Greene, I heard Him say--

"Isn't this sweeter?" 

And I knew just what He meant. 

In light of all that has been going on since we moved back to our hometown, He wanted to know if His peaceful presence, our deeper-than-ever-before communion, my utter dependence on Him, and all the times I have cried out in desperation were all sweeter than all the hardship Brent and I have faced. 

And the only response I can ever give my Dad when the Spirit is moving--

"Yes, Father." 

The struggles that have made us weary have also made our fellowship with our dear Savior so much more sweeter. That, my friends, is why in the midst of hardship and trial you can still utter the words, "Praise God." 

He alone is worthy. 

May the sweet fellowship of Jesus be more overwhelming than: 
the grief of miscarrying our baby
the stress of financial difficulty
the valid concern (not worry) over the well-being of my child (which I can gratefully say is over)
the reality of sin within the Church and how deep the hurt can be
the loneliness of feeling no sense of community

Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. 
Matthew 11:28

His invitation to come is not to the strong, but to the weary and burdened. There, in His presence, you will find--I have found--true rest for your soul. 

The song below by Matt Redman is a perfect reminder for us that when we walk through hardship, we can always look back and see that never once did we walk alone. He is forever faithful to his children! 


Trucks by the Tracks

Sunday afternoon we headed out to Railroad Park for Trucks by the Tracks. There are some very tasty food trucks that have taken our city by storm and this event showcased all the trucks. This event was free (well, except for the food) and included live music. In other words...it was a perfect day for Lily because she got to dance. 

The event was from 11-5. We knew it would be crowded and lines at the trucks would be long. We got there at 10:45 and beat the crowd! We'll keep that in mind for next year. 

Love it. 

Check out how dirty her feet are. Disgusting! 

Eating some local food! Lily and I ate tacos/quesadillas from the Taco Truck. Brent got a Willis Burger from Shindigs. Then we shared a strawberry popsicle from Steel City Pops and chocolate cupcakes from Dreamcakes

We had a ton of fun! Love supporting local businesses who serve great food! 


Our 11 step bedtime routine

A post for my own memory...but hopefully you'll enjoy too!

Every time we lay Lily down for bed we have this rrreeeaaallllyyyy long routine. 
It's long because we allow it to be, I guess. But I'd much rather put a happy Lily to bed than a mad Lily. 

Here's a typical bedtime routine:

  1. Read the Bible (first she has to read, then Brent reads)
  2. Brush teeth (first we brush, then she brushes)
  3. Pull-up and t-shirt on (bye bye cute Carter's pjs, hello oversized tshirts)
  4. Play ONE, just ONE, round of hide and seek
  5. Brent and I lay down with her 
  6. All three of us take turns praying in to her plastic microphone (and don't you dare call it a "mic")
  7. We always have to thank God for our "prinans". A word that she has totally made up and the meaning changes daily--tonight it was "something that makes you healthy when you exercise"
  8. We all sing "Jesus Loves Me" in unison. Lily gets the microphone, Brent and I have to cover our mouths with our hand and pretend to have the mic. Oops...I mean microphone. Don't tell Lily. 
  9. I kiss her goodnight and leave the room. But I don't just leave by simply walking out of the room. She instructs me how to leave. I'll get back to that in a minute.
  10. Brent stays a few minutes longer to rub her back then he comes down the hall pretending to be anything but himself. 
  11. On most nights, she reads herself to sleep.

Back to her instructing us how to leave. She's got a little bit of a creative kick in her bones and her imagination is out of this world. When we leave her room, she comes up with a variety of ways for us to exit. 

Thus, this post. I want to make a note of some of the normal and not-so-normal ways she asks us to leave her room. Here's my list so far:

"I want you to leave like a _________ "

cracked egg
bug/spider (to which she says "kill" every so often and we freeze) 

I'm sure there's more. It's HILARIOUS to me to hear Brent when he leaves her room every night. It's impossible to make a prediction as to what she will pick.

The best part...we can't just do these things until we get just outside her room. We have to do them ALL THE WAY TO THE KITCHEN. Let me translate that for you. We have to get louder and louder as we go down the hall and into the kitchen so that she can still hear us over the fan in her room. And, yes, we've had to start over many nights because she couldn't hear us. 

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in our home at bedtime. We're getting pretty creative. I think we need an award. 


Superman vs. Superman

Thought I would give y'all a good laugh at my expense.

During Lily's naptime, I've been doing some quick workouts I found on Pinterest. I don't know if they are doing me any good, but at least I'm burning calories when I'd rather be snoozing too. It involves doing things like push ups, crunches, lunges, etc.

There were a few exercises I had to google because I had never heard of them.
Like a Russian Twist. Or a Bird Dog.

But the Superman? I know what that is! I've been to my share of wedding receptions. I've taken a bunch of 5th graders to the skating rink.

So for 30 seconds during the workout, I've been doing a little bit of this...

Source: Ave of the Stars

and a little bit of that. 

Sourse: The Knot

But today I got to thinkin' and just wondered that maybe that wasn't the actual exercise I was supposed to be doing. It was just kind of weird to me to be doing 100 jumping jacks, 50 crunches, 30 bird dogs, 20 side lunges, mixed with 30 seconds of jumping back and forth in my living room pretending to be at a wedding reception.

So I googled "superman exercise."

Turns out this is the superman I'm supposed to be doing.

Source: Spark People

Glad I got that cleared up. 


Karaoke and Room Temperature Deviled Eggs

Sometimes the only motivation to do a particularly undesirable activity is to know that when I get on the other side of it, I get to blog about it.

My little War Eagle girl! 

A family reunion is one of those particularly undesirable activities. I love my family. I truly do. There's just something about the words "family" and "reunion" that don't make me giddy with anticipation.

"You said we're going where, Mom?" 

So, let me tell you why I was skeptical about going (and downright refusing to go until the last minute). These are in order of importance.

1. It's smack dab in the middle of something vital to my sanity. Lily's naptime.
2. Brent had to work.
3. It's the first game day of the season. Last year we went to a reunion on Brent's side on the same Saturday. Shouldn't there be a law here that makes it illegal to have reunions on a football Saturday?
4. The last time I went to a reunion with this side of the family a little boy was riding a 3-wheeler and had an accident. He chopped his leg off and had to be rushed via ambulance to the hospital. Ok, ok, that's not what happened. According to my mom, what actually happened isn't so traumatic. He cut his leg and had to get stitches. But in my childhood memory, I remember a MUCH more critical situation. Either way, I didn't want me or Lily to lose any limbs.

My grandmother first mentioned this reunion to me at the beginning of the summer. I immediately and very sarcastically laughed with a "y'all have fun!" attitude. And through a series of emails later, I didn't really have a choice. My grandmother wanted me there. And out of my love and respect for her, I knew I needed to go.

But really, she discreetly roped me in when she asked me to bring the deviled eggs. What's a family reunion without room temperature deviled eggs sitting in an old Tupperware dish?

I was going to show up, eat a few bites, let everyone meet and play with Lily, then I would leave.

That was the plan and I was NOT going to have ANY fun!

But that was before these ladies walked outside...The Saggy Bottom Girls as they like to call themselves. Totally took me by surprise and I certainly didn't expect the possum on the shoulder. We were all sitting outside on the patio and the next thing we knew Rena, Dana, and Lisa come outside ready to rock the place silly with their karaoke skills.

Yes, fellow readers, karaoke. At our family reunion. It was right up my alley!

You KNOW Lily had to get in on the action! She sang "Jesus Loves Me", "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "ABCs", and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". She really wanted to sing "Pontoon" (her new favorite by Little Big Town). 

She even got to keep the possum

Lily with The Saggy Bottom Girls

She wanted "naked feet" like Lisa

But y'all, that was just the beginning of the fun. Just like the deviled eggs roped me in to coming to this thing, I got roped in to singing karaoke. Playlist included Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire", The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic", Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason", and Josh Turner's "Long Black Train".

Oh, I'm sure it sounded terrible. But isn't it supposed to? It's karaoke! At a family reunion

My personal favorite


Before I share the real gem of this post, I'll share a few more pics from our day. 

Reading with her great great Aunt Rena

Picking muscadines with her great Aunt Sandra

She found a lily...and it was orange! 

She had SO much fun! 

Now, on to the good stuff of this post. In case you haven't already guessed, this is NOT Grammy Award-winning material! 

My mom and I singing "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic"

My cousin Cleveland and I singing "Long Black Train". He wouldn't agree to this unless he got paid and someone else sang with him. I agreed to sing, but only if he split the profit. We both got $20 from Momma Jean :). 

Hope you half way chuckled at least once!


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