The Queen of Sheba

Yesterday I sat down during the boys’ naps and opened my Bible to catch up a little on my chronological in one year plan. And I thought/prayed kind of, “Okay, God, show me what you want me to see today. Don’t let me miss it.” Like I usually do when I’m in a hurry. The heading above 1 Kings 10 caught my eye, even though that’s not what I was supposed to be reading yet. “The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon.” Who do you think you are, the Queen of Sheba?! That’s my whole frame of reference for her story. That’s it. So, I read the eleven verses about her because I’m a rebel. No reading plan can hold me. 

Then, I got up to clean my kitchen and I turned on a podcast because that is what I do for enrichment- listen to insight whilst doing dishes. And I do enough dishes that before you know it, I’m going to be really really smart. 
Anyway, the podcast I turned on was boring because they were interviewing a person I’d already heard interviewed on a different podcast. So a couple minutes in, I switched to a different one. Guess what it was about. 

THE QUEEN OF SHEBA. Seriously. Never heard anything about the woman and then I’m bombarded with her yesterday. I’m not even so sure I would’ve known that she was in the Bible. 

So, I figured I should think on what I learned. I haven’t had an ah-ha moment or anything so I’m just going to note the things I now know about her and see where it applies sometime. No doubt it will. 

(If you’re playing along at home, read 1 Kings 10 first and this will make more sense.)

The trip from Sheba (modern day Yemen) to Jerusalem was about 1500 miles. On a camel, that would take about two months because apparently the camels didn’t really walk faster than people. AND they had to rest about as long as they traveled. So, two months to get there, rest for two months and two months back makes a six-month voyage. That’s a serious trip. Apparently she was pretty impressed with what she heard about Solomon’s wisdom and his God to make such a trip. So, I think she must’ve been a very curious type of woman who was interested in learning and gaining wisdom. 

I also think she was pretty bold. Maybe even brassy? She shows up at this magnificent palace to test the king with hard questions. But she was smart about it. She brought extravagant gifts including four tons of gold and the prized frankincense from her country. So, she’s boldly coming to quiz this man but she’s making it clear that she’s respectful and appreciative of his attention. 

My Bible notes in the sidebar that though she is impressed with the God of Israel, there is no evidence that she comes to know Him as her own rather than simply accepting Him as she would any other geographical God. However, others believe that when she praised the name of the Lord, she was announcing a dedication to Him. I don’t know. I think it would be odd, if she were not seeking after truth but rather just being nosy about Israel’s God to take a six-month trip just to hear about Him for the heck of it. 

Anyway, if you have anything to say about the relevance of the Queen of Sheba, please- lay it on me. 


Meet Minnie

Well, yesterday was a real heck of a day. We spent about ten hours driving across the Great State of Oklahoma, including breaks. And by breaks I mean pit stops in dirty gas stations (like when Jack started screaming that he needed to poop and thank goodness we weren’t far from an exit) and standing around in a WalMart parking lot. 

But all the chaos was worth it because we came home with this pretty lady.  


But let me describe the journey a little more for posterity. The fun began actually the night before when Case should’ve been sleeping but he felt like crying was the better option. So, we were a bit tired to begin with. Then Spencer asked me to drive so he could work on the way. I do not enjoy driving and I do not enjoy when a person is off work but still working but I realized it was for the common good so I complied. About twenty minutes into our trip, Spencer said “Boy, you’re gonna be fun today!” Which made me laugh inside but I kept the game face on so as not to encourage those kinds of remarks. So, that tells you how we began. 

But, the closer we got, the more we perked up at the prospect of having a vehicle for adventure and our (my) attitudes improved. 

The boys were surprisingly good. I really expected a lot more screaming about being trapped in a car seat the majority of the day, but they were real troopers. 

So, I drove them home amidst snack wrappers galore and Spencer drove Minnie home and by the grace of God we all made it. 

And now we just have to decide where to go. 

Let me tell you a little story. Not about a man named Jed. 

Today I took the heathens to Norman to play at an indoor playground since it was rainy. The first place we went was closed (And we got kicked out because after I read the “closed” sign and turned to leave, another mom came and told me she didn’t know why that sign was out but they were open. So I came in. And then got kicked out. I was so ashamed. I think that lady just needed me to fade heat for her.) so we went to the mall. After the kids played we went into the Best Buy to get me a car charger for my phone because I’ve never had one and that is ridiculous and my battery was low. 

At Best Buy, the sales lady told me we were in a tornado watch. To which I said “K.” Well, in my mind I did. I actually said something like “Oh, okay! Thank you so much for letting me know!” But I was thinking “K.” Because really a tornado watch means almost nothing to me. 

So, I check the radar, see some rain and head on home. About halfway there I get a text from Spencer’s cousin telling me to watch the weather. So, I called him and he said nothing tornadic but hail and crazy wind. Okay, drama queen! Then Spencer texts me “Are yall inside?” So I call him and he tells me the same so I book it on to the house because I didn’t want to carry kids from the car to the house in a hail storm. 

I come in and turn on the weather and as soon as Jack gets all his clothes off, they start talking about a hook echo and you could see the meteorologist switch and get a little nervous. Okay, get your clothes back on, kid! Your dreams have come true and we finally get to go to the cellar! 

So I did the emergency things like switch from flip flops to shoes, grab a blanket and the emergency bag, and threw everything down the stairs. Deposited children. Grabbed a bottle and parts and shoved them in my front pocket (this is when breastfeeding is handy), turned the flashlight on and crammed it in my back pocket so I could have a light as I pulled the huge door down and tied it closed. 

It was all fun times. The kids devoured every snack in the bag because goldfish crackers taste way better underground and as I fixed Case a bottle, I realized the nipple had been lost along the way. (There’s a phrase I never thought I’d say.) I had friends and family texting me updates since I couldn’t get radar down there but my phone died before I felt like coming out. So we waited a bit until my Okie instincts said it was all clear and I ran and checked the TV and got the kids out. In all, it was about 35 minutes down there. With no toys. Now I know what the pioneers must have felt like. 

But here’s the whole point of that crazy convoluted story: God was helping me. I left Norman at the exact right time. If I had been any later, I’d have been in the car with no warning and in town where the tornados were actually touching down. We would have been fine in the end but I’d have been terrified. If we had left earlier, I would have checked the weather when I got the initial text, seen it was no biggie and put it back on Disney Jr. Then I most likely would’ve gotten the texts telling me there was already a tornado which probably would’ve caused me to traumatize the children with my spazzing out. Also, I charged my phone on my new car charger on the way so I could get messages instead of being stuck down there with no phone. Also, the tornados were all super small and nobody got hurt so that was nice. 

But Jack did have to pee in the corner. So, it wasn’t all roses. 

Husband cleaning

Husband cleaning. Here to highlight the differences between the sexes. Today I got lucky/strategically planned and got synchronized naps. (It’s a joy and a gift I don’t take for granted. Thank you, Lord.) So, since my house is always in a special state of disarray after the weekend, I have been frantically trying to straighten it. I grabbed one of my dirty shirts out of one of the numerous toy bins I’ve placed around the house (in my quest for mess containment), thinking the Baby Monster put it in there. But, underneath the shirt was a sippy cup. And Jack’s cowboy boots. And one of my flip flops. Ah. Husband cleaning. 

I’m very grateful for my husband (I literally could not dream up a better one. Thank you, Lord) and his spirit of helpfulness. But he has this overwhelming aversion to clutter (unless it’s on his nightstand) that causes him to go on straightening sprees where he, obviously, just puts anything in his path into a laundry basket (just because it’s on the floor doesn’t mean it’s dirty), toy box or trash can. So, when I clean, it’s clean. But, current circumstances being what they are, no two parts of the house are usually clean at the same time. Now with husband cleaning, everything looks very tidy at first glance. But good luck finding anything, like that favorite bra that’s been missing for two weeks or the toddler’s other shoe. 

But when you do find something, it’s probably a sippy cup of milk in the diaper drawer that’s been there a few too many days. 

Case’s half birthday

Well, our big little baby is six months old! Only half a year until he can drink regular milk and eat what we eat. In the words of Jack, “Won’t that be gate?!”

He is sitting up like a champ and trying to get this crawling thing figured out. He gets so close sometimes that I find myself cheering him on, which just distracts him and makes him stop and grin at me. And then start crying so I will pick him up. It’s hard being Case. But I can’t make any predictions on the crawling. I would not be surprised if he started crawling today or if it was two more months. You know how these things are. He tries to get the cart before the horse sometimes by trying to climb and pull up.

He is not super interested in eating solid food but we get a few bites down every day anyway. He really likes music. Sometimes I think he’s a genius. Like, he knows what I’m saying and has thoughts about it.

His dream come true would be for someone to hold him and make eye contact with him all day. I don’t think he’s super picky about who it is, either. He’s really friendly and outgoing.

He likes to go places and see people and different scenery. He gets bored easily. Give him a new toy. Eyes light up. Cool! New toy! Yay! Does it do anything or is this it? Ok, got anything else? Perhaps a remote, phone, or full cup? Can you hold me in a standing position and talk to me some more?

He’s really ticklish. He’s hard to hold. He’s laughing or crying. I think he’s a Condict. But tall and skinny.

He loves Jack SO MUCH and Jack loves him too for now. He is a sweet and helpful big brother.

I’m one lucky mama and I love these toots! I can’t wait to do all kinds of fun stuff with them.

The beautifulness

Well, I’m just feeling like the world is a beautiful place and the golden glow of sunshine is upon my face. And apparently I’m so over the top cheerful that I’m rhyming.

Last night my wonderful, perfect little (big) cherub baby slept from 8pm until 5:30am. Yeah. Thank you, Jesus. He is about a week away from his 5 month anniversary of exiting my body and he is confirming what a few of us already thought as evidenced by these past statements:

“I wish my babies could be born five months old.”- my sister when Jack was about three months old.

“The first six months were the slowest of my life and the second six months the quickest.”-me on Jack’s first birthday when a relative asked if it had flown by.

“Yeah, this is when it gets not so horrible.”- A friend when I was at her house about four months ago and complimenting her on her sweet five month old.

So, as you can see, for those of us who don’t consider the newborn stage to be our favorite, five months is a great age. Our Case is just growing up on us. He’s rolling and scooting and either laughing or crying. Where Jack was mostly very level and serious, Case is either cheerful or angry. Wonder who he takes after? He is pretty sure that he should be a big boy who can walk and talk by now so sometimes he gets a little frustrated when his efforts at mobility are proven futile.

Even more exciting about Case’s full night of sleep is that Jack also slept well. This was shocking because we had to take him to the ER last night after a few wheezing spells that scared us to death. Jack generally has a little cough here and there because of allergies so I didn’t think much of it, especially after all the back and forth weather. But it gradually got worse and by the time he took a nap, he started coughing so bad it made him wheeze. He’s never done that before! Luckily friends were here so they occupied Case while Spencer hooked up a breathing machine (that we bought when he had bronchitis last year but never even used) and I stood in the bathroom with a steaming hot shower running. After that he seemed to feel good but just had a froggy throat. Then at bedtime the coughing/wheezing fits started again. So my mom came over to be with Case (yay for living in Purcell!) and we took him to the hospital where he had a great adventure. He was cracking the nurse up with his cheering “best day eber!” He really enjoys new activities. He was diagnosed with the croup or a virus (not the flu), given an oral steroid and sent home. So, by this point he had not only missed his nap for only the second time in his life but also was about three hours passed his bedtime. He told us he needed to go night night and climbed into bed and fell asleep. AND THEN HE SLEPT UNTIL 7am. What?! Amazing.

Sleeping is even more thrilling when you expect not to sleep. It’s the best ever. I might actually get this house straightened up today. Maybe.

This stinks

Well. You may have noticed I’ve been a bit preoccupied with sleep lately. I get kind of obsessive. Last night it felt so glorious to lay down at 8:30 and know that I would have a few hours of sleep before Spencer and I switched shifts. I was also feeling hopeful because Case had slept better the night before so I thought maybe he was finally working himself back into a reasonable routine.

Then, over my white noise machine, I heard Spencer open the bedroom door. The clock said 11:23. My mind said “#%^*!$?”@&?!!!.” And Spencer knelt down in front of me and said “Do you smell something weird?” And I did. I sprang up in a way that I have only been able to spring since I became a mother. HIGH ALERT.

“It smells like something burning. Plastic or electrical or something.” Spencer agreed and said he’d been searching the house for twenty minutes and had about decided he was having smell hallucinations. So we looked high and low at every electrical outlet and appliance, checked outside and in the garage (where it didn’t smell) and concluded that he was going to have to check the attic. Then we decided we better get the kids out before he opened the attic and let a rush of oxygen in, which might cause a fire to erupt. As you can see, we are both very safe people.

Side note: (Once when we were kids and my parents weren’t home, the ice box started making a weird noise so I evacuated us to the yard in case it blew up. This felt similar.)

So, we gathered up some essentials (cash, toothbrushes, diapers and milk) and roused our sleeping babes (and let me tell you, Case had been snoozing like a champ since about 7:30!) . I had been trying to reach my mom and stepdad on the phone to no avail so when we got to their house, Spencer rang the doorbell while I fed Case in the car. Both boys were both pretty revved up by this point. It was probably the most exciting night of Jack’s life so far. No one heard the doorbell and I wasn’t even sure if their doorbell worked. So, I realized the only way to get them to let us in was if I knocked on their bedroom window. I thought this was pretty risky so I had no choice but to call my sister to ask if they kept a gun which they might use to shoot a person who was beating on their bedroom window at midnight. She was smart enough to tell me to just punch in their garage door code and go in that way. Oh. Duh.

So I did that and walked in their house turning on lights and hollering “Mom, it’s me!” all the way to their bedroom. As you can imagine, they were a little drowsy and confused but as soon as I explained the situation they both replied that I smelled like a skunk. And once I was in their non-stinky house and could smell my own coat, I had to agree that it did smell more like a skunk and less like that time when a plastic spatula fell on the heating element in the dishwasher and melted. Craaaaaaaap.

I went back to the car and reported to my husband who I had been trying to convince to call the fire department only moments before. He nodded that he had just smelled Case’s blanket and had the same thought. So he left us to party at Mom’s and went back to further investigate.

Not too long later he returned with the terrible news that our house was not in fact burning down but was only the object of a skunk’s wrath. How embarrassing. These two country kids who have both been the victims of our houses being sprayed before never even had the thought that it could’ve been a skunk! Even though we see skunks like every night.


What a deal

I would like to apologize to anyone who saw me at church this morning and was brought down by my pitiful attitude. I literally cannot help myself. The only one who can help me is God and I have asked him to so if I’m a Debbie Downer, well, take it up with Him because I don’t know what to tell you.

I have been struggling lately. Spencer and I are both wearing thin on the sleeping arrangement we have and are getting worn down from the feeling of just pushing through and surviving life instead of living it.

Let me take this moment to make this disclaimer: I am incredibly grateful for the supportive husband I have and for the two healthy boys God had blessed us with. I know so many people have it so much harder in so many ways and for some, raising babies is nothing but pure joy. But it is hard for me. It stretches me. But I haven’t broken apart yet so I guess that’s the victory here. I’m here. I get as tired as anybody listening to everyone complain about their first world problems. I get tired of myself because my head has things straight, my emotions just don’t. And I can’t make myself get in a good mood.

Yesterday morning I cried when only Case and I were up because I read some dumb blog, just one of the millions, that proclaimed motherhood is enough and that we shouldn’t feel like we aren’t “accomplishing” anything. No, duh. Raising a kid is accomplishing a lot. But you don’t get a raise or a plaque and really you can’t impress anyone with it because billions of others have done it too. So, I have a pride issue. I like to have a task to do and then do it really well and then have that recognized. And feel special. A regular job is much more suited for filling up that selfish need I have. I already know motherhood is enough, it’s just hard to gauge your progress or your successes and failures.

Don’t worry, I also cried one day because Faith Hill’s “I can’t do this anymore” came on the radio and I so identified with this line “Now you’re Mister Successful” because I get jealous sometimes of this career Spencer is building and then the line “and I’m Queen of the Treadmill just trying to stay the size you think that I should stay” and I fell apart because not only am I not Misses Successful, I’m also not Queen of the Treadmill. I can’t even figure out how to exercise! Shouldn’t a housewife at least exercise?! Oh, Lord, I’m just fat and frumpy and I don’t DO anything!

I cried today because this morning before church, I watched Dr Charles Stanley and his sermon was on overcoming anxiety. And I didn’t even want to go to church but I had to take a book to someone who needed it for her Sunday school lesson. Then the Sunday school lesson in my class was how to cope with feeling overwhelmed and depression. And so I was on the verge of tears and left before church just in case the sermon was on not being a whine bag or ungrateful or something.

In class we were talking about praising Him in the valley and how we can feel abandoned and how that is when our faith can do the most growing. And I know that’s right. But my flesh pushes against it. I just want to sleep and feel good. And I want to know what I’m supposed to learn because I will gladly learn it as quickly as possible so all this can go away.

(There are numerous unrelated stressful things I’m dealing with right now- you know, when it rains it pours- but I have no doubt things would seem much less daunting if I was rested.)

Anyway, I was thinking about a time in my life when it seemed like all my prayers were being answered left and right. It was glorious. And I was wondering why that happened then but in some of my more recent hard times I have felt so alone. And I mean, who am I to be able to figure that out for sure? But what I think is that I was so immature in my faith then, that it couldn’t stand much testing. So God was giving me all this encouragement to grow my confidence in Him. And then when I had so many instances that I could never deny His faithfulness, it was time to grow.

And now when it seems my help is gone, I know that it isn’t. When I was giving birth to Case, I was in so much pain and so scared that I literally cried out for Jesus to help me. But no relief came for hours. And later when we were talking about that, Spencer said “but He didn’t.” And I replied “but He didn’t.” I mean, maybe He did, but we couldn’t discern it. So all I could say is that I don’t know why. I know He heard me and I know He works all things together for my good so apparently it was right for me to keep feeling scared and in pain for awhile.

And I guess that’s how it is now. So maybe while I continue to just only put one foot in front of the other, I will learn to be content and wait to see what He is doing. It is always a new thing. So while I feel like crap all the time right now, I already know that someday I won’t anymore.

Thank you, Lord.

(Additional disclaimer: I really, really, really don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I know I need an attitude adjustment. I just like to write and share because that helps me get it straightened out for myself. I had no idea what this post would say until it was already written. So while you can save your sympathy for someone who is worse off than me, I would still love to have your prayers. Please.)

2014 recap as best as I can

Okay, let’s make this quick because I have two sleeping kids!

On January 9th, we found out I was pregnant again! It was a pretty normal morning with Jack running around and Spencer in bed answering emails before getting dressed for work. I thought, “I’ll just take a test for the heck of it.” And there it was! Thank you, Lord!

It was also in January when we went to stay at the Abney Ranch and take care of things while mom and Larry were gone. That was Spencer’s test to see what he thought about moving to Purcell. That was another positive test for January. P.S. I was not feeling so hot while feeding horses in my first trimester. I never actually threw up but I was a lot more nauseous the second time around than I was with Jack.

The next couple months were spent with me laying around as much as possible when I had a toddler, and enjoying time with my MOPs group. Also selling our house. That was really not fun and very stressful because I so wanted to move to Purcell before baby Case got here.

In April I turned officially old and Spencer planned a fun birthday party for me at Red Pin bowling alley in Bricktown. Jack was a handful. Most of my main people were there and I was happy to see everyone.

In May we got to move home to my grandparents’ house they bought in the late ’60’s and where I lived with my mom for a few years. It is so nice to be among people who really know me and who I really know back.

Then in June my sister moved back too! So we spent the summer sitting in the shade while the kids played in the water hose, at the AWESOME water park in Pauls Valley, and trying to get this house cleaned up and painted when we could. It was actually a pretty cool summer and I thanked the Lord for that as I waddled around after Jack and remembered how hot it was the summer he was born.

In September little big baby Case came. His birth was as horrifying a birth as I can imagine for one that ended with a healthy mom and baby. Gah, I’m sweating just thinking about it. The decision to have zero more kids is made and solidified and written in stone and sealed.

The next few months have been a blur because of sleep deprivation but I must give credit to my favorite person, my Spencer, for helping with the sleeping. We have slept in shifts and it was extremely helpful for getting through the newborn stage. Case has been no good at sleeping and I blame it mainly on the fact that he is huge and always hungry. I’ve gotten out and about and done a lot more with Case as a newborn than I did with Jack and I think that would help me not get such bad baby blues. Which it did I guess for the first three months but here we are again now. Oh, well.

The holidays were super crazy and tiring and now it is 2015 and I have no plans other than to manage and survive all the phases and constantly changing routines that come with having an infant.

Happy New Year, friends!

Pinterest salt dough ornaments

I hate crafting. I HATE CRAFTING. Know why? Because I like things to look nice and be perfect and not all crappy and ugly. I’m aware that some people can craft and get things to not look like a drunk third grader did it but I’m not one of these people.

So, I did have a little trepidation about doing salt dough ornaments but they are about as simple as it gets and I wanted to save the kids handprints somehow. I even texted my sister that I was hesitant to try it but she basically told me to just make the dang ornaments. So I did. Kind of.

I should’ve trusted my gut and just taken a picture of their hands next to a coke can or something if I wanted to remember what size their fingers were.

It would’ve been more accurate too since Jack couldn’t resist squishing his fingers around in the dough and Case wouldn’t unball his fist so we did his foot instead.

This stupid simple activity sent me into anxiety overload and all of a sudden I found myself standing over a table covered in flour, with a screaming baby in a Bumbo at my feet, wearing yoga pants that looked as tired as I was and arguing with a two-year old about why he can’t eat the dang salt dough.

I had a moment. Everything froze and it was like I was looking at a picture of the scene and all of a sudden I was like “What am I doing and who am I and is this my life?” And then it got kind of funny, probably because I’m delirious, and I started laughing at the strangeness of it all.

And then Jack pounded an ornament I had painstakingly formed into somewhat of a circle and yelled (he only yells) “Best day eber!” And I was like “Well. They are cute.”

And now the ornaments are stuck to a baking sheet, waiting for me to work up the courage to go pry them off because I forgot to spray the pan. And I swear, if one breaks I WILL LOSE IT.

Remind me I don’t craft, k?