A New Do

We all know school started on Wednesday, and for us that means new shoes, new backpacks and new lunchboxes along with other school stuff. But that also means a new haircut. It has been a long time since the girls have had their hair cut. Savannah’s had grown out really long in the back and not so long on the sides, so when Natalie came to our house to cut it she and I decided how to cut Savannah’s hair. Notice I said WE decided. Never has my child ever cared about her appearance much, but you see I forgot I now have a preteen in the house….so the tragedy continues.

At some point, Molly comes in and announces “Nina, your hair is Sho-ort”. Savannah feels her hair (cause there is no mirror) and begins crying-“Mama, I told you I didn’t want my hair short, this is not what I wanted”. Uh-oh. She runs to the bathroom and is just devestated. She’s crying, she’s pulling on her hair as if the make it grow. Natalie and I are  trying to keep from crying. Savannah says she IS NOT going to school.

She cries herself to sleep that night and I am just so sick to my stomach. I can’t believe that I have traumatized her. She is going to be scarred for life. Probably going to need some counseling when she’s 30.

So I prayed. Even as I type this, it sounds kinda silly, but I gave it to  God and said “God, I don’t know what to do. I feel horrible, I”m gonna let you take care of this.”

Haircut was Sunday night. Monday she wore her hair in a ponytail all day. Tuesday was open house at the school.  Thank God! SEVERAL of her friends had their hair cut short!!!! And her friend in gymnastics who has really long hair got her hair cut as short as SAvannah’s!!!

Now, Savannah loves her new haircut. And maybe she won’t need counseling after all, or at least not for this.

Thank you God for answering ALL prayers, not just the BIG ones but the ones that I think are kinda silly to pray to you.  It is a great reminder that you hear all our prayers and you truly care about every aspect of our lives.

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A Weekend to Remember

Thursday evening I got a phone call that would forever change me. My cousins husband had died. He just turned 40. He has 2 children age 10 and 6. Maybe it was a heart attack, mayby a blood clot, no one is really sure yet.

I spent all day Friday and  Saturday with my cousin and  have been absolutely heart broken. I have grieved like I have never before grieved.  I have cried like I have never cried before. Trying to comfort a woman who just lost her husband of 15 years is not something I’m good at. 

Why? Why? Why would God take such a godly man with 2 small children, and leave behind a woman who loved him so much. Why not take the old man in the nursing home who has no quality of life? Why not take the man who beats his wife, cheats on her and gets away with it? Questions that my humanness wants answered. But questions that I know cannot and will not be answered for us until we see the Father face to face one day.  A day where there will be no more tears no more pain and no more suffering.  A day where we will say “of course” that is why this had to happen. 

What I meant when I said that phone call forever changed me is this: All weekend, I have put myself in Lori’s (my cousin) place.  What if this was me? I kept thinking of the times when I have spoken  so harshly to Chris, when I’ve gotten  so mad at him that I didn’t speak to him for hours and then go to bed mad.  Waking up the next morning to walk past him without as much of a glance his way.  Thinking of how precious life is and how I take it for granted WAY too much every single day. How I take my husband for granted WAY too much evey single day. Ok, so what if he hasn’t changed the light bulb in the garage that has been out for months.  So what if he won’t trim the bushes in the back yard that are towering over the top of the fence. So what if he forgets to put the garbage by the curb again for the 2nd week in a row. My husband is still on this earth. He will still sleep next to me tonight. He will still take my daughters to school tomorrow morning.  He will still leave his wet towels in the bathoom floor for me to pick up. He will still call me 10 times tomorrow to tell me he loves me . It’s almost unbearable  for me to think about.

I want to treat the people around me as if it were the last time I will see them. I don’t want anyone to ever doubt that I love them. I don’t want anyone to ever doubt my faith and my salvation. I want everyone to know I will be in Heaven with my Savior one day-and only He knows when that day is-but until then-I don’t want any regrets.  I want to live like I am dying (oh boy-isn’t that  one of those gross country songs my beloved hubby sings). I want my life to be pleasing to God-and I want to live only for Him.

I am sorry for my cousins horrible loss and I know that the details surrounding his death are going to be very traumatic for her for years to come. I will pray for her to always run to God for the comfort she and her babies are going to need.

Encouraged

This school year I signed up to be an Encourager at Lakewood Elementary where Savannah and Molly go to school. The Encouragers program is a mentoring program through STEP ministries where you meet with 2 children, 30 minutes each, 1 day a week-helping them with homework or simply playing a game.   This is my first year as an Encourager and I want to share a story.

I “encourage” a 4th grade girl.  I’m going to call her Jane. (That’s not her real name) She is very pretty and she is very quiet. She lives in a 2 parent home with 2 other siblings. Her parents are into some serious drugs. Serious. Her father is illiterate and he only finished 6th grade.  Her mother doesn’t “work” outside the home because her husband is afraid she’ll cheat on her. Yep. Jane tells me stories of parties and guns at her home. And my heart breaks every time for her. Jane can barely read (i’m guessing maybe a 1st grade level) and is struggling at math. Mom was using drugs while she was pregnant with Jane and continues to smoke them around her children now. Jane’s brain isn’t that of a normal 4th grade girl….but her heart is.

The 1st 5 weeks of Encouragers, we have been working on multipication facts. Her 0’s, 1’s and 2’s.  Jane cannot do them. At all.   She made an F in math on her report card (which didn’t suprise me). Something made me ask her about her spelling. Which she replied she makes mostly F’s on all her spelling tests. So I suggested to Jane that we take a break on the multipication facts and switch to her spelling words. This was yesterday (Thursday).

Although the whole class has 20 spelling words on their test on Friday, Jane only has 10. They are: few, dew, new, blue, knew, grew, truth, thumb, stuck…and I can’t remember the other one.  I asked her to spell grew, to write it on her paper. She looked at me, then her paper, and wrote “gru“. I asked her to spell “truth“. She wrote “thut“. Here it is the Thursday before her spelling test on Friday and couldn’t  spell one single word on that list. Not one word!!! She has no one to help her, no mama to review her spelling words with her. Her sweet, sweet teacher does a fantastic job at doing everything she can to help her and set her up for success but Jane just can’t do it.  Or so we thought….

Jane and I spent our 30 minutes yesterday writing the words.  I’d say a word and tell her how to spell it and she’d write it on her paper. Still misspelling it-even after hearing me spell the word out loud to her. But at the end of our time together she had spelled all 10 words correctly twice without me helping her at all.

With permission from her teacher, I went to see Jane this morning and we went over her spelling words right before the test. She had remembered how to spell 8 of them.  I reminded her of the differences between “new and knew”, again.  And then I left her to take her test.

When I got in my car I prayed for Jane. That somehow she would at least get a C or even a B. That just this once, she could be successful in something and be proud.

Later this morning, I later got a phone call from Jane’s teacher. Jane wanted to talk to me. 

“Mrs. Shelton, I made a 100 on my spelling test.”

I thought my heart would burst into a million pieces.  (And yes I cried, right in the middle of Kroger) I was so proud of her. And I can’t wait to see her this afternoon.

Often times it is a pain to have to stop in the middle of my day to go to the school for 1 hour to help 2 girls I barely know. Many times I don’t want to. I know I have encouraged Jane . But what she doesn’t know, and may never know is that she has encouraged me. Encouraged me to not overlook the ones who have nothing or noone. Encouraged me to help the father/motherless. (even though she has a father and a mother…she is still father and motherless.) Encouraged me to help the helpless. Encouraged me to even be thankful of what I have at my own home. (Heck-we don’t even review our spelling words and both my girls make 100’s every time.)I take that for granted and I shouldn’t.

Thank you Jane, for encouraging ME!

Random Things

Recently I was tagged on facebook to come up with some things that most people don’t know about me.  Here it goes….

1. I wish I had a son.
2. Although I do like to go out and have fun with friends, my very favorite thing to do is be home in some comfy clothes watching TV. Alone.
3.  I think insurance should pay for everyone to go to counseling at least 10 times a year, no questions asked.
4. I am 100% totally in love with Chris Bucket Shelton. I don’t like him most days, but I do love him-a lot
5. I became a Christian during a revival at a Baptist church where Elvis Presley’s half brother was preaching. It was on April fools day.
6. I would pay $500 for a ticket to go see Janet Jackson again in concert.
7. I am very protective of my church. If there is something you don’t like about it please don’t tell me. It hurts my feelings. I love love love it.
8. If my husband wanted to, we would sell everything we had and move to Nashville, TN just to see if he could make it big as a musician.
9. Harold Nash changed my life in ways I didn’t know needed to be changed.
10. I have a tattoo
11. My 2 daughters were born on the very same day, 3 years apart. (i got pregnant on my birthday both times.)
12. I love to fill out forms and type
13. Everywhere I go, I plan what I’d do if there was a fire. (see #3)
14. I can say all the 50 states in alphabetical order.
15. I recently got up in front of about 2000 people to win Dance Dance Revolution for my church. (10 mats to be exact-I was a dancin’ fool)
16. I have never been snow skiing. And frankly I’m not really interested in going.
17. This year I will turn 40 years old.
18. When I go to WalMart, Target or HallMark….sometimes I can’t make it to the bathroom in time.
19. Other than childbirth, I have never been in the hospital. Not once. Not even to the ER.
20. I love to drink Wild Turkey and Diet Coke.

With a Thankful Heart

In general, Thanksgiving is not one of my top fav holidays. The only reason I look forward to it is because of the day after Thanksgiving. That’s right. Black Friday. 4a.m. Mad house. Long Lines. Fighting women. I love it.

But that’s not what this post is about.

The other night, my sweet hubby and I were discussing the things we are thankful for. You see, I try to create this dinner time thing with my kids where we have to go around the table and say something nice about the person to your right, or name 2 things you are thankful for, or something really meaningful and I always get mad because no one will participate the way I think they should. So what happens is me and Chris end up “playing” by ourselves. While my daughters roll their eyes at the things we come up with.

I want to share the things I am thankful for this season. I love love love lists so I am going to present this in a “list form” in no particular order.

  • I am thankful both of my parents are still living and in great health. And they live minutes away from me.
  • I am thankful that I can worship freely in a church that freely worships.
  • I am thankful for my husbands ability to make this house and our finances run smootly. What I mean by this is even though I complain because I am on a b-b-b-b-budget I am so blessed to have a husband that is a good steward and knows how and when to spend our money. Cause if it was up to me, we’d be…b-b-b-broke?
  • I am thankful for my job at the church. It’s only a few hours a week and I love it. I am thankful that I can leave at the drop of the hat to go up to the school or have lunch with my mom. I can stay home with a sick kid without thinking twice about it. And our weekly staff meetings include yoga and crying. (Neither which I’m too fond of you must know)
  • I am thankful for my daughters…well that’s all I can think of to say about them right now because they have both been in BIG trouble all morning.  So maybe later I”ll think of something nice.
  • I am thankful for my salvation, my relationship with The All Sufficient Savior and His grace and mercy.

Give thanks with a grateful heart,  Give thanks to the holy one, Give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ His Son. 

It happened like this…

All I want to do is get out of this town. I have been so excited about my 20 year class reunion for many months. We were set to leave about noon on Friday.

Thursday, I had Encouragers (my 1st time) and I went to meet my new friend in her classroom at 1:30. We are supposed to go to the cafeteria to visit and work on anything she needs help with, but the cafeteria was full so we decided to enjoy the nice weather outside in the front of the school.  At about 1:40, I hear this awful scream. Awful. The kind of scream that brought me to my feet. To my new friend I said “I think that’s Molly screaming”. So I looked through the glass doors of the school and what I saw was this….A mom and some school staff scurrying looking for someone. That someone was me. Molly had fallen on the monkey bars during extra recess and was bleeding like you can’t imagine from her mouth. Her white uniform shirt was covered in blood.  So bad, that it made me kinda queezy. The tongue is a crazy thing cause when it bleeds- it bleeds for a long time. The school nurse could only tell that she bit her tongue pretty bad but knew there wasn’t much you could do for a bit tongue. It was bleeding so dang bad you just couldn’t tell what was up, so Nurse Terri…sweet sweet nurse Terri…told Molly to hold the towel in her mouth and try to get it to stop so we she could assess the situation. Molly’s screaming, I’m about to faint, and Terri says “Melany, you need to take Molly to the ER” “Oh, you mean to her pediatrician?” “No I mean the ER, take a look at this” A giant gash in her chin. Along with what we she now sees is a giant gash in her tongue (on both sides of her tongue)

I don’t really do good in tramatic situations with my own kids. I am a wonderful person to have around if another person is hurt or needs something in an emergency. I can think rationally and clearly, thinking of everything that needs to be taken care of. But not when it’s my own kids.

Back to the story…we get Savannah, call Chris, and head to the ER, Molly screaming and blood soaking the 2nd washcloth from her mouth.  By the time we get there it’s 2:00. The ER doc could easily tell the chin would need stitches-it was too wide and deep to glue together. But unsure about her tongue because you really don’t stitch up tongues. It heals easily and I”m thinking how in the heck would you put stitches in a tongue anyway.  We would need to see an ENT. So we waited and waited and waited and waited til 5:00 for the ENT to get there (Molly’s demoral had kicked in by now and she was entertaining to her parents in the ER) She definately needed stiches in her tongue but no way could you do that while she was awake. Not even to an adult and for sure not a 6 year old girl. So about 6:00, Dr. Cash took Molly-doped up on Demoral-making folks laugh-to the operating room and gave her 15 stiches in her chin and about that many on the left side of her tongue. We got home at 8:30 Thursday night. 

It was draining, but what I want you to know is what amazing things happened. What a reminder to me and Chris and the girls that God orchestrates every single thing. Here is what we saw:

  • I was at the school at the time of the accident. What I really wanted to be doing was shopping in West Little Rock for a hot new outfit for my reunion.  My God knew I wouldn’t have been able to drive to the school after getting a call that Molly was hurt.
  • I know my own childs cry, I know her voice.  What a reminder to me that my Father knows my voice and my cry and He can hear it above everything else.  Just like I did.
  • The school nurse only works on Thursday and Fridays.  She knew just what to do.
  • My mom works at Baptist Hospital and was able to meet me there at the ER to take Savannah with her. Nothing like having your mama wherever you need her, whenever you need her.
  • The ENT told us that since this was not considered Emergency Surgery then it may be a few hours before we could get in the operating room. He went to schedule our time and came back and said “It’s your lucky day, for some reason, and this never ever happens, there is an opening right now. Let’s go”   Even though Molly was cracking us up on her demoral…i didn’t want to wait another minute.
  • Molly slept all night and woke up Friday morning like nothing had ever happened. Even as I am typing this she has not one time complained of pain and hasn’t even taken her pain meds. 
  • I made it to my reunion…and you can read about that in the next post. I”m still recovering.

Chris + Melany= Love

Saturday, Chris and I celebrated our 11th anniversary. We enjoyed a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant Brunos. Well it’s not really our favorite restaurant so to speak-but we do go there for most special occasions. Like our anniversary. Ok we just go there on our anniversary really. It’s a time where we share a bottle of wine and a nice candlelit dinner. Just the 2 of us. We discover, again, that we enjoy being together without the kids. Talking about grown up things, flirting with each other, setting goals for the next year, sharing what we liked best about last year. We both agreed that our marriage has been fairly smooth. No threats of divorce (ok there was that one time, or two or 100 that I told him I wished I just lived by myself far away with no husband and no kids-but I wasn’t really serious…no I wasn’t, no I wasn’t, no I wasn’t). We then went to see Les Miserables at the Rep.

What I love most about Chris now is the same thing I loved about him in 1997. He is genuine. He is a protector. He is a hottie.

What I love about him now that I didn’t know about in 1997 is he is a passionate worshipper. He is the best father. He is absolutely perfect for me. Just what I need.

What I loved about him in 1997 that I CANNOT stand now is that loud dang country music. About 5 years ago I took all his wranglers and threw them in the trash. He was mad. He got over it. Sorry but you can’t be married to me and wear wranglers…especially black ones. (gag) I love ya honey but you aint gettin’ yer tight a** wranglers back.