Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hi/Lo Thursday

Thursday has rolled around again, so here goes...

My high for the week is that we started Fusion yesterday. Fusion is a 23 week study of the book of Matthew. I am so excited and hope this study will help me to be more consistent with daily quiet time. Jeanette is teaching the study and there are plenty of gals that I know also attending. There are lots of new faces too, and I am excited to get to know more great ladies.

My low for the week... I don't know. It's been a fairly good week. I guess I still don't feel like I am quite in the swing of things with Cass back in school and Gracie with us during the day. I think I sometimes feel overwhelmed, and I tend to do nothing instead of working on the long list of things that need to be done around the house. Definitely something to work on over the next several weeks.

Again, Thank you for your Church, these sweet and tender and open people that you have placed in our lives. They reflect Your light so radiantly! Thank you also for this study and please renew my desire for studying your word daily. Father, also, please help me to get "back into the swing of things". You know, Lord, how I tend to allow myself to be distracted. Help me to be a better, more patient wife and mommy and to take joy in the tasks that I face each day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What DTR Has Meant to Me (Thus far)

Two Sundays ago, Pastor Johnny started a new sermon series called DTR (Define the Relationship). At the start of the series, I was so excited to learn that we would be delving into Ruth. It is one of my favorites. I love the story of Ruth...of her devotion to Naomi... of the love story between her and Boaz... and of God's amazing provision. Last Sunday, we really started getting into the story and Johnny talked about the three DTR Principles listed below:
#1 Your relationship with God affects ALL of your other relationships.
#2 You must try to see things from the other person's perspective.
#3 You must speak with love, even when you hurt.

All of these principles are profound and true, but the third one really struck a cord with me. Johnny used the example of Naomi telling her old friends to call her Mara because she was bitter and left with nothing. She forgot so quickly that she had a devoted daughter-in-law in Ruth and that Ruth was truly a stranger in a strange land. How her words of sorrow and despair must have hurt Ruth, who had also lost much. It reminded me of the priest in Romeo and Juliet asking Romeo over and over "There, art thou happy?" when Romeo was weeping to him over what he would lose due to being banished. I wonder how often God feels like asking us the same thing?
Always before, when reading the book of Ruth, I have identified with Ruth's devotion and courage and hoped that I could be a woman like that. This time I reflected on times in my life when I have felt how Ruth must have when Naomi wailed and moaned to her friends. I also pondered how many times my words, spoken in haste, have made someone else feel as Ruth must have felt.

Thank you for this sermon series. I am so excited to get to dive into Ruth. Please, continue to reveal new principles and meanings to me in this story that I love so well. Guard my tongue, Lord, that I might speak carefully and with love. You know that I often speak the first words that come to mind without regard for how they may affect others. Help me to be slower to speak and quick to apologize when I do speak without love. And, Lord, let me always remember that even in the lowest of times I am blessed because I have a hope that can never be extinguished.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hi/Lo Thursday

Well, it's a Thursday and I am on Blogspot, so here goes.

My high is that I am off to Bunco with my mother-in-law in a few minutes. Bunco is a fun group game and there's always great food at Bunco parties, so those make it a high point. Mostly, though, it reminds me to be thankful for sweet in-laws who live nearby. I am so blessed with Bill and Pat. They love me as their own daughter and smother the kids with affection. I could not ask for better and am thankful that they are a part of my family.

My low is that Monday was the sixth anniversary of Bryan's death. It makes for a tough week and I tend to get a bit melancholy each time this year. I wish that I could be in VA to see his family and place a token on his grave. I miss you, Bry.

I thank you again for being a God who is with us in our highs and lows. It is a comfort that You are a constant. Thank you for providing high points during the low times in our lives to help us through. Thank you for the people who share Your love and ease sadness.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Testimony

I have posted this in Cafemom and Myspace, but thought it would also make a good blog. I have learned that I love the story that God is writing, even the tough spots. He sometimes lets us face dark days so that we might better see His light. And, He never leaves us. Even in our darkest moments, He is there.

Psalm 28:7 (KJV)
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

So, this could be a bit long, but here goes. As a kid, my family didn't go to church. My parents were both raised in church, but we just didn't go. I always knew there was a God and when I was in the fourth grade, my neighbors started taking me to Sunday School with them. In fifth grade, one of the girls from Sunday School was in my class at school. We became best friends and I started going to children's choir and GA's (Girls in Action) with her. Her parents were wonderful people. Both of my parents worked, so on Wednesdays (when we had choir) I would ride the bus home with her. Her mom would feed us dinner and get us to church. I accepted Christ as my personal savior in Children's Church at age 12. My friend's mom, Mrs. Whetzel, was there. Shortly after I began regularly attending, my parents also joined the church. We started going together as a family.

Throughout middle school and high school, I was very involved in church activities. Youth Group, Sunday School, Youth Choir, Youth Drama, Church League Softball, Youth Ministry Council, etc. Most of my free time was spent at church and many of my closest friends were from church. I stayed out trouble during those years by staying busy with church activities, and I loved it.

My college years were a bit tumultuous. All of a sudden, there weren't all of these church activities to fill my time. My closest church friends went away to college, while I stayed home and I lost the positive influence that they had on me. I backslid big time. I let myself go down roads that I knew were wrong and didn't think (or care) about the example that I was setting to those around me. I met my husband during this time. He was not a Christian at the time and I entered into the relationship while I wasn't behaving as one. After about 6 months of dating, we moved in together and 6 months later we moved from VA to TX.

For some reason, even though I wasn't living to glorify Him, God chose to bless me with my husband. Despite my incongruous lifestyle, Trey accepted Christ and we married after 3 years of dating. (He is a terrific husband and father). Shortly after we married, we joined a local church and started attending a newly formed Sunday School class for young marrieds. We got pregnant about 2 months after we married but didn't share the news with our new class right away because there were several couples who were struggling to get pregnant. At about 10 weeks along, I miscarried. We were devastated and finally shared with the group. These wonderful people prayed for us and loved us through that hard time. Within 18 months, we saw 4 babies born to the class. I can't give the story justice here, but God truly showed that He answers prayer in ways that we don't even expect.

Since then, I have continued to grow in my walk. I hope to never travel down the dark road that was my late teens and early twenties again. My life isn't perfect and I have faced some dark days, but God has been constantly there. He has protected me (most often from myself) and forgiven me. He has loved me and placed people in my life that have nurtured me and my faith. I owe everything that I have and all that I hold dear to Him and His gift of grace. I can't wait for the day that we will meet face to face.

My favorite verse since I was a child is John 3:16.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (KJV)

As I have aged and grown, I have started to really love the Amplified version of the same verse.

"For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sweet-Bitter May

Another May has come and almost gone. May has become a tough month for me over the past six years. I am certainly traveling an emotional roller coaster this time each year and I have started calling the month Sweet-Bitter May.

I can't call May bittersweet, because six years ago May started out very sweet. Not bitter at all. Six years ago on May 9th, Sweet Baby Cass blessed Trey and I with her presence. We went from being a couple, to being a family. Cassandra was much anticipated and very much prayed for. After Trey and I married in October of 2001, we wanted to start having children right away. We did get pregnant almost immediately, but unfortunately I miscarried. We were heartbroken, but turned to a wonderful group of people at our new church. As a group, we prayed continually for babies and God answered abundantly. Cassie was our answered prayer. Our blessing. Our treasure. Our joy. God is always good, always has perfect timing, and always loves us. He showed us all of those things on that early, sweet May day.

Also in 2003, May ended quite bitterly. On May 25th, a close friend died suddenly. I grew up with Bryan and am not sure that I realized how much I cared for him until he was gone. As a kid, Bryan was mischievous and funny. He cared about others and stuck up for his friends. His sisters and I were close, and as a result, we loved one anther's brothers. Early on, Bryan was like another kid brother to me. As we got older, he became a friend. In the last several years of Bryan's life, he struggled with a lot of demons, but in the last year, he had started to turn things around. And then, suddenly, he was gone. May shattered. I packed my bags and my two week old, sweet, May joy and flew into my greatest sense of loss, regret, and bitterness.

Now each May, I am reminded of one May where I experienced for the first time one of God's most precious gifts and also one of life's most bitter losses. I watch my little girl grow and learn each year and am amazed at the joy I feel. Each May we celebrate her birth and remember the gift God gave us. I smile and reflect on this little girl who is getting bigger and smarter and yet has maintained so much of her sweetness. I also pause frequently each May and remember my friend. God has tempered my grief, but always I feel the loss. I struggle with the regret of not saying all of the important things to Bryan when I had the chance, but hope that I've learned from that bitter loss to be transparent to others, most importantly those whom I dearly love.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Special Gift

This past weekend was a lot of fun. Mom, Dad, and Andrew were in town for a visit. We threw a birthday party for the boys and celebrated my birthday and Dad's birthday, too. Mom and Dad did a really sweet thing for my birthday present. They got me a nice, fluffy robe, which is cool (or rather warm). But, the sweet part is that Mom put together two picture albums for me. They contain pictures from my growing up years and also of Mom, Dad, Andrew, and Timi, and other family. I LOVE to look at pictures. They just never get old to me. I look through the kids albums all of the time and have made a habit of looking at our wedding album each time I dust the chest on which it is displayed. Their gift just proves how much my mom knows me. She gave me a gift that I couldn't put a price on and helped me to remember sweet childhood times on a day that we often reflect on days past. Thank you, Mommy for your thoughtful gift and for the simple, but profound joy I will feel every time I flip through the pages of those albums.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hi/Lo Thursday

Well, it has been a long time since I did a Hi/Lo Thursday post. Actually, it's been a while since I have blogged. Busy being wife, mom, and part time employee. Well, here goes:

High for the week:
We are getting closer to my mom, dad, and brother's visit. They are coming down on March 6th and I am getting really excited. They'll be here for my birthday and the boys birthday party. I am so thankful for a sweet and loving family. I can't wait to see them in person and give them some HUGS!

Low for the week:
Ethan is battling some kind of bug. He's feverish and pukey and has a stuffy/runny nose. Poor little guy. He just breaks mine and Trey's hearts when he's sick. It's also doubly stinky, 'cause the weather has been AMAZING for the past several days, and he's stuck on the couch. I am hoping he'll start perking up later this morning so maybe we can brave the park after lunch.

Thank you Lord for a few moments to reflect on the week. Help us to remember to praise you for the highs and worship you even in the lows. You are the God of both our highs and lows and in all things we can rely on, worship, and honor You.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What's in a name?

I really find names and their meanings interesting. Trey and I thought long and hard about our kids' names. We wanted them to have names that weren't overly common (yeah, I know, Ethan is probably in the top 10 right now, but I still love it.). We also didn't want their names to be so unusual, that they would sound weird or be too difficult to pronounce or spell.
I wanted to pass on my middle name, Nicole, to our daughter and also liked that my brother and I both have Greek names. When Trey told me that he wanted to name his daughter Cassandra, I was excited. It is Greek and sounded nice with Nicole. So, we now have Cassandra Nicole.
The boys names were tougher. There aren't a lot of Greek boy names that aren't too common, but also not "weird". Trey resorted to a baby name book and came across Elijah. He liked it and thought Ethan would go well with it since we wanted their first names to begin with the same letter. I loved both names and was excited to learn that they are both Hebrew. We gave them Greek middle names and ended up with Elijah Alexander and Ethan Christopher.
After we had named all of the kids, I got more interested in name meanings and was pleased with the meaning of the kids names.
Cassandra Nicole means "prophetess" of "victory of the people"
Elijah Alexander means "The Lord is my God" "defender of mankind"
Ethan Christopher means "steadfast" "Christ-bearer"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

25 Random Things

This started on Facebook and Jill brought it to Bloggspot. My 25 things in my blog might be different than my 25 on facebook. It is a new day, so here goes.

1. I love Jesus. He's just awesome. I love the church I am a member of right now and think that God is just doing great things through his faithful people here in Mansfield.

2. I have really started to enjoy cooking. Food Network is a favorite channel of mine and I am a Paula Dean and Rachel Ray junkie. Pampered Chef is also becoming a bit of an obsession.

3. My family is so cool. Trey is my BFF :) and it is a pleasure to be a mom to Cassandra, Ethan, and Elijah.

4. Trey and I are really hoping to adopt someday and I am thinking that we better get the process started soon. We are leaning towards international adoption and maybe, more specifically China.

5. Reading is a passion of mine. My favorite fiction book of all time is "To Kill a Mockingbird". I've taken to reading the Bible more recently and am amazed over and over again how applicable it is to my everyday life.

6. I secretly love teeny bopper movies like HSM, Mean Girls, etc. I even made Trey take my to see Twilight in the theaters. (See, he really is my BFF.)

7. I work part time at Fashion Bug and love it because it is more quiet there than at my house.

8. I love Target and dread shopping at Walmart. Target is cleaner, has nicer employees, and is just plain better. Having a Starbucks in-store is also a plus.

9. There is no such thing as too much coffee!!!

10. Trey and I took our Honeymoon at Disney World and I can't wait to go back with the kids.

11. I realized recently that Trey and I have only taken vacation without visiting family for our Honeymoon and we need to take more trips as just the two of us. (Good thing we live so close to grandma and grandpa.)

12. I think I am becoming a Texan. (SHHH! Don't tell anyone.) I am starting to kinda love it down here.

13. That being said, I'll always be a Virginian, too. After all VA is for Lovers. The weather is great up there. And no, trees are not overrated. They are beautiful and who cares if you have to rake leaves every weekend for 2 months straight.

14. I recently joined the choir at church and am really enjoying it. It's nice to sing somewhere other than the car and the shower.

15. Being a mom of twins is so cool. I secretly love when people ask about them and talk about how amazing it is that they look so different. What girl doesn't like a little attention, even if it is just for baking the most beautiful babies in the world.

16. I am addicted to TV. I like too many shows to pick a favorite. Some of my DVR'd shows are LOST, 24, House, Secret Life, and Bones.

17. I have discovered that 5 year olds talk about more random things than even me. I may go off on random tangents, but 5 year olds just pull stuff out of the air.

18. I have become more politically outspoken as I have gotten older and begun a family. I just want my kids to be able to take care of themselves and live free someday!

19. I have a celebrity crush on Shia LaBouf. He's like 12 and kinda goofy, but I think he's a doll.

20. Trey and I like to watch the first few episodes of American Idol to laugh at the rejects. After that, we switch back to our regularly scheduled programming.

21. I love hugs. If you see me and know me even a little bit, give me a hug. I'll hug you back. (If we don't know each other at all, please don't invade my personal space.)

22. It drives me crazy when Trey or Cass leave the lights on. Do we really need lights on in rooms that no one is occupying?

23. Almost 3 year old boys have tons of energy and are amazingly loud. Where does their energy come from and how do I tap into it?

24. Trey and I like to window shop and even enjoy taking the kids with us. I can pull two shopping carts, with a 5 year old, two 3 year olds, and a 5 month old in tow, through Target all by myself. It makes me feel like SuperMom. :)

25. I am learning that laundry is a never ending task. I don't know how my mom got all of her laundry and ironing done on the weekends. She is amazing and apparently didn't pass those genes on to me. My laundry is sometimes a daily task. Poor Trey wears wrinkled shirts more often than not.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No Stroller!

I met my mother-in-law at the local mall this morning to pick up some freebies from Macy's and Dillard's. Gracie stayed home this morning because she is feeling under the weather, so it was just the boys and I. Of course I forgot the stroller in the rush to get on the road and I was a bit apprehensive about keeping the boys close. I shouldn't have worried. They were (for the most part) little gentlemen. They held grandma's and mommy's hands while we walked the mall and were even pretty good while we waited in the long line at Dillards. (we decided not to press our luck, and skipped Macy's) As a reward for their good behavior, we went and rode the carousel. They were big boys and each rode their own horse. Grandma and Mommy got to ride, too. They loved going round and round, up and down, and enjoyed the lights and music. When the ride was over, they hopped down without complaint and thanked the attendant as we exited. We watched the ice skaters for a few minutes and then said goodbye to the mall. I was so pleased with my sweet, little men. Who needs a stroller, anyway!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hi/Lo Thursday

This post is part of "Hi/Lo Thursday" on Riggs Family Blog (

This is supposed to be a post on a high and a low for the week, but our high and low both occurred today, so it really is Hi/Lo Thursday.

Our high:

Grandma bought the kids a fish and brought it over this afternoon. Cass named it Nemo (of course) and the kids each got to feed it one pellet of fish food tonight. It was also nice that Grandma is feeling better and was able to bring Nemo home and visit with the kids a little. We miss her when we don't get to see her for several days.

My low:

Today is Bryan's birthday and I miss him. It makes me a bit sad to be here in Texas and unable to place a flower on his grave. It makes me even sadder that that is all I can do for him anymore.

January 15th

Today is Bryan's birthday. He would have been 28 and I find it sad that I remember his birthday now that he is gone. I don't know if I remembered every year that I knew him when he was alive. Now, when I hear the date, it stands out and I am reminded of loss. The loss of his smile, or his sense of humor. The loss of my friend. It has been 5 1/2 years since Bryan died, and still I think of him often. I miss him often. I wish for one more day, one more hour often. I wish I had known the last time that I saw him that it would be the last time. What would I have said? Would we have talked about the important things, or would we have joked around and just enjoyed each other's company? Time is a funny thing. It eases pain, but it can never erase it completely. Today, like many days, I miss you, Bryan. I've missed you since May 25, 2003 and I know that I'll continue to miss you for the rest of my days. For now, Happy Birthday, friend. I love you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Holidays 2008

Cass and Ethan on NYE. Elijah rockin' in the New Year.

Ethan parties!

Christmas Eve 2008.

Trey, Great Grandma Donaldson, and the boys.
The Donaldson family chose to spend a quiet holiday season at home this year. As I type "quiet", I am chuckling on the inside. Quiet is relative with 2 almost 3 year old boys. Trey's grandmother was in town over Christmas, so we all got to spend a bit of time with her. It was neat to see the kids get some time with their great-grandmother. We attended Christmas Eve service at our church, First Baptist Mansfield, and the kids did pretty well. We drove around and looked at Christmas lights. The boys loved this activity and got really excited when the lights were on "their side" of the car. Christmas morning is a blur of wrapping paper and ribbon. The kids had a great time and Mom and Dad enjoyed watching them play.
We stayed in for New Year's Eve also. Grandma and Grandpa came over and the kids stayed up late (til about 10). We ate snacks and watched TV. The kids loved blowing on the party horns and putting party hats on Grandma, Grandpa, and Daddy. Altogether, it was a really sweet holiday and we hope to have many more in the future!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Confession Time

I have to confess that Christmastime is my favorite time of year. Starting at Halloween and running through New Years, I am always excited about the season. However, this year I am also excited to get back in my normal routine. I have had a wonderful holiday season and we've made some sweet memories and started some new traditions, but I have also missed some of the normal things that we do. I am ready to get back to Life Group every Sunday. We have so many great friends there and I miss seeing them on a regular basis. I am ready to see Baby Gracie again, too. Sleeping in for the past two weeks has been nice, but I bet she's grown even in that short time and I can't wait to see her first thing Monday morning. I am also excited for Choir and Bunco to start back up again. It is fun to get out and have a few adult conversations (not that Cassie can't talk...and talk...and talk.) and of course enjoy yummy treats at Bunco.
While I love all of these activities that I am already involved in, I am also looking forward to making a few changes in 2009. I have been working at Fashion Bug for the past few months and hope to continue doing so even though the holidays have passed. I am really enjoying it and love that it's part time. It's fun to go to work for a few hours and then come home and not worry about how things are going at the store. I also signed up for a 2 year membership at 24 Hour Fitness. The gym is just down the street, so I am hoping to really give it a go and get in better shape. (Maybe Cass and her gymnastics lessons will be an inspiration.) I am also determined to get Elijah and Ethan POTTY TRAINED. I am so not looking forward to this endeavor, but it has to be done. It will be so wonderful not to be changing diapers all of the time. (It's been 5 1/2 years and counting of diaper changing at the Donaldson's!!)
So, 2009 has arrived and I am looking forward to the coming year. I can't wait to see what this new year has in store for the Donaldson family and I vow to try to enjoy each day as it comes. I hope to see some old friends and family in the coming months, deepen the new friendships that have been forged in the past year, and maybe make some new friends along the way.