Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's a...

BOY!!!

I have alot of catch-up blogging to do- more thoughts on our anniversary, our "working vacation", etc., but I wanted to get this up for anyone that might read this and not already know our news. Facebook and Twitter are staples at our house these days, so the blog takes a back-burner sometimes, but nonetheless, here we go...

Garrett and I picked Saralynn up from Jonesboro on our way home from North Carolina on Monday night. We had our ultrasound Tuesday at 1:00, so I took the day off, and Garrett was scheduled to go to work after the ultrasound, so we had a nice morning at home with Saralynn. We took her to the playground (indoor, of course), and then were off to Dr. Bowie's office. We picked Mimi up on the way and the four of us anxiously awaited "knowing".

Mrs. Cheryl, the ultrasound tech, called me back and we got started. Saralynn didn't understand my having to lay down on the table and kept telling me to "wake up". Too funny! We'd already discussed that we were going to Mommy's doctor's office and a nice lady was going to use a special pen to take some pictures of our baby that she would show us on the TV, so Saralynn walked in and immediately glued into the TV. Mrs. Cheryl started out the ultrasound with the typical measurements, etc. The baby's legs were closed very tightly, and it was down low in my pelvic region, so she was not optimistic about being able to determine the gender. She kept going with the measurements, and at one point said if she had to render a guess she'd guess that Baby Pelt was a girl. That would've meant welcoming Caroline Grace in November. She kept looking and measuring, and, almost surprised, exclaimed at one point, "Oh, I saw it! It's a boy! It's definitely a boy!" My mom had seen a little boy part cross the screen, too, she thought, but didn't say anything- hoping Mrs. Cheryl saw it, too.

I must admit that I was so very excited. I've felt like this was a boy all along, but for no "real" reason. No dreams to speak of, etc. But, I felt like it was a boy. I am over the moon that my little family will now include one of each- my precious Saralynn and Carter, whom I can't wait to meet in November.

A little about his name: My maiden name is Carter, and since I go by my first name and part of my middle name, I had to legally drop my maiden name when Garrett and I got married. Once I realized this as a teenager, I said I wanted to name a little boy Carter, and my sweet husband obliged. We knew a son would be named Carter when we were pregnant with Saralynn. At that point, we thought we'd give him Garrett's middle name, which is Hanson, his mother's maiden name, but Garrett wasn't sure this time around if he liked that, so we kept tossing around ideas. He has always loved the name Jackson, so we threw that around a little, and decided on it as a middle name. It took a little convincing on my part, mostly because Jackson is typically used as a first name, but I have since come to love it! Garrett's paternal grandparents lived in Jackson, GA, and Garrett has beautifully fond memories of his childhood in Jackson, so it's an homage to his grandparents. I can't think of a more beautiful way to honor them.

Garrett was a little stunned at first to find out he was having a boy, I think. There's a "pattern" on his dad's side of the family for quite a ways back that produces babies of the same gender in pairs (two boys born to one family, then two girls- not one of each that is known), so he "broke tradition" by producing both a boy and a girl. The Pelt name's continuation hinged on Garrett and his brother, so this takes the heat off of Daniel- the name will continue on with our Carter.

Saralynn is beside herself and tells everyone she sees that she's "having a boy baby for her Mommy". I think she's going to be a fabulous big sister. We took her to the pool to swim last night, and since she's infatuated with my ever-growing belly these days, she rubbed it as usual. I asked her where her brother was, and her response was "in the TV". Oops. We may've bobbled the follow-through with the ultrasound, but we'll get it back. She's very sweet to talk to the baby and sing him songs, and I can't wait for her to feel him kick. I started feeling him regularly on vacation this weekend- maybe because I was still and riding most of the time, so I could focus on each little movement, but he seems very active at this point. He's measuring big, so we'll have to wait and see, but at this point, we're overjoyed that we have a healthy baby boy coming to meet us in November. Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes. Please join us in continuing to pray God's blessings over Carter and Saralynn as they grow. TO HIM BE THE GLORY!

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Only God Could Love You More...

Five years ago tonight, we "rehearsed" for our wedding, for what that was worth. One of the things I rehearsed, unbeknownst to Garrett, was the song I would sing to him the next day as part of our wedding ceremony.

When I was a little girl, 5 1/2 to be exact, my Daddy took me to a concert at our church. My little brother had just been born, but I wanted to go hear the Nelons, so we had a Daddy/daughter date. Kelly Nelon, whom I still admire as an artist, sang a song to her husband called "Only God Could Love You More". I told my Dad that March night in 1986 that I would sing that song to my husband one day. Surely he didn't think much about it, but I did, and fast-forwarding 18 years, that's exactly what I did. I was able to pull the surprise over on Garrett, his family, and most of our wedding party. Our youth minister and my grandfather performed our ceremony, and Bobby had a small table with a microphone on it beside him, and when it came time for me to sing, he handed me the mic. Garrett says his first thought was that I had written some poem or something and he freaked out because he didn't have anything prepared. I'm not sure I could've read anything, but singing comes naturally, so it seemed like the thing to do. Never have I been more confident in my singing than I was that day. I sang to no one but my husband (we had said our vows by this point), and the Father who gave him to me, and it was one of the most surreal yet special moments of my life. The lyrics are below, and yes, 5 years later, they still ring true.

Happy Wedding Rehearsal Day, Garrett! I love you- and only God could love you more than I do,
Mary Beth

I asked the Lord for someone, and I always knew
That in God's time and in God's plan, it would be someone like you.
All my hopes and all my dreams were suddenly fulfilled
It's almost unbelievable our love was in His will

Only God could love you more
For He gave me this love I have to give
What a blessing to know He's your Lord
For only God could love you more than I do.

I'm tempted to be saying that we met by chance
But God was there at every turn, in every circumstance
To share this love God gave to me seems such a fearful task
But every moment we have shared is more than I could ask

Only God could love you more
For He gave me this love I have for you
What a blessing to know He's your Lord
For only God could love you more than I do.

Only God could love you more than I do!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gettin' Some Good Practice

We have two precious families in our church that both had beautiful baby girls last Friday. Chad and Katie Cottle welcomed Molly Kathryn (Molly Kate) last Friday morning and James and Cindy Skipworth welcomed Ruby Jeane Friday afternoon. Garrett, Saralynn, and I visited the hospital on Saturday to visit with the new bundles of joy and their glowing parents.

Chad and Katie have both chronicled Molly Kate's birth on their respective blogs: http://chadcottle.com/ and http://katiecottle.wordpress.com/. She is absolutely precious. We made it to their room first on Saturday, and I thought Saralynn would warm right up to Molly Kate. She knows more of Chad, Katie, and Charlie than she does the Skipworths because the Skipworths moved away for a bit before returning "home". I was wrong. She wanted nothing to do with anyone in their room, which was so surprising to me. We had talked about the babies all day, and when we asked her where we were going as we were driving, she said, "Going to see Molly Cake and Ruby." Big Brother Charlie called Molly Kate the same thing for a while. I think it's precious. We visited with the Cottles for a good bit before Miss Priss got hungry. That was our cue to move down the hall. We ooed and ahhed over her one more time, said our goodbyes, and were on our way.

We got to Cindy's room and Saralynn hesistated at the door again. I think it might be because they had visitors she didn't know. Once the room cleared, she opened up some more, and at one point said she wanted to hold Ruby. I was a little uneasy, but Cindy was totally fine with it. The pictures below chronicle Saralynn's love story with Ruby. It was absolutely the sweetest thing I think I've ever seen. I can't wait to see her with her own brother or sister. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed watching them together.



We took dinner to the families last night, and the same thing occurred. She visited with Charlie pretty well but still didn't want much to do with Molly Kate. But, on the way to the Skipworths', she said "I gonna hold Baby Ruby and play with her toes." Oh, be still my heart. The one picture we got of them is below.

I am so glad to have the Bowies (Cindy's family) and the Skipworths in my life. I could fill the entire blog with stories about them, but they are some of the most special people in my life. Sondra (Cindy's mom) took a chance on a shy kid with coke-bottle glasses that showed up in her choir when we first joined FBC and made a singer out of me. Dr. Pat (Cindy's dad) is one of the most gracious people I've ever known. He always has a smile on his face and a hug to offer. Cindy is my musical hero and I want to be like her when I grow up. In all honesty, one of the biggest compliments I've ever gotten in my life involved Cindy. She asked me to sing "Is This Not the Carpenter?" with her at Christmas, and I was thrilled! I was working at the day care at the church at the time, and the assistant director told me the next day she caught the service on TV and saw both of us singing. She stepped into the other room and heard who she thought was Cindy singing, but it was me, which meant we blended well together. I think we always have. I've been Cindy's "understudy" more than once, and I LOVE the chance to sing with or for her. She, like me, has a heart for music and for leading worship. James is equally as precious and I could tell numerous stories about him, too, but the one that stands out involves my grandmother that went to be with Jesus in 2002. James went to the nursing home to visit her, and filled me in later on his visit with her. Ice battled the most horrible dimentia I've ever seen anyone go through, and she was not herself for the last year or so of her life, but James visited with her and had a sparkle in his eye when he talked about her as if he knew her before the disease took over. She would've loved James had she had the chance to know him, but it was an absolute blessing to me to hear James speak of my grandmother with a love that he would show his own grandmother.

It was such a breath of fresh air to visit with them last night. We talked church, life, our hearts' passions, and it was so nice. I'm forever changed by this awesome family. Oh, and Cindy's brother Brett is our OB/GYN. Just another thread of the tapestry that is our lives woven together. Ruby is sure to carry on the legacy. I hope Saralynn becomes good friends with Cate, Lily, Ally, and Ruby. What a precious family. The picture below tells the story that my heart longs to share...
Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Randomness

This post will be full of a random, mish-mash of things. Oh, well- we're allowed sometimes, right?
Brushing Daddy's hair
Look- Daddy's pretty bow!


We have a cute little book that has a place for Saralynn's face as we read. You'll have to forgive the quality. She usually doesn't want her picture taken much, but asked for it this time, and all I had handy was the camera phone.

"Thank you for taking my picture, Mommy."

Sundays are hard nap days at the Pelt house. With church and lunch, we're lucky to be laying down by 2:00, which is when Saralynn usually wakes up from a nap. This past Sunday was especially difficult because she napped from 2:00-4:00 and then didn't go to sleep until 10:45! You can imagine what Monday morning was like... Eeek. I guess we're going to have to give up Sunday afternoon naps, which I hate to do. SUnday afternoon is NAPTIME at our house- has been since before we had her. But, in the interest of a good night's sleep to start the week, I guess that's what we'll have to do. Sigh. This was all 3 of us in her TWIN bed at 10:30- doing all we could to get her to go to sleep. What a night! Let's hope for not too many more of those.
On another note, those of you that are mommies- what's the trick to mastering tee-teeing in the potty? We've pretty successfully mastered the other, but sometimes we have to let her use a Pull-Up so as not to constipate herself. That one I'm not so concerned about. It's the tee-teeing that's got me baffled. HELP!
Intentionally Random Today,
Mary Beth

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

16 Weeks and a Few More Thoughts

I've officially hit the 16 week mark in this pregnancy. I go to Dr. B. tomorrow for another chance to hear the heartbeat and to have some bloodwork done. This is the bloodwork that will test for birth defects, etc. I had it done with Saralynn because it was my first baby and I did everything by the book. We have a baby boom at church- something like 10 people I know that are pregnant right now, at varying stages, some of whom have chosen to have the bloodwork done and some that have not. I see both sides of the issue, but am choosing to have it done because I did with Saralynn and I've made a conscious effort to not change much this go-around. What I did with her I'll do with this one. What I had in the way of baby "tools" with her I'll do with this one. And so on. Should the bloodwork come back with any signs of difficulty, it won't sway the love we have for our baby. We will love it as much as we already do. To me, it's just another appointment, just another stick with a needle. Yummy.

On a much lighter note, I'll also schedule the 18-week ultrasound that will tell us Baby's gender at tomorrow's appointment. I'll keep everyone updated on that...

Saralynn is going through Potty Training Boot Camp this week. In all actuality, she's doing very well. My mom asked last Friday what we could do to help be sure that we were on the same page with day care, etc. to help her benefit most. Miss Cara informed Mimi that Saralynn has been going to the potty at school for them for a while now. Who knew? Hmm... seems she's been holding out on us. She surprised me by going at Hog Heaven Friday night, and it worked throughout the rest of the weekend. We're not having as much luck with going tee-tee, but we're working on it. I guess she decided to tackle the more difficult scenario first. She has a potty poster that she gets stickers on, and she's constantly asking for a sticker, so I guess we're doing something right and she's catching on to it. Cross your fingers that it stays that way! She has the few diapers that we had left over at home, but other than that, we're in Pull-Ups and big girl stuff. Way to go, girl! :)

Garrett and I are really beginning to anticipate our anniversary trip next week. We're headed to Wilmington, NC to visit some friends and ministry mentors of Garrett's who have become friends of mine by default. A little back-story for those of you that might not know: Garrett and I met at youth camp in Florida in 2002. The camp was run by Chris and Cindy and others that did a phenomenal job, and I was blessed to be a part of it, and it was God-ordained that I meet my future husband there. We visited Wilmington when we were still dating in 2003 and haven't been back since. Garrett is hoping to mix a little work with pleasure and soak up as much as he can of the atmosphere and ministry mindset these guys are willing to share. I'm looking forward to watching him in action. The change I've seen in my husband in the past couple of weeks has truly been a gift to me. I'm excited about the work God is brewing in his life and can't wait to be a part of it.

I hope everyone is having an inspiring week!

Intentionally,
Mary Beth

Friday, June 5, 2009

He Got In!!!

If you've read my past couple of blog entries, you know that Garrett has been awaiting a phone call this week to let him know if he was accepted into a Creative Worship Coaching seminar with Carlos Whittaker. Los just recently resigned a position at Buckhead Church to begin a ministry of his own that coaches individuals involved in the worship experiences all over the globe. He came up with the creative coaching concept out of his own journey in ministry and worship planning, taking the information he was coached with and giving it back to others. I'm thankful for a man that realizes that God put many gifted people in his path as he sought to live out the Great Commission, and that he ralizes the need for that knowledge to be passed on. I'm thankful that he's taking time to work with those that are seeking to further the kingdom, too- regardless of denomination, music preference, worship style, etc. Los gets it- there is One Jesus, and we're all on the same team, leading others to him.

And, because of the call God has placed on Garrett's life, he has been accepted into the seminar! I couldn't be prouder of him and the ideas he's come up with lately. I myself have a notebook that is rapidly filling with song ideas, drama ideas, service notes, etc., and Garrett and I are continually bouncing ideas off of each other. It'll be so much fun to hear all about what Los brings to the table. The seminar will take place over the course of four months. The participants are matched up in groups of 25. Each week, there will be a one-hour conference call with all the participants, and then another one-hour call between the individual and Los. There will be homework assignments, etc. to complete, too. So, it will be a time-consuming process, but will be so worth it in the end. And, it has a financial obligation to it as well, but we're stepping out on faith that God will provide. Garrett's mindset was from the get-go, "if it's God's will I participate, He'll work everything out", and He did. Garrett's session starts in January. I think I just might be more excited than he is. :)

Thank you to those of you that emailed, wrote, and sent Facebook messages of encouragement. It is so appreciated! Now, if we can ask for prayers for creative juices to flow from Heaven, we'd be grateful for your prayers. God is faithful!

Woo-hoo! Go, Garrett! Thanks, Los! We're looking forward to the adventure ahead. In Los' words: "Disturb and disrupt your lives and you will never stop growing..." See what we're in for? :)

Intentionally Excited about what lies ahead,
Mary Beth

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Slip Slidin' Away

Since my last post, we've had some really nice family time. We've had to be intentional about it (i.e. had to back out of previous commitments), but it was so worth it. Saralynn has been an absolute joy to be around the past few days. Don't misunderstand me- I love my child with all my heart, but she, like those of us who are "all grown up" has her good days and her not so good days, and when she's not seen much of her Daddy as has been the case more often than not lately, it can make for a string of difficult days. I stayed home on Monday night instead of going to a Ladies' Night function that had been planned, and Garrett stayed home from a meeting on Tuesday, and we enjoyed some nice outside time, complete with chalk, bubbles, and her car and bicycle. She and Garrett even chased lightning bugs Tuesday! We took a family night last night and went to the playground. Our Saralynn would live her entire life outside if she could, and one of her favorite places in the whole world is a playground with a slide. So, we hopped in the car, made a detour at McDonald's for some chicken nuggets and then headed to Burger King so she could play on the playground. Yes, you read that correctly. She prefers McDonald's chicken nuggets to Burger King's, but Burger King has the better, outside playground. She doesn't wear the pants as much as you think she would given our path to a family night, but I just don't see the point in buying food she isn't going to eat, so we get what she will eat.


She played on the playground for over an hour and a half and was one sweaty, thirsty little girl that was pooped and ready for a bath when she got home! Her Daddy even joined in on the sliding fun after seeing her smiling face and hearing her shrieks of joy. Mommy tried it one time but got a little too close to getting stuck for her liking, so she took her proper place behind the camera phone and documented their fun together. Once we got home, she played in the tub for almost 45 minutes. Daddy slipped out to play tennis after he got her bath going, and Mommy finished up. You'll see she has no bath toys. Poor thing. Pictures below.

It's amazing to me how refreshing something as simple as a Whopper and a slide can be, but it was absolutely just what the Good Doctor ordered for us. We had an absolute blast all week long! Daddy is at work tonight, but I think our tanks are all full from earlier in the week, so we'll make it through. :)
For those of you that took the time and thought of me enough to respond to my last post, either on the blog or by email, thank you. Your words are encouraging to me. I even had one sweet friend remind me that the families I see sitting together at church are often doing just that- sitting next to one another. They may not be tuned in to one another, which is something we can be, or not be, no matter our physical location. As long as we're doing what we're called to do, we're tuned in. What Garrett and I have in serving together, though it may not be physically side-by-side-together, is special in its own way, which I realize, but it's nice to be reminded. We have a common bond that spans beyond sitting together- we're doing what the King called us to do, and while we may not be sitting together, we're serving together. I still look forward to the day when we can sit together as a family, but until that day, we'll keep right on pluggin' along.
Oh, and we're still waiting on a phone call for the Creative Worship Coaching sessions. The leader was finishing up last-minute stuff concerning it and said to expect phone calls sometime tonight. From the sounds of it, he's planning to take most if not all applications at some point, it's just a matter of when. Of course, it would be nice for Garrett to make the "first cut" because he could be finished by the time the baby gets here, but again, we're trusting the One with the Master Plan. Thanks for joining alongside us in prayer.








Intentionally Grateful,
Mary Beth

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Promise of a New Day- and of the world's longest blog post

DISCLAIMER: Nothing about this post will be pretty, frilly, or remotely comfortable. Sometimes life puts us in uncomfortable places. Heck, sometimes we put ourselves in those uncomfortable places all on our own. I've been in one of those places lately, and I have to confess (some of) it here. You see, there's something unusual about confession: it makes you feel better. Hmm. That isn't a new concept. Then why does it seem to be sometimes?

The reason for the confession of the messiness? I had an encounter with the Holy One Who longs to take me out of this mess through a dream this morning. On a side note, I'm not one of those "every dream ever means something" sort of people, but make no mistake: this one meant something. And, through His love for me, I know what it meant.

I've struggled for quite some time with my family's lack of quality family time. And by that, I mean Garrett, Saralynn, and me- able to spend real, solid time together- doing things that matter (and even some things that don't). A bit about that here:

I am more than grateful for Garrett's job- that it brings money into our house and that he has a place to go and share the light God has placed inside him, but sometimes I just can't help but wish more for him. God Himself breathed all kinds of creativity into Garrett- by way of video/audio/visual stuff, photography stuff, a heart for ministry (that God is still fine-tuning, but is there, nonetheless)... Some days, I just can't help but want more for him than to flip chicken. More than once over the past few months, we as a family have talked about what a blessed company Chick-fil-A is, and I believe that with all my heart. Jesus fills that place and the people that head it, and, yes, we all have to eat, so it takes someone to flip the chicken that comes in your #1 combo, but I find myself praying, ok even sometimes longing, for that someone to be anybody but my husband. I see the way his eyes sparkle when he gets behind a computer to build slides for our contemporary service. I am filled with awe and admiration of the One Who gave him to me when I see him worshipping, head thrown back, hands moving towards Heaven, as he sings the words he so painstakingly typed in the night before at our Sunday morning service. I KNOW he has the heart and the talent to do what he's doing, and to do it full-time. And I find myself asking "WHY can't he?" "WHY is he stuck in a job that keeps him away from his daughter all the time?" "WHY does his schedule only come out a week in advance, and consist of different daily schedules, and WHY does that change some days with only hours' notice?" "WHY can't he work an 8-5 Monday through Friday job instead of an open this day, close that day, gone all day Saturday schedule that makes no sense and makes it impossible for us to plan anything?" "WHY do I have to read about our friends' adventures to the zoo, the movies, out of town trips on a whim, while I'm at home wiping the red, tear-stained cheeks of a little girl whose heart is broken as she stands at the back door and shouts through the door facing 'Daddy, please come back to me. Please don't go cook again today.?" "WHY?"

The answer? I have no idea.

Sundays are equally emotionally building and emotionally tearing for me, too. Garrett, doing what he feels called to do, leaves the house most Sunday mornings at 6:00 to go to church and get everything set up. As is obvious, this leaves Saralynn and me (along with Mimi and Pop if they don't need to be there early) at home to get ready. We usually make it to church in time for
Saralynn to jump in Daddy's lap for a quick hug and kiss before it's off to Sunday School, which Garrett is usually late for and has to leave early from. Then, the service for which the leadership team has planned and prepared begins. We launched our new service in September, and since then, Garrett has been a part of every service except one, running words, manning a video camera, and anything else technical that needs doing. I am more than eternally grateful for his opportunity to serve, but I can't help but wish that one or two Sundays a month he could be a participant in worship- sitting in a chair, on a row, beside his wife, as we worship together. I would love to have his arm around me as we share our Bible, listening to the Word as it is spoken to us. Instead, I usually prop against the back wall while he runs PowerPoint during the message. Again, I'm grateful for his chance to serve- that's what he's wanted since he moved down here when we got engaged. I just wish that we could be a "normal" church-going family, at least once every now and then.

The emotions spilled over yesterday unmercifully. My mom was on her way to the back parking lot to pick Saralynn and Mommy up since Daddy was in his truck and we all wouldn't fit. Saralynn began to cry once she realized she couldn't go with her Daddy, and looked at me with tears streaming, again. "I just want to ride with Daddy, that's all, Mommy." I couldn't stand it anymore. My almost-three-year-old had just said what my heart has been screaming. I had an armload of stuff and a child that was fighting me tooth and nail, just wanting to get back to her Daddy. Poor Mr. Lee holding the door for me must've thought I was a t-total fruitcake. Tears were free-flowing at this point, and all I could do was cry to anyone that was willing to listen, "I'm so tired of this. I just want us to be a family that goes to church and leaves church, hand in hand, for once." Other people in leadership roles with the new service have their rotation weeks, and have been able to step down from some responsibilities in some cases. I myself had a role as the Cafe Coordinator, having to be there each week, too, which also was exhausting. I must admit that I'm enjoying my time "off", too, but long for some time off for my husband.

My attitude about the whole thing pretty much stunk up the house, but when you have an exhausted, frustrated pregnant woman doing all she can to be both parents on a day that's "designed" to be a family day, I was doing all I could do. Nothing says that the Christian life is pretty all the time, and mine was anything but yesterday. I shared some of my frustration with Garrett, but because our Sunday afternoons seem to consist of this sort of thing pretty often lately, I didn't share it all. Also, in the interest of transparency, I must confess that while Garrett is gifted and called to service, so am I, and I have been increasingly frustrated the past few months because I find myself unable to serve. I surrendered my life to the work of Jesus through worship-leading when I was in the 6th grade, and have had ample opportunity to participate in it since. That is until the new service started. I was hoping, since I felt a rising in my soul to be a part of it, to help lead in our new setting, but that hasn't come about yet. I was blessed with the opportunity to sing a special music in December, but that's been it so far, and I have to be COMPLETELY honest and say that it has me downtrodden. If I didn't have such a yearning and a feeling that leading/singing is what I'm supposed to do I don't think it would bother me so much. It's not so much a "what I WANT to do" as it is a "what I'm MEANT/CALLED to do", and it's frustrating to sit and wait. There. I said it. Maybe one day.

After naptime yesterday for all of us (ok, I was so messed up I couldn't sleep, so I laid there), we went outside to paint. Painting is therapeutic for me. Saralynn LOVES to paint with me, and I enjoy it, too. She asked Garrett to paint, and though he resisted at first, he finally gave in and painted a peach rectangle on a piece of paper. His comment? "I try really hard to be creative, but I just can't be." Little does he know what he spoke to me through that painting. First of all, he took the time to sit on the uncomfortable driveway and get eaten by mosquitoes, painting with his biggest, #1 fan. I promise you she'll remember those times later in life, and I know this Mommy won't forget it any time soon, either. I kept that painting, and it will hang somewhere. Its color was calm and inviting, much like our time outside together yesterday. It covered the blah, white paper with a new, vibrant color, that signified newness to me. It showed change. It was a rectangle- two long sides, two short sides. The long sides make up the long parts of the week, the short sides the weekends. And where the two connect? A corner. Pointy sometimes, yet in his case, a bit rounded-off. So, what? It began to show me that sometimes the pretty and ugly parts of life bang together to make rough, pointy edges, and other times they make more fluid, not-so-abrasive intersections. This was a real breakthrough for me. I just sat and stared at the painting for a minute. Most of mine have a theme- polka dots or stripes. Saralynn's are bursts of color that she excitedly drags her brush through, making new beautiful color combinations. His was quiet, smooth, calm. And that's what he is to me when I get all fruitcakey- he's my calm. That's not always the case- actually, it's usually the other way around- I'm the calm to his tornado, but I'm thankful for his calm in the midst of my storms. I just wish they didn't come so frequently and un-forecasted these days...

Fast forward to sometime around 5 AM this morning: my dream/visit with Jesus. Garrett got up and got ready before leaving about 4:50 for work. He scared the life out of me when he told me he was leaving, but I saw 4:54 on the clock, so I know the dream was after that and before 6:00, when my own alarm went off. NOTE: As with any dream, there are some "holes" in it that just don't make sense, so work with me, ok? I dreamed that, somehow, I was faced with my own mortality in one day. In my dream, Garrett is a doctor. (How's that for something better than flipping chicken?) I dreamed that I was going to be an organ donor. Somehow, and this is one of the holes, I must've been in some sort of accident or something, but that particular day was the day I was going to donate my organs. There was a deadline of when the donation would happen, though I didn't know when it was. Garrett did, though, because he was the doctor that would harvest my organs. Somehow, again, not sure about all the details, I was able to go about my life that day, saying goodbyes, living life, pretty much doing whatever I wanted to do, but all the while knowing I would not live to see tomorrow. I didn't have any kids in my dream, which is the only thing that makes it bearable, but I was married to Garrett, and spent the day mostly with him. I had somehow made peace with my parents and my brother, because we all went on with the day- not as if nothing was wrong, but as if all was ok. The turning point for me during the dream was at one point when Garrett and I were driving. We were completely silent (eerily like some points of our day yesterday had been). I looked at the clock, asked when we had to be in surgery, and he told me it didn't matter. I was getting apprehensive, and he said to me "the only thing that's important right now is you living out your life the way it was meant to be lived." Obscure, anyone? But, in that moment, I realized something- Jesus was talking to me. I was in the backseat of the car in my dream, and Garrett was driving. In the dream, Garrett was Jesus. He showed me that He was in control- and my place was in the back. He also showed me that it's not my place to try and change my husband or his circumstances. So what if he flips chicken? If that's what makes him happy, then so be it. Yes, there's more to life. Yes, he's better than that- in my eyes and in the eyes of His creator, but for now, for this season, he's meant to flip chicken. Where were we headed on our drive? Don't know. What was I supposed to be doing? Not sure. Following, I guess. I was in the back, Garrett was in the front- taking care of me. I didn't know when "my time would come", but he did. And, the same is true now that I'm awake- I still don't know the path, why we're going where we're going, or when "my time will come", but I'm resting in the fact today that it's all the way it's supposed to be for now. I guess I'm supposed to be restless. Maybe it's the manifestation of something truly awesome in my life. I'm possibly supposed to be restless for my husband- in prayer for him and with him, but in a holy way, restless. Because I still want something more. And, you know what? I think that's ok. My attitude needs some tweaking, but I think wanting more is natural and necessary.

For those of you that are still with me, you deserve a fruit basket or a "You DID It" ribbon or something, but since I don't have those things, I just say "thank you" from a grateful heart. I can't say I'm fully changed, or that the ugliness is gone or will go away any time soon, or that I'm inspirationally ok with not helping lead or with the fact that I won't get to sit and experience church with my husband any time soon, but I'm intentionally praying for an open heart that is receptive to what Jesus is doing in me. Thank you for reading the ugliness that was my day yesterday and for praying me through when I have other ugly days. Ministry, regarless of its form, can be yucky. I've actively served in various ways before, but for some reason, this ministry season is the hardest to date. Maybe that just means there is something truly amazing coming.

And, that brings me to my thought for today: "Today is a new day".

I'll leave you with a scripture that has been EVERYWHERE since yesterday:

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
2 Corinthians 5:21

Trying to tell me something? :)

Intentionally Grateful for the chance to "spill it",
Mary Beth

P.S. Speaking of Garrett and his desire to be the best he can be when it comes to all things technical, he's applied to attend a conference/seminar with a mentor in leadership that he found via the internet a month or so ago. This conference would be held over the course of four months via conference calls, teaching Garrett the ins and outs of creative worship planning, and he is so very excited about the prospect of being chosen to participate. There was an application process to go through, and the results of that process are supposed to be released this week, so please join us in praying that if it is God's will, Garrett is chosen to participate with Carlos. This would do so many different things for Garrett, for me, and for our church, on so many different levels. Maybe I can learn something, too, about sitting back and shutting up... Hmmm... Also, please pray for us as we retreat in a few weeks for our 5-year wedding anniversary. It's a much-needed (as if you couldn't tell from all the trash above) break from the every-day, and we're excited for waht could be our last trip as a couple before Baby #2 arrives. We're going to Wilmington, NC, to visit Garrett's A-#1 mentor in all things techy, as we visit their new church campus and experience Jesus with them. The last time we were there, we were still dating, and the church was meeting in an elementary school cafeteria. Now, we're married, and the church has its own huge, beautiful campus. I can't wait! (And on the subject of can't wait, we will find out sometime later this month whether Baby #2 is a girl or a boy- stay tuned!)