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Welcome to My Mommy Thoughts. I originally created this blog to document our lives hosting foreign exchange students in our home but I quickly discovered a passion for writing and blogging. This blog has become a little bit of everything.

So sit back, relax with a cup of coffee and enjoy!!

~Randi

Me and My Hubby

Me and My Hubby

My Loves

My Loves

The Princess - Maggie

The Princess - Maggie

Me & my Meg

Me & my Meg

Monday, December 3, 2012

Life's updates

How terrible of a blogger am I? Oh my goodness. So much has happened that I am not even sure where to begin.

I'll start with the most exciting - Noah is going to be a big brother!! He could not be any more excited!! Robert "Liam" is scheduled to make his appearance in March.

This pregnancy came as a shock but we were excited. There is a story to Liam but I will save that for another blog post. HAHA!! Don't want to turn this post into a book itself.

The next interesting piece of info is that we are moving to Corner. We are so thrilled. We got rid of our house in September and have been living with Gigi and GrandDanny since. We are going to be renting a house from someone at our church so timing works out great. It is a much larger house than we had - has a full basement with a perfect room for an office (photography), a den/playroom and a guest bedroom. There are only 2 bedrooms on the main level but the master is actually too large for us so Liam will be sharing with us for a while.

God has definitely been keeping is eye on us. He's taken some drastic measure to get our attention but we have no doubt that Corner is where we are supposed to be. The only downfall is being further away from our parents. Noah is going to have to change schools which will mean that my mom will not be able to pick him up in the afternoons - for that, I am very sad! We are hoping that she will still be able to keep him on Fridays, even though we will still be paying for 5 days of school. It is very important to me that Nina has her Noah time! My Grandma Dison kept me while my mom worked and I would not trade my memories with Grandma for anything and I want to make sure Noah has similar memories with my mom!

Maggie is not sure what is going on. She has not been to the new house yet but I know she will love it. She has a huge yard that will be fenced in soon and I know there will be lots of smells for her little nose. What she doesn't understand is that her "cousin" lives next door. A 13" beagle named Abby is her new neighbor. Abby is only 4 years old but is much heavier than Maggie and honestly looks much older. But we've heard she is just as lazy as Maggie. I think they will get along well!!

We are looking forward to some great things God has cooking right now. Liam's arrival will be huge for us and tons of excitement is going on at church. Just reminding ourselves that it is totally God's timing and not ours. Unfortunately that is a hard lesson to learn.

This is it for now. I promise to update more often (I really will try - I promise!!).

~Randi

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Voice of God

Do you ever listen intenally for the voice of God? How does God speak to you?

It took me so long to realize the many ways that God uses to get through to us. Sad to admit, I know, but it is true. God has used so many different ways, people, songs, etc. to get into my thick skull. He has used dreams, scriptures, voices/thoughts in my heart, songs, and I could go on and on. It is such an amazing feeling knowing the full presence of God, listening to his words (often through others) and just feeling his arms wrapped around you. Oh my goodness, love it!!

This morning was one of those mornings. I was on my way to work, just praying and talking to God, asking for him to interveen in a situation. I had turned the radio down to focus on my conversation with God when I realized that Mandisa's "Stronger" was on the radio. I have heard this song many times, sing with it every time but this time my heart opened to hear the words. I know it was from God! It completely spoke along with the words that I was praying.

I'm not going to post the words to the whole song, but I will post the words to the chorus, in case you have not heard it. I highly reccommend going to youtube.com and looking it up. You will not be disappointed and I pray that you will be moved like I was.

"When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you ...

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, life your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares"
               ~Mandisa

~Randi

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fighting Away the Devil

I feel like all that I have done lately is fight with Satan. Sometimes I feel like he is winning but I will not let him overcome!!

This weekend was "one of those weekends." It was a never ending weekend and for the first time ever, I said, "I am ready for Monday and ready to go back to work!" Oh my goodness. Friday was a long day at work followed by a great evening of crafting with the women at church. Saturday was not so bad either, just long. I photographed a wedding and coverage started at 2:30p and went until 11p. Very l...o...n...g... day. Great wedding though! I get home about 11:30p to find Keith already in bed. That did not sit too well with me but I let it go. I wasn't able to go right to bed because my ears were still ringing from the loud noise of the band. (This is where I really started to feel old! HAHA!) I finally head to bed about 12:15a, just start to dose as Noah decides to come to bed with us. I must break my child of that habit, I am tired of being kicked by a 3 year old who sleeps sideways. Anyway!! We wake up about 5a to the sound of Maggie having a breathing attack. We get her calmed down, back asleep and sure enough she has another attack about 6a. I should have just stayed up at this point.

As we are getting ready for church, Keith tells me that he has a bad headache. Translation = migraine! Just lovely, huh!! We head to church, me driving of course. I have no idea how Keith made it to church without throwing up. Seriously! The drive to church is a long and curvy road. Have I mentioned it's a solid 45 minute drive? I pray the entire drive up, begging for Keith not to be sick. I begin coming up with a game plan in my head, trying to figure out what we will do for Children's Worship with Keith being out. Once we get to church I text messaged all of our parents asking for extra prayers because Keith is at church with a migraine. Let me just tell you about the power of prayer!! We prayed that migraine away! SERIOUSLY!! Several of the parents knew Keith was not feeling well but you could not tell he had been in so much pain.

Sunday services ended up going very well ... until I get a phone call from Dorinda. It turns out that my cousin, Jason, was involved in a motorcycle accident Sunday morning. When motorcycle meets deer, the deer usually wins. Jason was at UAB hospital with 9 broken ribs, a broken wrist, a broken collarbone, a punctured lung, messed up spleen and a brain bleed. My reactions were, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The freaky thing is Jason had been on my mind since the wedding the night before. We had a Birmingham officer at the ceremony with us and we had a certain situation during the ceremony that I wanted Jason to find out about. I guess that will have to wait! It turns out that Jason will be fine but he has a long recovery ahead of him. He has had surgery to repair his collar bone and he will have to have surgery to repair his wrist. Fortunately the brain bleed has stopped bleeding.

Sunday afternoon comes with more bad news. We learn that a Clay-Chalkville High School senior has decided to end his life. This just roughly 4 weeks away from graduation. Talk about a heavy heart for the family and friends of this guy.

It was at this point that I was ready to give up and go straight to bed. But the power of prayer is amazing. It seems that Keith and I keep getting hit with so many curve balls lately but we just try to take each one as they come at us. Someone at church told me that we must be doing something right for Satan to keep attacking us. I hope that is what it is. We will just keep fighting and fight like we have never fought before.

~Randi

Saturday, March 31, 2012

From the Couch to a 5K

Today is what I hope to be the beginning of a new beginning for Keith and me. We accomplished our very first 5k. If you don’t know, that is 3.2 miles. We did not run the entire thing; in fact, we did not even run half of it. But you know that is ok. We accomplished our goal either way. (1) We completed the race (2) We did not come in last!! We did a run walk combination but running a portion and then walking. We alternated the entire race. I don’t know how much we actually ran but it is more then I expected to be able to run.
In my adult years weight has never been a friend of mine. I am continuously up and down. I loose a couple of pounds to only gain double what I lost. I am the largest that I have ever been. I am not about to tell you what I weigh, haha! Though I am very tall, I can fortunately hide my weight very well. But I am still not about to give up that number. Maybe I will give it to you once I get fit.

This race is just the beginning for Keith and I. I am very excited to see what we do from here. We are determined to continue training and we look forward to more 5ks. We recently had a friend suffer from a massive heart attack at a young age and he lost his battle. His death has been an eye opener for both of us. We have realized that we have Noah to live for and we need to live like we do. We have changed our eating habits, included more veggies in our meals (which is huge for Keith!!) and we have cut drastically on our carbs, pastas and breads. Keith is a very picky eater and does not like vegetables or anything green. He is definitely a meat and bread kind of guy. I love vegetables but have often found myself giving them up to cook what he would eat. (Enter weight control issue!!)

I have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I know, sounds big, right? Well, in fact, it could be. It means that my thyroid is not producing correctly. It is under active. Basically, it means I feel tired all of the time and more or less, could have issues loosing weight. I take medicine for it every day and probably will for the rest of my life. (Oh it makes me feel so old!) But I am determined to win this battle and hopefully be able to come off of my medicine. I also have heredity high cholesterol (Thanks, Dad!!) It was in the 200’s in my 20’s. Yeah, I know!! Getting my rear in gear will hopefully help some future heart issues. I kind of like my heart beating and would like to keep it that way!

Keith has already lost a little over 10 pounds in our little weight loss journey and I have lost but not as significantly. Running this 5k this morning is definitely a good start for us.

For documentation purposes, I am posting a picture of us from this morning at Sloss Furnace after our race. (Excuse the horrible looks!!) So, thank you, Rumpshaker 5k. We look forward to more races in the future!!






~Randi

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

God, are you serious? Me?

Do you ever feel like God is asking something of you but you are not quite sure what to make of it? Sure, we all go through this at some point in our lives. That is part of God’s plan. Will we follow through? Will we run and ignore? How will we follow through?

I have just returned home from an amazing weekend in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with the wonderful ladies of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. If you don’t know, my dad is the pastor of this church. Each year their ladies attend a women’s conference. I have had the privilege of going with them for the last 3 trips, this one included. We decided that this was their 6th year to go. Let me tell you, it is one weekend every year that I thoroughly look forward too. It is a weekend with very Godly women attending a well known conference with well known speakers. It is weekend that I cannot come home from and not feel the blessing of Christ. I love coming home feeling refreshed. This was a weekend I definitely needed after the year that we have had. (Yes, our neighborhood is still in turmoil and let’s just say that I do not come home feeling refreshed in the afternoons. But that is a whole other post for another day!!)

While sitting and listening to 3 very talented speakers this weekend, I felt a tug on my heart. Yes, it was one of those God tugs. The tug is something that I have wanted to do but not sure how to do it. The thoughts that I kept having were “yes, this is something I want to do and have wanted to do. But me?” I thought about this “thought” all the way home from Tennessee just trying to tell myself that it is nothing I would be able to do. There is no way I am equipped for that job. In a way, I was telling God no. How dare I? Shouldn’t I know better than that by now?

I came home, so excited to see my family. I came home to Noah waving at me through the window. I rush over to him and pick him up, expecting a hug and he says “NINA!!” Yes, of course, he was excited to see my mom! LOL. We went through our evening routine, put Noah to bed and I soon followed. I typically lie in bed and watch tv to fall asleep but not last night. I decided to read from a little devotion book that Mrs. Tiny gave us in a goody bag for our trip. It is something she does each year and we always look forward to. The devotion book is called “God’s Promises to a Woman’s Heart.” (How fitting, huh?) Nanny had opened her goody bag on the way to Tennessee and read the first devotion to Mom and me as we traveled. I decided to skim back over it last night as I breezed through to day 2. But the verse on day 1 caught my heart. It says:
 “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:19.
No lie, that’s really the verse. Talk about a slap in the face. Day 2 (yes, it gets even better) says:
“I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food.”
Psalms 132:15.

Not only did I try to tell God no yesterday because I did not feel equipped to handle the task that he is giving me but he turned right back to me and said “Yes, Randi, YOU can do this. I will meet your needs and bless you with abundant provisions.” So, with that being said, I am not sure what God has up his sleeves, but I am excited to see where he takes me. I will follow his guidance and just trust. Please pray for me that I will be open to listening to the word of Christ.

~Randi

Monday, January 30, 2012

Living Life in the Path of the Storm

Monday, January 23, 2012 will be a day that our family will never forget. It is the first time that we have ever been significantly impacted by a natural disaster. Weather reports on January 22nd called for strong storms overnight into Monday morning. Fortunately we were very weather aware, as you must be in Alabama. I will say that we are very fortunate and very blessed by God to be standing here today. His loving arms wrapped safety around us and we will forever be in awe.

About 3 am Monday morning, our trusty little weather radio sounded off to let us know of a tornado warning in Jefferson County. We woke up and turned on the weather to see exactly where this storm was headed. It is not unusual to have storms with threats of tornadoes. More often the storm is in the clouds waiting to drop at any moment. We watched this storm come through Oak Grove, which has been destructed for the 2nd time in about 15 years. We waited to see if James Spann would include downtown Birmingham in the main threat, once he did, it was time to activate our weather plan. We dressed and headed down stairs. I cleaned out the closet, gathered Noah's helmet, made sure we knew where Maggie's leash was and gathered our thoughts on what to do next. I called Dorinda to make sure they were awake because the storm had turned our direction. Before I hung up the phone, I mentioned that we may come over to her house. She replied with "OK" but it was the type of "OK" that was like "fine, but whatever." We do laugh about it now that we know what happened. Keith told me to go ahead and wake Noah up and get him ready. Let me just say that my baby boy must have been dreaming good because he said "not yet, momma.". I felt horrible for having to wake him. I told Keith that I had a really nervous feeling and felt that we needed to go to Dorinda's. That was all he needed -- off we went. I packed a bag of every diaper and wipe that we had. I included a couple of juice boxes, gummies (because our world revolves around gummies!!) and breakfast bars. I also included my most prized possession, BO! We quickly headed out the door and down the street.

I remember looking at neighbor's houses as we were leaving to see who was awake. Trust me, next time I leave running from a storm, I will lay on the horn and try to wake everyone up!! I never thought that would be the last time I would see our neighborhood the way it was. I called Dorinda at 3:53 to tell her we were on our way. Jennifer called to make sure we were watching. Jennifer was our listening ear, thank goodness, when the power went out. We made it to Rinda's and headed down to the basement. Jamie and Dorinda were working to get his parents downstairs when the storm hit. We were in the basement, I had Noah AND Jack, Keith had Maggie. Dorinda was opening the garage door and Jamie was walking in the hall when both the front and back doors slammed open and the most horrible noise came from outside. Every kind of dirt and dust from Dorinda's basement began to swirl in where we were. Jennifer called to tell us that the tv reported that the storm was over Walmart in Trussville when in fact it had just blown over us.

We realized that things had settled down and we decided to head back home. Dorinda and Jamie's house was thankfully undamaged, thus leaving us unaware of what really had happened. Driving through Dorinda and Jamie's neighborhood was so spooky. There were tree limbs and pieces all over the street. We watched closely to make sure we did not travel over any power lines. As we turned on Old Springville Road, the road was clear again but the closer we got to Georgebrook, tree limbs began to appear again. We came to a spot in the road where there was a road block. We were less than 2 or 3 blocks from our neighborhood when we realized we could not go any further. It was so dark outside that we could not see the destruction. I looked back at my phone to realize I called Dorinda at 4:20 to tell her that we could not get back home because of trees and/or power lines. We were not sure at the moment. We headed to Keith's parents house where we knew we would wait until the sun came up to head back home.

It wasn't long of watching the news that we discovered what would forever change our lives. Georgebrook had been hit by a tornado. I realized I had our neighbor's phone number and I just had to know. At 4:44 am, Candi told me that our house was fine but the entire corner and first street of our neighborhood were completely gone. I fell to my knees and wept. Noah came to me to comfort me. I remember telling him "our house is fine baby. We have a home. But our friends do not."

We attempted at trip home at 8 am but police had the road closed due to a gas leak. When we finally made it at 11 am, this is what we saw:


The front left corner of our neighborhood

Our beautiful neighborhood entrance sign

I think back and I am so thankful that we left. And I am so thankful that we were not able to get back to our neighborhood at 4 am. I can not imagine the devastation we would have felt finding the neighborhood like this.

Here are a couple of other images from Monday:





We are so very fortunate that our home only suffered some shingle damage (which has already been repaired) and some loose siding. Nothing more that we know of.

I've not been able to grasp my feelings from that day. Thankful, fortunate - absolutely. But I also have a sense of guilt - guilt that my house is fine when so many others are not. The scary thing is 6 houses down from us has major damage, 9 down is completely destroyed. Why is our house not more damaged? How is it even possible.

God gave me the title of my blog Thursday when I was getting ready for work. I was dreading leaving for work because it was our first day back home and I was not looking forward to my "new view" when I left for work. God gave me "Living Life in the Path of the Storm". Keith and I have been in the path of many storms in our marriage. They've not been physical storms, until now. God gives us storms each and every day of our lives but it is up to us how we tackle the storms. I'm not sure what all God has planned with this title, but I keep praying for his wisdom and his words through our stories.

I'm going to close my blog post with a verse God gave me. It comes from Isaiah, chapter 43:
        "But now, this is what the Lord says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;' "

~Randi



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

God's Calling - Using Fun Source

Who knew that after many months of wondering, worrying, praying, being discouraged, life would be changed with just a simple phone call - at work! Yes, I know that many lives are changed by one single phone call, but this is not the type of situation where that should/could be. Keith and I (and our family and friends) have prayed for months on end for the perfect ministry job to open for Keith. Seriously, the last year and a half have been filled with website researching, resume sending, emailing churches, receiving emails from churches looking for the job. Never thought that prayer would be answered by me going to my job and answering my phone.

It was a typical Friday in the Fun Source office - we were busy gearing up for Halloween, our busiest time of the year. I answer the phone (which there is a 50/50 chance of me answering the phone!) and proceed to start talking about items that are available for a very popular fall festival date. After talking through the available products, we get to the part of needing the information. The gentlemen tells me that the name of the church is HighPoint Community Church. I ask what denomination the church is (it's in my nature, just curious!). He tells me that they are Baptist, a member of the North Jefferson Baptist Association but they have Community in the name so not to "stereotype" the church. I explain that I completely understand what he means because my mom works at the Birmingham Baptist Association, my dad pastors a small bio-vo church in Tarrant AND that my husband has accepted a call to the ministry, works at a local church and is looking for a children minister position at a church. His next words were .... "SHUT UP!" I instantly freeze, thinking a thousand things in that 2 seconds and then I say "Why? Are you guys looking for someone?" His answer, "Yes, we are!" 45 minutes later, I find out the brief history of HighPoint, find out that I am talking to the Senior Pastor of the church, and I have all of Joey's contact information with instruction to have Keith email him his resume. Let's just say that I was so floored that I'm not sure how I finished his order. Was this for real? Seriously?? After the phone call, I walk to the restroom, shut the door behind me, kind of fell back into the door, closed my eyes and I say "Thank you, Lord!" At THAT moment, God told me "See, I told you to be patient, my child! Here is your opportunity!" I instantly felt relief that THIS is where God would have Keith to serve.

2 months later, Keith has accepted the position as Children Minister at HighPoint Community Church and we were officially announced this past Sunday! We could not be more thrilled and honored to be a part of the HighPoint family. Everyone we have met have been extremely nice and helpful and so welcoming. We went for a visit a few weeks after the initial phone call and instantly felt like we were at home.

I will follow up by saying God has had his hands in this for a VERY long time. I'll give you a brief history ... my first wedding ever to actually be the "wedding planner" was for NBC 13's "NBC Throws a Wedding." The wedding took place December 1, 2006. Joey, the senior pastor, was the minister for that wedding. We had no idea after Keith emailed his resume to Joey. Joey forwarded it to the staff and Matt, the Youth Minister and Brother of the Bride, recognized me from Keith's picture on his resume. I have not seen the bride and groom from the wedding SINCE their wedding - literally. Ran into them in Trussville in August (almost 5 years later) and Matt recognized me from that night! How crazy is that??? Talk about 5 years in the making - long before Keith accepted his call to the ministry!!

HighPoint is located in Corner, Alabama which is about 30 minutes north of downtown Birmingham. Right now the position is a part time position with hopes/plans of being a full time position soon. The church is a church plant and is very rapidly growing. We could not be any happier!!

It was such an honor to have our families be with us this past Sunday when we were announced!

We look forward to many years of service at HighPoint and look forward to relocating our family (at the right time) to the Corner area!!! :-)

In HIS Service, In HIS Time,

Randi, Keith, Noah and Maggie