John David Pate-3years old

James Daniel Pate-3years old

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Little Place Called CASA....

It has been a little over a month since I accepted my current position as the music teacher at the boys' school, CASA. I have to admit, upon accepting this part-time job, I was a little hesitant about giving up my free time during the day. Until of course I searched my heart and realized that the fear of losing my free time was really a selfishness within my heart that I didn't want to admit. There was a  missing piece within me that I wrestled with (was I not content where God had me, or was God trying to thwart me out of a selfishness) What I was wrestling with wasn't the fear of losing my free time, but the longing to do something that would impact others (big or small) for Him. I realized that in the years past, my teaching position at Oak Mountain gave me several things 1. a pay check 2. great insurance  3. interaction with other adults  4. a chance to teach children also gave me the opportunity to share God's word and teachings and mostly His unfading love with the kids I taught (just had to do it nonchalantly and not so obviously)  When I resigned from my "job" teaching 4th graders, I was excited to have lots of extra time to just do whatever I desired, but after a few months, I realized that sending all five kids to school and staying home with my "desires" proved to be a very selfish place for me. This is not to say all women who stay home are selfish....I am saying that I WAS FEELING SELFISH.... I really didn't feel myself thriving in His spirit like I had in the past. As I searched my heart and reflected with God as to why I felt so empty, for lack of a better word, I really saw myself bored and unsatisfied just being at home. When the boys were babies and Jenna was 2, my days were crazy full and I never felt selfish at all. I spent my entire day, morning , noon and night in a very unselfish place...SERVING my children 24-7. Not to say that I don't serve them now, it is just a different level of serving. They are so much more independent, and I LOVE IT!

 I prayed that God would reveal an opportunity for me where I could work, without being stressed to the max, earn some extra money to help lessen a little bit of the financial burdens of our family, but also to give me a place/platform to share Him with others, HE FOUND THE PERFECT PLACE FOR ME!

I am so very grateful for the place I have currently landed....CASA allows me to teach children His word and share His love 4 days a week for a few hours a day. I have been able to use our scripture song CD to teach our family verses to my new CASA family of children...It is so rewarding and humbling to hear these little preschoolers see me and start singing "Exodus 14:14 God will fight for you , be still and know it's true"... I don't have mounds of stress at all. I don't feel like a lunatic spiraling out of control in a constant frenzy at all. I have a group of women I work with daily that are beautiful reflections of God's love and grace, and encouragement. I still have the early mornings to leisurely spend time with all my children, send the off to school and be home a couple of hours before they arrive. I can still have special snacks awaiting them occasionally, do carpool pick up for gymnastics, run errands with the boys after CASA, prep dinner, workout if needed..Manage the home chores and tasks without feeling completely overwhelmed. I think God has answered my prayer/plea and not only did He answer it, HE EXCEEDED my expectations.

For where I am right now, I am very, very thankful and I seriously owe it all to HIM.

Ephesians 3:19-21 "And to know His love to the measure of all the fullness of God, and to Him who is able to do, immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power at work in us, to Him the glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus through all generations, Forever and ever AMEN!"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas in July if I don't hurry up and post it!

Well January 10th sounds like a fantastic day to "catch up" on the blog. Geez...I just seem to not have the extra time in the day to do this. I really don't want to give it up, because it is an excellent record keeping tool for our family, but I would like 27 hours in the course of a day instead of 24.

Here a quick snap shot.

Ellie at her piano recital....this would be a FIRST for her as well as DADDY AND MOMMY!

Ellie's AMAZING piano teacher...Mrs. Angie is truly a gift to our family. She invests in my sweet Ellie Bug's life and has truly made a positive impact on her. 

Snuggle time...John David absolutely loved snuggling with Rosey each night. He would always ask her to "put on her black jammies" because they are so warm and cozy. 

She grew up OVERNIGHT...First 6th grade "dance"...**sigh** ....

Just hanging out with his hook and lantern!

Making the candy cottage...this smile is 100% authentic

James Daniel, aka Harry Potter, helping add some chocolate cereal to the cottage!

Jenna, ready for school, in her pj's, elf hat and  Elroy in hand!

Boys 4th Birthday! What a celebration this always is each year. We are all reminded each year at this time what a true miracle these little boys are. They amaze us with their unique personalities and precious loving dispositions. They keep us entertained and humbled. Thank you Father God for the miraculous life you breathed into them 4 years ago. 

Uncle Ryan is so silly. 

Christmas was a complete gift and blessing. I would like to say that we had no major meltdowns, but that just isn't the case. I believe I had the first one. LOL! Even with a few minor meltdowns here and there, our family experienced a beautiful Christmas together. We spent much needed family time together and enjoyed all the goodies and gifts that go along with it. I have a few very special sights and sounds tucked away in my cherished memory spot to keep forever. The boys turned 4 and had a pirate party at Legacy gymnastics. Claire was invited to her first big "social" dance at the Greystone Country Club. We made our candy cottage and Ellie and Jenna absolutely loved every single second of it. We have our annual "Cookie Day" at Mamaw's house..girls only. Sweet baby Camille Noelle Pate was born, the day after the boys' birthday. Seeing my family (healthy and well) sit together and light the unity candles at our Christmas Eve church service was definitely one memory I won't forget. Hearing Ellie play Christmas music on the piano for the first time is a beautiful memory. Watching the girls sneak into the keeping room to find their "gifts" at 4am in the morning. Our first big family Christmas party at our house with lots of folks and food. Spending our first Christmas with Mr. Howard (my new stepdad) and my mom and brother, Ryan,  in their new house was special...remembering the honey baked ham and turkey and of course the "real deal" ginger snap cookies in the cool Christmas tin. Spending two weeks with Becky and Rosey was awesome...Dad even taught me how to make grape leaves (and he even let me do my own ultra light version...haha!) Sharing Christmas Day with Mamaw and Papa and Philip and Katy and cousin Sam, and now our newest cousin, Camille, was a beautiful blessing as well. Taking a huge Christmas meal to a needy family (that didn't even have flooring in their home, and were struggling so bad they didn't have power last month), made our hearts very sensitive to the fact that we live most of our days selfishly as we sometimes desire more that what we already have. It makes me feel shameful in a way. I am thankful we took this family food, and gave ourselves and our children a crisp picture of what some people endure on a daily basis. Not to make us feel guilty for what we have, but definitely to allow us to reflect on how blessed we are and how capable we are to be servants to His people in need.

Having family to share the holidays with, being healthy and being allowed the opportunity to share life together, the good and bad, really doesn't have a price tag.

I will add pictures when I return from carpool pick up and gymnastics.

John David watching his movie on his DVD player Mamaw and Papa gave him, through his binoculars....He is a strange kid..LOL!

Cookie Day at Mamaw's house...tradition for the girls. We always have a wonderful time baking cookies and of course decorating them!

Picture of me and my Dad. We were being goofy.  This was at our big family Christmas party. 

Uncle Phillip with James Daniel

Papa with two of his boys. 

Nana hanging out with Ellie and Jenna at the Dirty Santa gift swap at our party. 

My big girls doing a very nice job cleaning up from the party! LOL!

My sweet mom-in-law!

James Daniel Sr and lil James Daniel 

Nanny and John David

Ellie was so happy to "steal" this gift at the Dirty Santa swap...
Our family...with cousin Sam. 

These kids make me smile, and scream, and smile, and scream, but mostly SMILE!

Celebrating Christmas with Mr. Howard and Nana

Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed all of their gifts. One very special moment was noticing the birth date on Jenna's Cabbage Patch kid doll that my mom gave her. It was my grandmother's birthday, May 14th...and oddly enough my Nanny was the one who always bought baby dolls for me as we celebrated Christmas at her house on Christmas Eve night. 

Starting a new tradition...Christmas Eve night before they go to sleep, siblings will exchange their gifts with each other. Very sweet and loving to see them become so excited to share this time with each other. 

She was so surprised. Had absolutely NO idea Santa was bringing an IPhone!

Baby doll named "Jenna"...the one that Jenna found on the computer and told Santa he could get it from Amazon! Lol!

James Daniel got drums....


John David got a monster truck!

Becky enjoyed assembling all the toys:-)

Precious. Rob and I actually just sat back and watched them tear into all of their gifts. AT THE SAME was a beautiful moment. 

Celebrating Christmas with Mamaw and Papa....Lots of laughter and giddy grins. 

Rocking out the Christmas night with Just Dance 4


Mamaw and Papa got the boys a duo basketball goal for indoors. It is awesome and we all enjoy playing it. 

Our Christmas holiday break was full of love and much joy. We are sad to see it come and go so quickly, but we are thankful that the best gift of all, the birth of a perfect baby boy, who becomes our salvation carries on through all the years....until eternity!