Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living Hope

A very sad, sad, tragedy took place in Kansas City last night. A morning news weather man reportedly committed suicide. It is fascinating to me to read people's comments.. Everyone shocked that such a happy, sweet, kind, funny man was capable of doing such a thing. Many concluding that he must have had no hope, nothing to live for. Even though ironically everyone thought he had it all. This post is not about suicide or the ramifications thereof, this post is about HOPE. LIVING.HOPE.

I have been studying 1 Peter which uses the word hope repeatedly. 1 Peter 1:3 says,
"... who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ..."

I love that phrase, living hope.  Oh, this world has tried to conjure up every substitute it can find for living hope. We put our hope into all kinds of  things that on some level fail us, never satisfy our deepest longings, keep us discontented, searching for more, or in bondage to fear. Our culture has trained us oh so well about where we should place our hope, things like: good will, good luck, good works, good days, our 401ks, our careers, our health, our children, our family, our friends, our marriages, our education, our successes, our social status, our belongings, our homes, our cars, our businesses, our comforts, our talents, our tithe, our well managed time, our control, our positive thinking, and on and on. If these places were such good sources of hope and actually effective, than why are so many hopeless? Why are so many totally dissatisfied with their lives? Why are we a culture full of trillions of dollars of debt because we can't satisfy our appetite for more? Why are so many marriages and families splitting to a million pieces? Why such anger and depression when supposedly we have "hope"...

I think it's because we've invested in dead hope. Hope that is not living. None of those things mentioned above have the ability to satisfy an eternal longing in our souls. Maybe for a short time it can boost our spirits, but it will never begin to encompass the secret places in our soul that longs to be filled.

The Living Hope of Jesus Christ has the ability to satisfy. More than satisfy.  It is a hope that stirs up life in souls that are dead. It brings Light, into such paralyzing darkness.  Joy, while disease steals your mother away.  Laughter, while the pain of separation lingers in your heart. It offers healing to broken relationships that seemed forever lost.  Forgiveness, REAL forgiveness that breaks the bonds of bitterness. A peace that whispers in your ear in the cold of night, "Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD!" It is a living hope that no one thing, person, circumstance, crisis, or tradegy can take away from you. It is forever yours. You are never without it. You never need to ask for more, because all of it, in it's entirety is at your fingertips begging to be unleashed into your heart of hearts. Begging to be your forever source of life. Begging to conquer your fears and illuminate the delicious love that surrounds you. Begging to be your forever LIVING HOPE!

I weep knowing that this Living Hope gave up the glories of heaven and came to earth as a baby to rescue my soul and offer me something that this world can never offer.... Living Hope!

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the season is changing...

i've felt it coming for some time now. the end of an era. changes are occurring in our home, noticed and unnoticed.

proof that times are changing:

*for the first time in 8 years and 3 months, exactly, the littlejohns are diaper free. totally and completely diaper free! it feels like a miracle. anderson has been potty trained during the day for some time now, and i have just recently started to allow him to wear big boy pants to bed. he took to it like a champ.

*we also just took a road trip with no nursing stops. we did have some emergency pee stops, but hey i'll take it :)

*last night we decorated the tree with ZERO melt downs. (mark didn't even curse when he was hanging up the lights :) it was TOTALLY enjoyable to watch the kids hang their ornaments with tons of glee and glitter!

*everyone sat around the dinner table last night and chatted long after the meal was done. during the early years i only requested that the kids stay during the meal. once they were done eating i felt like it was one more "preference" of mine to enforce. when 530 pm comes i no longer have the energy to enforce preferences. it was MUCH smoother to let them finish their meal, clear their plate, and go play while mark and i ate in silence. but now they WANT to stay (except AJ, he still wants to run around!) and listening to their chatter makes my heart warm .especially, because katie is gone all day i love hearing EVERY (and i mean EVERY) detail about school.

* rules, family practices, and routines are having to be enforced less and less everyday. not to say our children have fully grasped every concept we are trying to teach them, and not that i don't repeat myself a gazillion times throughout the day, but i find myself less tired at the end of each day. and i will take any ounce of extra energy i can muster up. and i am TOTALLY enjoying using that extra energy to pick back up things that i love doing, that for a short season i had to sacrifice for the well being of our small children and growing family.

no, we are not hardly done parenting! no, there are still exhausting days ahead. there are still a million teachable moments waiting to be captured...

but it is so amazing to be on this side of pregnancy, infancy, babies, and toddler-hood. i love standing here on the verge of a new season, and looking back at the precious season left behind with little regret. for those who have gone before us, thank you for your example. for those of you who are at the beginning or smack dab in the throws of it, hang on.. even if it's just til 5pm. it's worth it! the thankless days, the mind numbing exhaustion, the pj's til 2pm, and reruns of sesame street. take it in by the hand fulls! give yourself grace to have an imperfect house, and unrecognizable body shape :). love your children well. love your children with no regrets. cause poof, it's gone before you know it!!

enjoy the christmas tree pics!

Monday, November 28, 2011


happy holiday hangover day!!

i'm ignoring the 12 loads of laundry, the bills, the email correspondence, the doctors appointments that need to be made, and the voices calling from EVERY room in my house that are saying, "CLEAN ME!" to introduce you to Mississippi. I realized we have not been to MS since i started this blog. so you, my dear readers, have not been properly introduced to each other.

mark grew up at French Camp, MS.  a very unique place! not a lot of time to explain all the details so explore their site. mark and i met in MS at our beloved Camp Of the Rising Son.
again, not loads of time to deliciously introduce with words... so explore their site also.

so the below pictures are a combination of French Camp, Camp of the Rising Son, Jackson, and friends and family.

we had such a sweet visit with family and friends. a total blast 4-wheeling, hiking, canoeing, riding horses, and soaking in the fresh air!! we needed a vacation like this on so many levels, and are thankful for our time there.

there are plenty more pictures to come!

Friday, November 18, 2011

pictures, pictures, come get your picture fix!

not a lot of time for words.

last weekend we visited with our amazing friends the yates. (mr. and mrs. duvall were so sweet to let ALL of us come crash in their beautiful home, and treat us to delicious food and company!).  being with the yates is like coming home and putting your soul at rest. no pressure, no small talk, it's like they've always been there in the middle of our lives. it's really a piece heaven for my heart.

here are some pictures from our time together!

enjoy! and happy thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My, "I am thankful", post..

i am knocking out my thanksgiving post today b/c it was one of ten things on my to-do list that looked the most interesting :)

according to webster, thankful means, "aware of benefit received"

hhhmmm, that got me to thinking, how often do i walk around in this life that God has given UNAWARE of the gifts and blessing bestowed on me every day. how often am i blinded, due to selfishness and  lack of attentiveness? how often am i overindulged and satisfied with the things of this world that there is no room left for my lips to utter praises to my Savior?

it also made me think how dependent am i on my circumstances to "benefit me" in order for my heart to drum up thankfulness?  how much more peaceful to remain in a state of thankfulness regardless of my daily circumstances. if i remain focused on the things NOT of this world, but rather focused on the things that my Jesus has done on my behalf, i will have an over abundant resource of thankfulness. not that i am even close to possessing this state of being, but hey i desire to move my spirit in that direction. sometimes running,  sometimes walking,  sometimes crawling, inching my way closer, and sometimes being carried.

i could go on and list all the people i am thankful for, but if you know me or if you've been reading the blog for any amount of time, you know exactly who and what i am thankful for!

i love thanksgiving. and with each passing year i begin to rank it higher and higher than christmas.  i love how simple thanksgiving is. a day spent with family, friends, and a meal which designates intimacy, relationship, communing openly with others around a table. *sigh*... i could go on and on!

i hope we all can take some time and reflect on the people and things we are aware of, or unaware of and BE THANKFUL! people and things that benefit us, or have nothing to offer and BE THANKFUL! i pray that parts of us are awakened to desire a state of being full of thanksgiving regardless of the above! and BE THANKFUL!

happy thanksgiving dear family and friends!

Monday, November 14, 2011

i hate the library.

let me restate that, i hate taking my children to the library.

we are flying single parent around here this week and i have been planning some fun "outings" to make the time pass faster.  today was the library. i need some books to read on our vacation next week (WHOOP-WHOOP) and the kids always enjoy getting a new book to look at.

i always forget how much i dislike taking my children to the library until we enter, and automatically we receive glares from the stone faced library attendant notifying us we are being WAY TOO LOUD. it just down spirals from there. Anderson believes books are to be pulled off from the shelf one at a time like a domino effect theory. lucy and julia pick books WAY above their age level and cry and whine when i tell them to put them back and find a new book. then i stress when the book isn't put back under the "CO" label that is placed on the book. so i try and put it back while Anderson, whom is standing behind is pulling them off the shelf. by blood pressure begins to rise. "mom, what about this book?" whines lucy. "mama, is dis book mine?" Anderson says as ten books hit the floor. "mmmoooommm, i can't find a book, all these books are baby books and they are stupid!" pouts julia. seriously, down spiral.

by about 5 minutes in and i am done. "grab your books we are going to the adult side for mama to pick up her book and then we are leaving, you guys are totally out of control!"

have you ever tried to carry a toddler who is carrying three over sized books in his arms? IMPOSSIBLE! INFURIATING!

while we tromp to the adult section each child drops their books and the whining and crying gets louder as the attendant glares sterner.

 i say the alphabet out loud like an idiot as i search for a the book i am hunting. "seriously, i know J comes after K where are the books that this author wrote?!" more book dropping, more book dispensing, and julia gently says, "mom, K comes AFTER J!"  "ugh. i hate the alphabet!" finally, i find the author but not the right book. so i try and think of another author. all while shshshing the children and picking up books and throwing them on random shelves.

"i am not leaving until i find a book for ME!"

i search in vain. stomp to the self checkout, while children fight to see who can scan theirs the fastest. the attendant alarm sounds and the stern faced librarian comes to "help" (ahem) rather "scorn" me.

 ten minutes after entering the library i grab my receipt, hit the handicap button on the door and run out of the library as fast as i can!!

* sigh* i hate the library. rather, i hate taking my children to the library.

maybe ten years from now we can return and i won't lose my mind ;)!

happy monday,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Some of our favorite Veterans...

i get all teary eyed pasting the pictures of these men and their families. these men represent our country in a way that makes my heart swell with pride!  these men full of courage, strength, and valor. these men are not only soldiers of america, they are soldiers of the cross.

we have watched many of them walk through deployment.

                                                                   Jesse Maynor (Navy)

we have cried with and for their families left behind.

                                                                   Matt Morgan (Army)

we have awakened in the middle of the night pleading that the Lord protect them.

                                                                           Grant Flynn (Army)

we have celebrated as they reunite with their families.

                                                                     Paul Gundy (Navy)

today we honor them.

                                                                  Brad Palmer (National Guard)

Allen Barlow (National Guard)
Our grandfathers Arlis Littlejohn, Chester Waitz, Jake Fry, and Dale Hall

today, and everyday we live in this country, we have SO much to grateful for,