Do I Still Turn 40 If My Friends Hijack My Blog?

Hello Sarah K. Griffith Blog forum! To start off I would like to introduce myself… My name is Laycie, as you might have read about me in previous posts. Anywho! I would like to apologize in advance for all of you who are blog savvy and up-to-date on blog do’s and don'ts, because this girl is definitely not! I probably should have swung by half price books to get a blogging for dummies hard copy, but I figured straight from the heart would do just the trick.

As many of you may or may not know, Sarah’s birthday is just around the corner (November 26th to be exact). If you are a frequent shopper here on Sarah’s blog page you know that for each person's birthday she writes a post dedicated to them with ‘X’ amount of things she loves about them corresponding to their age. So, knowing that Sarah would never write her own B-day post (I say as sarcastic as possible because I think she's working on her own b-day outline right now) I decided to reach out to some of her closest friends and family members to make her  a what we love about you birthday list!

*side note: I am not going to disclose exactly how old Sarah is turning this year, simply because that is a huge lady no-no. Also when I reached out to friends I got such an overwhelming response, that I'm just going to use the handful that go over her actual to-date age will be “ones to grow on” kinda like good ole birthday spankings, but I think that would be slightly inappropriate for me to bless her with Laycie love pats to the rump.  

With all that being said if you personally know Sarah I am sure you will agree with the list of sweet things each and every person sat down and hand wrote for her.

1. I love how passionate Sarah is — she's passionate about God, she's passionate about the lost, she's passionate about her family, and she's passionate about her friends. She will do anything for these people.

2. I love how Sarah is a caretaker. She loves caring for people and animals. Her spiritual gift is definitely care-taking and making sure everyone is well.

3. I love how Sarah is a gangster. She'll be the first one to throw a punch to stand up for those she loves. #hollabackgirl

4. I love that Sarah is too good for a normal motel (screw this!) and will pay to treat her besties to an amazing 5 star weekend because we seriously have the best of times (no matter where we are!). #wherestyler #whynotmetoo #itsalietakeacart #sarahmadeitto1am #batsarescary #smf2017

5. I love Sarah's humility — she will be the first to apologize — to put her feelings and pride aside and tell you how she screwed up. (We all screw up, but she will be the first to point hers out).

6. I love Sarah's heart to always be learning and growing in Christ. Her love and passion to know God more and to be more Christlike is inspiring.

7. She is the ultimate mother hen. She takes care of all of her people, including her friends.

8. If you need her, she will drop what she is doing and come. Every. Single. Time.

9. She is crazy intuitive about the needs of her people.

10. When she messes up, she is the FIRST one to admit it and then tell you all the ways God is teaching her.

11. She will never say no to a good 90s Jam sesh.

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12. She’s literally the best gift giver.

13. She cares more about what God thinks than anyone or anything else.

14. She fights for the weak, defends the fatherless and believes the best in others. If Sarah could see herself through my eyes, she would see that she is kind, loyal, forgiving, feisty and beautiful.

15.I love how forgiving and supportive you are. There is no way i'd be who I am today without your guidance, forgiving me when I do something wrong (multiple times), and supporting me no matter what.

16. You are amazingly beautiful. Not only physically but your personality and strength motivate me everyday.

17. God shines through  you, the fact that you can be so confident in who you are and what you believe is such an amazing thing and it makes me love you so much and makes me look up to you. You are an incredibly strong woman of God.

18. You have the best relationships. You and your best friends are so funny and joyful. I love that y'all have a group chat (red heart, red heart, BFFs, red heart, red heart). It models for me what I want in friends.

19.You and dad are SO CUTE. Over time I think about what that has given me I thank Him for saving your marriage. Y'all have so much love for each other and still have fun being married, y'all aren't just roomies like some parents. One day I want a marriage as pure and whole as yours.

20. You put up with my teenagerness. you love me even on my bad days, or even yours. Even when for the 100th time you find food or cups in my not clean room that you've told me to clean.

21. you use your past experiences to be the perfect mom

22. You keep going even when the house is falling apart.Even when me and Brock are misbehaving. When drama creeps in. When yours and dads parents chip you away. You keep pushing because you know God is there and growing you. I love that about you.

23.I love your love for animals. You teach me to be kind to the animals when I lose my temper. You show me the ways of a country goat girl. Thank you for that.

24.I love that you know and are learning to relax by watching British tv shows, and how you named your duck after your favorite one.

25. I see you. I see you love Laycie, fighting tooth and nail for her. I see you learn and listen to God. I see you trying your hardest. I see you love on Kohen. I see you KILLING IT as a housewife and stay at home mom.

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26. What time is it? SHOWTIME! I LOVE being your right hand man, battling you in a rap battle or raising a glass to freedom. Just don't shoot me in a duel okay? I love that you perform Hamilton with me in the car. That we share that, and you let me screech until my heart's content,

even if I mess up the harmony or forget a part. When I sing with you its nonstop and I feel like we could turn the world upside down.

27. I love that my mom is the one everyone can hear from the sidelines at the lacrosse games, even when I don’t score.

28. I don't know if you know this, but everytime you pick me up from school and stop whatever you are doing to talk to me or pick me up sonic, or spend your time doing something for me, I tell myself that you truly are the best mom I could ask for.

29. Momma, Im being truly honest when I say you are my best friend. Who also happens to be the best mom, awesome singer, loving caretaker, funniest comedian and courageous woman of God I want to be. There is so much more I could say, but that would take up all the blog space in the world, so i'll just say Happy birthday mom, I love you.

30. She’s always got your back.

31. She pushes you to pursue the passions the Lord gives you.

32. She’s one of the most giving people I have ever met.

33. She’s the kind of friend that pushes you out of your comfort zone when you need to be.

34. She knows every word to every 90s rap song.

35. I can’t describe how much she loves me

36. She relentlessly cares for me (down to my toes)

37. She provides everything I need

38. She somehow knows what I’m thinking about all the time

39. She disciplines me so I’m not a brat

40. She makes sure I don’t do something dumb

41. She does fun stuff with us

42. She does not have a favorite

43. She lets us have some alone time

44. She is always curious about what we are doing in life/school/what we are going through

45. Sarah I love how well you love me and my sweet boy, showing me the kind of love the Lord has for us both, in so many ways that I didn't even know I needed.

46. I love that you care and you are all in. The things that make me cry, make you cry. I smile, you smile with me. I freak out, I know you're right there beside me doing just the same but ready to figure it out.

44. You are the best husband (hehe inside joke)

45. I love and am so grateful that you see the best in me even when I don't see it for myself. You remind me that I am worth it, you have the hard talks and do it all in a way that I know you care (even when I don't want to hear it in the moment)

46. You are patient with me. On my worst days when I want to curse you for getting me out of bed at 7 am. Or when I'm sick, lazy, dead to the world, unmotivated, crabby… the list could go on, you are slow to anger and give me the space I need when I need space or help and cuddles when I need those!

47. I love the way you fight for our marriage. I never feel like I’m fighting against you or by myself, but always with you right by my side.

48. I cannot say how thankful I am for having you as a mother to our kids. I have seen God do AMAZING things through you where our family is concerned. You are the biggest reason our kiddos are the blessings they are. If it were left to me they’d be running wild in the streets, chasing cars and biting tires.

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49. I love your passion for the path of light Christ has opened up to you. You want to be as close to Him as you can be, even when you’re not sure what His next step is.

50. I love how you find a way to connect with every pet you’ve ever had. I would swear I’ve seen them show their appreciation in ways only you can understand.

51. I love how you are always in my corner, even if you don’t quite understand what fight I’m in or how to coach me up for the next round.

52. I love how you are so willing to sacrifice for your friendships. You always give so much more of yourself than people expect or ask for.

53. I love how important neatness, structure, and organization are to you, but you let yourself have that one place of chaos.

54. You are so beautiful, in that timeless, outside all-the-way through to your soul kind of way that makes me so proud to be your husband and so ready to fight to give you that soft place to land.

55. I love the effect you have on people. Anyone who wants to allow Christ to make a lasting change in their life only has to be around you for a week or so.





Greetings loyal readers, this is Jesse, Sarah’s husband. I wrote the last nine items of the list, I say that so there’s no awkwardness. I also want to give a big thank you for everyone who contributed to this post, and to Sarah’s life over the years. Without y’all she wouldn’t be who she is. Also, I have to thank Laycie for this birthday idea and our unknown accomplice who helped get this up without Sarah knowing about it.
    

Finally, I would like all the readers to know how none of the things on this list come close to saying how we truly feel about Sarah. She is more loved, appreciated, honorable, God-glorifying, respected, and cherished than words can say. That’s why we are so blessed to know her and try and live out our appreciation for her each and every day we have Sarah as part of our lives. I love you babe, and I hope you know that in your heart. You are the second-best thing God has ever done for me, and I cannot put into words how blessed we are to be on this journey together.

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Why don't people just do what I tell them to do?

I have spent most of this last week frustrated that people don’t do what I say. I mean they tell me their problems, I tell them the perfect solution and then they go and do something completely different and so not right. How is one with all the answers, like me, to interact with people who don’t do what I tell them to do? Why do people not take advantage of the fact that I have all the answers?

Here is the funny thing about me and being frustrated. Frustration in me turns into, anxiety. Anxiety turns into yelling. And yelling is my cue that I have lost my way. In my frustration I have to sit and ask myself, “Self, why are you so frustrated?" To which self said, “I don’t like it when people don’t do what I say because I want everyone to be ok, and everyone will be ok if they follow my advice because I have all the right answers.” To which the Lord then chimes in, “Hey there kiddo, I am pretty sure that I have all the answers because I am omnipotent and omniscient, and you might feel like you have all the answers and give the best advice but you are operating on human 2.0 software, and it is fallible and best, super prideful at worst. Can we dish about how you think you have all the answers real quick?” To which self says, “Don’t listen to Him, He doesn’t know your truth!” To which the Lord says, “I am the truth, the way and the life.” Mic drop, and self shuts up, confesses that self has been super prideful, and tries to learn about a little thing I am calling Self-Righteousness. Here is what I learned.

First, I am a know it all. I am one of those people who naturally wants to tell you about everything I know. I want to tell you the best face cream. I want to tell you the what works best for parenting. I want to tell you what works best for studying your bible. My “know it all—ness” is the exact thing that causes me to write this blog from the “you need to do this, this and this,” point of view. I then proof read what I wrote and get disgusted with how much of know it all I am and then go back and change all the “you’s” to “I’s.” (I know there is some english term for this like “first person voice” or something but I was agricultural economics major so leave me alone.) Left to my own devices I am at that person that you stop telling your problems to because you get that feeling like I am not really listening to you ever, but actually solving your problem while you are still talking to me. This does not line up with the whole, be slow to speak quick to listen passage in James 1:19. To follow the Lord means you are going to be leaning how to be a good listener. You have to train yourself to listen to the Lord and you have to train yourself to listen to His people. If you are ever talking to me and you see me contort my face or put my hand over my mouth, don’t worry, I am just learning to be a good listener. It’s a work in progress.

Second, I am righteous but I am also self-righteous. I am righteous because I believe in Jesus. He gives me His righteousness so I can be right with God. Righteous=right with God. Check this out in Romans 3:21-22

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

I have righteousness because of Jesus. I am made right with God, or justified before God, by putting my faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only reason that I am ok with God. He had to take on my sin debt, the tally of all the ways I have fallen short of God’s Glory, and be the perfect sacrifice for that debt I could never pay. My Jesus given righteousness is not something I could earn on my own merit but something freely given to me by God. It is also something I desperately needed because there is no life with God unless you are right with God. Holy Moly! Is that a T-shirt or what???

And now enters my self-righteousness. This is the part of me that thinks there is some part of me good enough to make myself right with God. That there is some act, or benevolence, or tally of good things I have done that will allow me to stand before the creator of heaven and earth and go, “You are great, I love all the things you have done here. I see all these holy beings worshipping you, I feel the urge to fall flat on my face and worship you for the rest of eternity, but first let me present these things I have done as a way of making me right with your glorious, holy beautiful being.” I just don’t see that going over well. Self-righteousness says, “Yeah, God told us that no one comes to the father except through Jesus, but I am sure when he sees the good things you have done He will totally forget that He sent HIS ONE AND ONLY SON TO DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH to pay for sin, and applaud your denial of His perfect and holy plan.” Call me a genius, but I am thinking that will not work for us. Self-righteousness says, “You got this! You can do this without having to humble yourself before the Lord.” Self-righteousness says, “You are so right you should tell everyone how to solve their problems and expect them to do what you say because you are so awesome!” The problem is my self-righteousness has never once led me to a place of rest and peace, and my Jesus-righteousness has led me to rest and peace EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Self-righteousness displayed in my life is me getting frustrated when people don’t do what I say. My belief in my goodness, and wisdom, and perfect ability to solve problems leaves me dumbfounded when people don’t do what I say or (clutch your pearls) REJECT what I tell them to do all together. It’s not a conscience declaration of my ability to make myself right with God, but it is an admission of me thinking I am doing pretty dang well for myself. So much so that I have the right to look down on other people and offer my help to solve their problems. You will find this self-righteousness described in the bible in the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee in Luke 18, check it out:

9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

14“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The pharisee stands as an example of self-righteousness. See how he say’s “I fast and I tithe?” This is his admission that he is trusting in his self-righteousness to make him right with God. He also stood aloof and looked down on the tax collector. Self-righteousness will always put others down because you have to be more right than they are in order for you self-righteousness to work.

And now the third thing I learned. Guess who never ever gets frustrated with me for not doing what he says? That’s right, Jesus. He tells me in His word the right way to do things. He has every right to be self-righteous because remember He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the reason for righteousness. He invented right-ness. He is perfect, never wrong. He has never told me to do something that did not end up being good for me. He has never led me astray. One morning when I was confessing during my quiet time with the Lord how frustrated I was, I looked down at the page of all the confessions and realized something. Each one of those confessions was an area where I was not doing what God was asking me to do. Each one was a result of me exercising my self-righteousness before the One who is truly Righteous. And I realized that He did not get frustrated with me in return. I got forgiveness. I got restored peace. I got empowerment to go to the people I was frustrated with and make it right. I got to know God in that sweet way that happens when you are humbled by the perfectness of Jesus.

So my prayer for myself is that my self-righteousness will turn into Jesus-righteousness. I want to be the person that believes the best thing I have to offer you is Jesus, not how to fix things. I want to be the person that listens. I want to be the person that considers what you are sharing and then points you to the Lord. I want to be the mom that hears what you are saying and points you toward the Lord. I also want to be the mom that is not frustrated and making it all about “you didn’t do what I said” when my child does not do what I told them to do. (except with toddlers, I am sorry but first time obedience is a pre-req for the teenage years. We don’t negotiate with terrorist around here.) I am for sure operating on human 2.0 software. And with that I want to remember that I don’t have all the answers but God does. He is the one who knows everything, not me. I want to always remember that being right with God does not give me the right to be self-righteous.

Why does my husband keep looking for houses in the desert?

Two weekends ago at church Doug preached such a profound message. This post started out as “last weekend at church…” and I was going to publish it last week but a funny thing happened. As soon as I started writing about what this post was about I could not stop doing what I was telling myself not to do in this post. Are you still with me? It will make more sense if you keep reading but essentially, I had to get square with the Lord and Jesse otherwise I would have been sending this out as a fraud. So we are all good now, lets move on.

The message TWO weekends ago, struck me to my heart. I’ll give you an overview but I would encourage you to click here to listen to it. (If that link works I am going to be so super proud of myself. If it takes you to something unsavory or questionable forgive me please.) We are learning about our faith by studying Elijah’s faith. Our passage for the weekend was 1 Kings 19:1-9. In this passage Ahab has come back to Jezebel and tells here about what happened on Mount Carmel. Basically he tells her the God just had a major dunk fest on the prophets of Baal and made a huge mockery of them, and killed them all. However Ahab only sees it as Elijah’s handy work so…..check it out:

1 Kings 19: 1-9

1Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.

2Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”

3And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”

5He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.”

6Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.

7The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.”

8So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

9Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”


Point one was that people have the power to hurt your heart. Doug pointed out that Elijah was a great man of faith but his faith was shaken by the fact that Jezebel threatened him. He also pointed out that Elijah’s fear erased from his mind the victory Elijah just had at Mount Carmel. Doug also warned us to be careful of people like Jezebel who use emotion and drama to throw us off base.

Point two was that Elijah’s runaway feelings were a terrible guide for him because they led him to run to the wilderness. Things then go from bad to worse and he is ready for the Lord to kill him. But the Lord does not kill him. No, he shows up and cares for him proving that God will always meet us in our messes that we create—ALWAYS.

Point three was that healing is a journey. God is going to work this out with Elijah and it is going to take some time. Like 40 days and 40 nights of travel through desert. Doug taught us that when we run to the wilderness it will end up leading us to the presence of God every time. That is the whole point of a wilderness.

This is a very quick summation just so we are all on the same page. The part that really got me was point two. That is probably because Doug “hit pause” as he says, crouched down and said, “Ladies, your words are very powerful, you have the ability to send a man with very strong faith running for the wilderness.” Thanks Pastor, got it. I honestly praise God that we have a pastor that will be so dang offensive. I mean I might be alone in this but I want to know these things. As soon as he pointed that out it literally jumped off the page. Jezebel threatens, Elijah runs. Here’s why this was so profound. I HAVE LIVED THIS OUT. Sarah threatens, Jesse runs to the wilderness.

People, I’m gonna be real with you. Somewhere along the way I learned to eviscerate and emasculate men so they bow down and do what I want. I blame 90’s chick rock. Gwen Steffani, Meredith Brooks and the like. I also blame Eve for getting cursed in the garden. I blame Adam for not slapping that fruit out of Eve’s hand. But when I am done blaming what do I do then?

Here is the problem with using my powerful words to get Jesse to do what I want, it leaves me with a husband who would rather run for the wilderness than live with me. Jesse’s favorite proverb is 25:24— It's better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. If he ever gets a tattoo it will probably be this. This is the problem with going to bible school together, you just hurl proverbs at each other. Anyway, the point is: As satisfying as it is to yell and scream, threaten and demean, critique and criticize, I am actually driving him further away. As a woman, what I really want is a husband who is leading, gives a crap about the kids, loves me, pursues me, and is engaged in our life. If I believe the example of this story with Elijah and Jezebel (and I do), then my habit of eviscerate him is actually doing the opposite. So if you catch your husband looking at Relator.com and his search is labeled, “Get thee to thy wilderness,” you might have a problem with your words too.

My awareness of how my words effect Jesse happened while we were at bible school. I was lovingly encouraging Jesse to do his homework and SWP and be happy about it. I was alerting him to the fact that I was doing so much more than him and yet I had all A’s and he did not. I pointed out that he had always had a hard time with school and now was the time to finally overcome that by pulling up his big boy pants and getting to work. I used scripture to prove my point. And do you know what he had the audacity to do? He yelled back at me, “You are the worst encourager I have ever met!” To which I replied, “Oh my gosh honey, you are so right, I am so sorry, you are the greatest husband and provider and I am so lucky to have you, you are my hero.” Do you believe that? Good, because I am not going to disclose what I said because this is my blog and I will do what I want.

I was stung though. I was the worst encourager he had ever met???? Did he know how many people I taught to ride a horse? Did he know how much encouragement that took? I was so confused. Fortunately for me I was in a prime spot for God to teach me. I want to tell you what I learned.

God taught me men do not need woman to tell them how many mistakes they are making. They already know and they are desperate to make sure we don’t find out! They want to be the knight in shining armor that shows up to rescue us. When we critique them its as if we shot their horse right between the eyes and lit them on fire in their armor. God taught me that when he says that he has begun a good work and He is good and faithful to complete it, it means He will and does not actually need me to “Holy Spirit” anyone into submission. I am to be his helpmate. The perfect compliment to his life. Not the thing that makes him run to the wilderness, or roof top or what have you.

So let me ask you this. Do you have the thought: “Sarah, if I don’t tell him what to or how to do it he will literally fail all the time. He will lose his job, he will not help me at all, and we will sink.” That’s crazy! I have never had those thoughts!! Except for every minute of the day. Ok, I’m going to push pause like Doug does and crouch down and say, “Ladies listen to me….THAT IS YOUR PRIDE!” Your husband is a grown ass man. It is time we started treating them like grown ass men. Not only that but God says your husband is your leader. Don’t like that? Take it up with God, He will convince you that He knows what He is doing. God’s job is to grow us into a better representation of Him, so of course He will put us in situations that feel as though they are impossible. Thats how we learn to rely on Him.

Let me be honest with you. As soon as I started writing this post, guess what? All I seemed to be able to do was tell Jesse all the ways he was messing up. It would come out of my mouth and I would be like, “Girl, what the freak are you saying?” He got further and further away. The more sharp my tongue the further he would move away to save himself. I kept coming back to post this and was like, “I can’t send this out, I am a fraud.” Until finally, on Sunday morning I was able to humble myself, gather all the people who live here, and say, “Hey everybody, I have been speaking really disrespectfully to Jesse in front of all of you, and I should not do that. Jesse I am sorry, can you forgive me.” Can I tell you how hard it is to do that in front of a 14 year old young lady, and a 21 year old young lady? I’m totally not being a drama queen but I think chewing off my own arm would have been less painful. It’s all about my pride. I think I have it all worked out, I know I am right, and I know Jesse is not doing things right. Just typing that out shows me how prideful I am. You cannot hold on to that kind of pride and expect your husband to not move up to the attic. He will start searching—”Get thee to thy wilderness!”

So here is my challenge to myself and to you. Try being the one person who tells your husband that he is the best. Say it even if your heart does not believe, your heart will catch up. I remember when I saw the show Fixer Upper for the first time and was so struck by how positively Jo speaks to Chip. I remember the first time I said something like, “You can do it babe, you are so great!” when I really wanted to say, “You are so dumb, why are you doing it that way?” and I got to watch Jesse stand a little taller. Doug is so right. Ladies our words have the power to build up our guys or totally take them down. What do you want to do with your words? I promise you God will not be pleased with you when you get to heaven and say, “Lord you gave me a dumb husband, but don’t worry I overcame that and told him all the ways he was dumb and was not doing things right.” He will be pleased if you respect that fact that He gave you this man on purpose to make YOU more Christ-like. Saying no to your pride and speaking words of life to your husband will create a space for him to grow into the husband you want him to be. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot like I did. Ok, I’ll get down off my soap box now.

The Eye Bra

Here is the thing. I am almost 40. I will be 40 in November. Like, 40….the BIG 4-0…over the hill…it’s all downhill from here….free time is spent checking my retirement fund……40. In the tumult this has caused my psyche there has been certain coping strategies that have arisen to ease the pain of the BIG 4-0. One is slightly more blonde highlights. Two is a renewed devotion to “what the kids are listening to.” And three is fake eyelashes.

Now before you throw stones you Pharisee let me just say I am not going to justify myself to you. You can laugh at me and call me stupid and say fake lashes are dumb and for vain people. I will say: “Yes, you are right and SO WHAT? YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!!!” Until you have lived in my brain, and had to reckon with 40—SHUT UP! (Sorry, I did that for effect, we don’t actually say SHUT UP in this house.) In the end my lashes are perfect every single day and I spend no time primping them. However there is one area of care they require.

Fall allergies?! Yikes, you are the death of me. I am good all year until the leaves start to fall. Then I am sniffling, coughing, sneezing and my eyes itch like crazy. Now the problem is the lashes are great but the number one rule of lashes is “Don’t talk about the lashes!” OOPS! Just kidding thats the number one rule of FIGHT CLUB, not lashes. The number one rule of lashes is that you CANNOT TOUCH THEM AT ALL WITH YOUR HAND! To fluff them you use a bristle wand. If you rub them you are pulling them out and your real lashes. During the day, this is not a problem because I am nothing if not a rule follower! At night however, I have a problem.

I lay down in bed and all bets are off. I have literally gotten out of bed looked in the mirror and was horrified to see one eye with perfect lashes and one BALD EYE!!! How do you even recover from that? During an emergency lash reapplication visit to my Lash Lady we solved the problem. Here you have the Eye Bra……

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25 COLORS TO CHOOSE FROM??? SOLD! Jesse dubbed this the Eye Bra because it looks like a mini bra. Many of you might think this is were the tale of the lashes ends. For sure this has saved my lashes from being ripped out in my sleep. It has also saved my “Grooming” budget because I don’t have to make emergency lash appointments. (Do I have a budget line for grooming? Yes! That is what having a budget allows you to do! You get to decide what to spend money on and stick to it so you don’t run out of money! Dave Ramsey approves this budget line item! Budgets don’t mean you don’t get to spend money on fun stuff!) But this Eye Bra caused a problem in another area of my life. You see I like to fall asleep watching a show on my iPad. Right now my show of choice is Poldark. (Good Lord! Does my choice in TV scream “I am 40!” or what??) Do you see the problem? I can’t see once I put the eye bra on. So, being the inventive chick that I am, I solved the problem. Meet the new and improved Eye Bra….

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Oh yes I did. And you are welcome. Anyone who has seen this has died laughing except for Jesse. He is terrified and says he feels like he is sleeping next to a praying mantis. I cut tiny eye slits so I could see my iPad but small enough that I can’t get a finger in there to rub my eye. I say….NOW THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED. The comic relief it has supplied is just an added bonus. Please enjoy this video.


I am sure you are wondering how I am going to relate all this to the Lord. Well I have been thinking about that too. I have decided to do this one like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style blog. Here are some ways we could take this in light of who the Lord is….

  1. Ecclesiastes 1: 2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. In this adventure we discover that my vanity knows no bound and needs to be checked in light of who the Lord is and what He cares about. I say to this: “Yes this is true, Yes I am aware that I care a lot about how I look.” I also say: “I know you are but what am I?” (and then I stick my tounge out at you.)

  2. 1 Corinthians 15: 40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. In this adventure we watch a woman soldier on despite a decaying body. Our bodies on earth were made to decay and die. But after that death we are raised to life with Christ and our glorified bodies, the ones we have in heaven will serve us for eternity. Never decaying, always lovely…..and mine will have AMAZING lashes. I am picturing like seraphim wings but in lash form. So in reality my lashes just serve as a reminder that life on earth is not the be all and end all, that this body and lashes are meant to decay. Eternity with Jesus is waiting for me!!!

  3. Proverbs 5: 18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. In this adventure we see a wife trying desperately to trick here husband into forgetting that she is almost 40. She gets fake lashes that work to hypnotize him into remembering her 20 something self. Every time she bats her perfect eye lashes he is put under a spell. The spell is broken when he wakes up and realizes he is sleeping next to some sort of super hero/praying mantis. But I digress.


I realize this is ridiculous. You don’t have to text me and say, “You are perfect exactly the way God made you.” I am putting this out there just so you can have a good laugh. You also don’t need to have a lash intervention with me. My BFF’s keep tabs on how long they get and are ready to pull the plug if I ever show up with something like this….(I am sorry for the cuss word. I did try to find a non-cuss version)

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Happy Birthday Laycie, an open letter.

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Dear Laycie,

It is crazy that I have only known you for 12 weeks. I still remember the first time I heard your voice when Jesse opened the front door for you. I remember it so well because I was standing at my kitchen sink, washing dishes, and saw you drive up my driveway for the first time. I was struck with fear that you would be unruly and hard to live with, and I started to pray. I said, “Lord please make me love her even if she is awful because you have put her in our lives and I want to love her well.” And then I heard your voice for the first time and immediately knew I would love you to pieces. You have stolen all the Griffith’s hearts. You are a gift to us, and we thank God everyday that you reached out to Selah Creek, and that He saw fit to put you in our home. To top it all off you aren’t even unruly or hard to live with!! With the exception of the fact that you don’t use a top sheet which I still don’t understand.

This is your birthday blog post. These have become a tradition around here. I will list 21 things I love about you. One thing for every year. Girl, there are so many things to love about you that the hard part is only listing 21! We have lived a lot of life in these 12 weeks. God has knitted us together. It has been my privilege to watch you walk though becoming a mother, navigate drama, and learn to trust the Lord with your heart ache and disappointment. Girl, God is going to use all these things to write a story that will blow you away.

So here you go sweet friend, 21 things I love about you.

1—I love your sense of humor. You are hilarious and make me laugh all the time.

2—I love how teachable you are.

3—I love your singing voice even though I have to start singing along to a song and then drop out so I can hear your voice. Let’s run away and try out for the Voice!

4—I love your style. You are so beautiful all the time!

5—I love how dedicated you are to Kohen.

6—I love your tenacity. I know I have really hurt your feelings because we have had to have really hard conversations but you stick with us. You have grit sister!

7—I love the dreams you have.

8—I love that you share my love of a clean counter top. Bless you sister, it is so nice to have someone living here that actually likes a clean kitchen.

9—I love the fact that you are so incredibly brilliant. You are so smart you can literally do anything you want to.

10—I love that you watch Texas Tech football with us. I suspect that it more out of love of us than an actual love of Tech…..maybe someday that will change. (wink wink)

11—I love that you have met so many new people in the last few weeks and you genuinely want to get to know them all.

12—I love that you are so sweet to my kids. Sydney looks up to you and Brock looks at you like an older sister he’s not sure he really wanted. They are better because they have you in their lives.

13—I love the mother you are. You are doing a really great job.

14—I love that you are starting to see God’s pursuit of you. From sermons, to people he brings to you, to old ladies sitting across from us at Olive Garden… God is pursuing you because He is even more crazy about you than I am.

15—I love how you literally poured yourself out to help me get Sojourn House put together.

16—I love the noise you make when I come in and open your shutters in your room, declaring you need some sunshine. I know I will miss that noise someday. (UUUGGGGGHHHHH! WWHHHYYY???)

17—I love your boldness. I don’t even really know how to describe it. But its this boldness that allows you to see your way though a tough situation and stick to it and move forward despite being scared.

18—I love that you act way older than 21, but you also let me dote on you because you know that mothering is what I live for.

19—I love that you have no idea what the future holds for you right now but you are learning to trust God and you continue to put one foot in front of the other.

20—I love that you get all giddy over wedding photos of your friends. I love that the dream of a man that will love you the way Christ loves the church has not died in you. I love that you want to have that princess moment at your wedding. I pray for this for you everyday.

21—I love that you are part of my life. I actually can’t image life without you. There will never be a day where having you here is not totally worth it. YOU ARE TOTALLY WORTH IT!!

Little Mama you are one of my favorite parts of everyday. I am so thankful you were born. I am so thankful you are turning 21! I am so thankful you reached out to Selah Creek. I am so thankful that at every crossroads you chose to stay here with us. You are doing the hard things, and you are not taking the easy way out. I understand that you are walking an uphill battle. I will never know how hard this is for you. One thing you can be sure of Laycie is that I will always be cheering for you. I will always pray for you. I will always say YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Love you to pieces, have the happiest of birthdays,

Sarah

Dear Hobby Lobby, this is all your fault!

Texas weather might need an intervention. 80 and sunny to 40 and rainy? Sounds like a cry for help to me. I just need to know if we are skipping fall. If we are, I’m fine with that. I just don’t want to haul all the fall stuff out if we are going straight to winter.

You know who is to blame for the messed up seasons? Hobby Lobby. The weather saw you, Hobby Lobby, stocking your dumb shelves in JUNE for Christmas, year after year. I know I walk in and see that and have a heart attack so why would the weather be different? Hobby Lobby you need to learn to be happy in the moment. Stop encouraging us to look ahead. Some of us are not even fully comfortable with it being October much less Christmas time.

I have waited to buy pumpkins because I wanted it to be less than 80. If I don’t they turn into some sort of horrible pumpkin pie on the porch. But now with all this confusion brought about by Hobby Lobby, it feels more like I should just put up the Christmas tree and call it a day. 

They only one around here who is thoroughly excited about the weather is Downton the duck. She thinks this is just about the best time ever. Water, water everywhere full of dying bugs. I should post a cute pic of her playing in the water but it is 40 and raining and I am not going out side. Sorry! The chicken’s are about to put themselves on Craig’s List but in a more dry and warm zip code. “Free to a good home, 11 amazing chickens looking for a warm dry farm. We are free range, go wherever we want, don’t fence us in chickens.” They don’t do rain. They have not actually left the barn today. They look at me like, “Hey dummy, you left the water on.”  

And then there is Jesse. He just keeps mumbling things like, “It has to be over 40 to pour concrete” or “9 days of dry weather, 9 days in a row to pour concrete.” You see, he is managing the building process for our new church building. We are waiting for them to pour the foundation. He just looks outside and says, “Oh look, its still raining!” He then laughs this crazy man laugh and goes about his business. I keep telling him, “God is literally in charge of making it rain, so he must have a plan with all this.” He just looks at me with that look like he wants to say, “I know you are but what am I?” The classic come back in an impossible situation.  

Hobby Lobby may be responsible for this breakdown of the time/space continuum but how do us innocent bystanders live on during this crazy weather change? For me I know the right answer is to live like Downton the duck, with the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. I find however that I am angry with Hobby Lobby for messing up the seasons. (Just incase you don’t know I am joking I am not actually blaming Hobby Lobby for the weather. God IS literally in charge of the weather. I do blame them for putting undo pressure on me to decorate way ahead of time. As we have established I am an over achiever and walk right into that trap every time.) I love how Downton gets up everyday with a spring in her step and makes the best of every situation. Every time I come home in the pouring down rain I see her out there foraging around and hunting bugs in puddles. I think, man I should be like that. But then I find myself literally contemplating how necessary any errands (like getting food for the house) are in real life.

And to bring this all back around to the searing abdominal pain, when I complain about the weather I realize how much I really don’t like not being God. Guess what, in August I could have written a post about how, “The devil is responsible for heat and humidity!” I really wish my circumstances lent themselves to be perfect and pain free. I wish I could get tan without heat and humidity and I wish I could wear my sweaters without actually enduring cold rainy weather. But guess what? I don’t have control of those things anymore than I have control over waiting or tension producing circumstances. They are all situations where I make a choice. 1: I can complain and be like the chickens, trying to relive my suffering. (Suffering? Is that the right word? I don’t think I have ever actually suffered in my life, but you get my point.) Or 2: I can be like Downton and trust that I can still be joyful. In the first situation I tell God, “I would be a better God than you!” In the second I say, “I love you Lord, thank you for growing me into a stronger more mature believer.”

If there is anything I know for sure, even if my actions don’t always prove it, is that God is the best God we could ever hope for. He is the beginning and the end. Our creator and loving Heavenly Father. He delights when we love HIM with all our heart, soul and mind. He is not mean, or petty. He is on a mission to make us more like him and less like wild animals ruled by our desires. He is worth everything you ever have to give up for Him. He is worth it every single time we say no to ourselves and follow Him. He is there to forgive you as soon as you ask for it. He is always there loving you. I even think He laughs with me, jokes with me and His Word says He Rejoices over me.

And so as I look out at this dreary day I am reminded that it is not actually Hobby Lobby that has decided to skip Fall, but the Lord. He knows what He is doing and I can trust Him. Thank your lucky stars reader that I am not God because you want to talk about crazy weather? That would be just the beginning if I was in charge. And you know what, God knows what He is doing. And I will try to trust Him.

Tension/waiting causes me searing abdominal pain.

Lots of changes to the Sarah Griffith Blog! We will have an official launch soon, but for now I could not wait to write about the searing abdominal pain!

This is probably shocking to you but I don’t deal with tension or waiting very well. I mean usually I am so even keeled and gentle. (Can I get an amen?!?!) In the last two weeks however we have been dealing with tension and waiting around here and it made me realize that walking in those two things is not good for my digestion. On the plus side I have not been able to eat a whole lot so it has really helped with my weight loss. This weekend at church Doug talked about how we have to learn to trust God. He told us God puts us in situations so that we get to learn to trust Him. I am really feeling that right now.

Unfortunately, I can’t give you the details because it’s not my story to tell. So I will talk in generalities. Not to be secretive but to allow God to work these things out without me putting it on blast to everyone. (Do the young people still say “on blast?” Did they ever say “on blast?” I’m saying “on blast” I don’t care) Anywho, the point is we as a family are immersed in waiting and tension around here and it is very hard to deal with. I asked myself this morning if I was allowing these circumstances to teach me to trust God or if I was handling them in my own understanding. The presence of searing abdominal pain is a sign that I might be relying on myself. Just a guess.

But this is where I find out who God really is. I get to see His character revealed and I get to line my character up to it. I realize how much I need to discipline myself to trust God and not try to solve my own problems with my own thinking. My dean in bible school use to say that you have to stop “chewing the dog bone.” Meaning I am prone to get a thought in my head and chew it and chew it and chew it until it is disgusting. But God, is waiting right there for me to turn the thoughts over to him. God is holding out his hand say, “I love you, you can trust me.” Instead of chewing I start saying to myself…..

Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;

Isaiah 41: 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

And I start saying NO to myself when I want to call someone and complain about my circumstances. I want to call someone because It feels good to have someone commiserate with me. But all I am doing is chewing that bone and spreading my tension around to other people. I will confess that so many times in the last week I picked up my phone to call Kelly and say, “Oh my gosh you are not going to believe what is going on.” Or to call Ashley to say, “Can you believe how bad this is, can you believe we are having to deal with this?” And what was the result? More angry feelings, more fear, more chaos, more abdominal pain. And I drug Ashley and Kelly into that too. On the flip side of that when I take that to the Lord instead and say, “Lord I am not happy with the waiting and this tension and this gastric upset but I know you are still good, forgive me for not trusting you,” my peace is restored. I learn to say no to my flesh that wants to get all up in arms. And I stay right with God, because yes my friends, chewing the bone, calling other people to complain, all of that is proof of not trusting the Lord, also know as SIN!

The truth bubbles up to the surface. God is not doing this to annoy me or to give me more contemplative time in my bathroom. He is doing it to say, “Hey sister, you are not fully trusting me with this situation.” He wants me to learn about how much He loves me and how He is working these things out for my good. He wants me to trust that He loves Laycie and Kohen and desires to keep them safe more than I can ever comprehend. He wants me to know that HE IS GOD. Not me. He wants me to trust that when I am experiencing searing abdominal pain it is likely that I have forgotten who is actually God.

In closing, God is writing a very cool story here in our house. The middlemarch is glorious right now and full of miraculous things. I cannot wait for you to here the story someday from the young woman who is walking it out right now. I have tears in my eyes as I think about all the ways God has shown up to show her He is everything she will ever need. I love you Lord, thank you for letting me be a small part of this story.

Introducing: Sojourn House!

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This is one of those exciting weeks when something that was born in our minds years ago is coming to fruition.  Let me tell you the story.

A few years ago, after having been saved by Jesus, Jesse and I packed up our life and went to Bible School at Ethnos 360 (Nee: New Tribes Bible Institute).  We were no longer content with not know what the bible said about who God was and what we were supposed to do with new Christian life.  Off we went.

At Ethnos we were exposed to what it would look like to be an oversea’s missionary.  They would bring missionaries who were serving with Ethnos in to tell us about what their lives were like in the villages they were serving in.  Without going into all the nitty-gritty lets just say it is hard to carve out life amongst non american, non believing, non english speaking people who don’t really understand why you white people have come into their town.  Don’t for a second belive the people who say, “Oh, just leave those peaceful tribal people alone, they are up there singing Kumbaya, living off the land, untouched by greed or envy.”  WRONGO!!!  They are broken people just like us in need of the security that you get from knowing who God is and that He loves you so much He sent His son to earth to pay for your sin so that you could have a relationship with Him forever.  If I am being totally honest what these missionaries have to deal with makes this germ-a-phob, order loving, Target shopping loving, clean freak want to head for the hills saying, “Jesus, who?  I do not know the name you speak of?”

But we as believers can’t do that, can we?  We are all given the commission to go and make disciples of all the world.  We see that God loves the world and we are His chosen ambassadors.  The work that these missionaries are doing deep in the jungles, the villages, the cities where no one knows the name of Jesus is the most important part of this Christian life we live.  In fact it is the last command given to us by Jesus.  This weekend at Church Doug said that our mission field is brokenness.  Friends, there is not truer statement of fact.  Brokenness is all around us here in Texas and reaches to the ends of the earth.  We all have brokenness in us wherever we happen to live.  We are all here to tell people Jesus is the answer for brokenness.  We are all missionaries.  My mission field happens to be inside my house with the people who live here and act very tribal sometimes.  My mission field is the lacrosse field, the elementary school, the high school and all the stops I make in between–I’m looking at you Sonic workers!

Since I know where my mission field is, what then is my part in this great commission to people who have never heard overseas?  Well friends that is where Sojourn House comes in.  Did you hear that smacking sound?  That was my father in law reading this post and realizing that yet again I have turned a business venture into something that falls under the “charity” category and not the “gain” catagory.  What can I say Curtis?  I have never made any money on any business deal so if you are surprised it really is your own fault I think.  (See years of Horse Business documentation for further proof)  Jesse and I set out to buy a house that we could turn into a missionary retreat/VRBO/Guest House. Overseas Missionary’s have to come home every once in a while to raise support, rest and be filled up.  Otherwise they cannot keep doing what they are doing and someone else will have to go–gulp!  So really this is just a selfish endeavor to keep them on the mission field and me off of it.

This idea was hatched when we would come home from the BI on vacations.  Having sold our house and all our stuff we had to stay with family and friends.  When in the Dallas area we would stay with our friends the Stewart’s.  Now to be perfectly clear there was no more fun time then when the Griffith’s took over the Stewart’s living room, lovingly renamed the “Second Master.”  So much love and life took place there.  With only one draw back.  The Stewart’s keep their thermostat….in Texas……in the summer…..with 9 people living there at 80 degree’s.  Now in a perfect world the Griffith’s would keep a thermostat humming right around 68-70.  I am for sure not trying to implicate anyone but somehow the thermostat would get turned down to a balmy 75 or so, only to be turned up when ever Cheryl walked by and exclaimed, “No wonder I am so cold!”  And in our sweaty discussions at night about how insane people must be to possess refrigerated air and not use it to the best of it’s ability, the thought of  Sojourn House was born.  A place where people are free to set the thermostat wherever they want it.

We started praying, started saving and told Jeff Stewart, of the aforementioned house that is 80 degrees all the time, to keep his Realtor eyes open for a house.  And this summer we finally found one.  It has been so fun putting it together.  I also have to give a huge shout out to Laycie because I enlisted her help and she really stepped up to the plate.  I got to spend time getting to know the little mama who lives with us.  I got to see her work hard putting a house together for people she didn’t even know.  I realized she has a very sweet heart and a very good sense of style!  Plus all the time with Kohen.  There is no more perfect baby in the world, but before I go into another 900 words about him let me wrap this up.

Sojourn House is up and running.  I have prayed while I was there making beds, washing and preparing things that it would be a place of rest for the traveler.  (That is what Sojourn means, traveler.)  All over scripture God says that we glorify Him when we care for His workers.  We are all travelers, moving through this world, ready to go to our real home, that is in heaven with our Father.  Now, I better wrap this up before I break into a Carrie Underwood song……

Living Room

  Kitchen

Kitchen

  Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

  Guest Bedroom

Guest Bedroom

  Bunkroom

Bunkroom

  Laycie’s Handiwork!

Laycie’s Handiwork!

  Backyard and that shed has my name on it for a writing studio.

Backyard and that shed has my name on it for a writing studio.

Middlemarch

Hey listen, I am never one to brag about how great I am (I am exactly the kind to brag about how great I am), but I read a book that has 80 chapters.  This is no small thing since the first book that I actually read for real was Harry Potter.  Books prior to that were skimmed for book report purposes.  So this 80 chapter monster is titled, “Middlemarch.”  The best way to describe this book is that it is a study of provincial life.  That is just a fancy way to say a study of ordinary life.  This topic of an ordinary life has surfaced for me because God is teaching me that in this ordinary life of mine is where the miraculous is happening.  As I stopped telling God to give me a super sexy famous christian life, He started showing me that the “Middlemarch” is where the cool Jesus freaks are.

So what do I mean by Middlemarch?  It has taken me two years to flesh that out.  I could write 10,000 words on all the appointments with Dana (my counselor), books, podcasts, and time in the bible that got me thinking this way.  (Just a few, “The Glorious in the Mundane Podcast, by Christy Nockles, specifically Season 1,  Unseen by Sara Hagerty, the Book of Ruth, and the Book of Galatians.)  Dana was actually the one who pointed me to Middlemarch.  She said, “What you are doing is your Middlemarch,” and told me about the book.  So essentially for me it is letting go of this idea that in order to matter to God I have to be out there effecting His kingdom in some super visual miraculous way.  It is letting go of making sure people see me doing God’s work.  It is letting go of getting praise from other people for what I am doing.  It is learning that God sees me.  God’s only design for me is that I will glorify Him with my life.  It is stopping myself from doing all the things for God, and making myself yield to God and what He puts before me even if I don’t really want it.  It is 1 million choices everyday that honor God, and 1 million denials of my flesh everyday.  Everyday. Everyday.  That is my Middlemarch, my study of ordinary life, that is actually extraordinary.

Here is whats start to surface in this Middlemarch of mine.  I see God working in my life and fruit of the Spirit starting to surface.  I see that in situations where the norm is for me to get angry, stressed and yell, I don’t.  I see the norm shift to peace and love.  I see a husband who never really wanted a lot of responsibility, choose to step into a roll that requires a lot of responsibility.  I see that husband learn to rely on God and trust Him, where before he would try to escape.  I see a young woman who has made choices that don’t honor God, start to make choices that do honor God.  I see a young woman who was afraid to make those choices start to have moments of the greatest bravery I may have ever seen in my life.  I see a young man afraid to make friends, trust God and put himself out there and join a Dungeons and Dragon group. (You may think this has other complications but lets just stick to the making friends part of this.)  I see a High School freshman make tough choices to be able to walk out her faith in High School even though it means that she might not be doing all the things the popular kids are doing.  The more I learn of God the more I think these are the things that He will high 5 us for.

This Middlemarch life flies in the face of everything my flesh says.  My flesh says, “God is only impressed with people who are really out there suffering for the Lord.”  My flesh says, “God is only in the super flashy miracles.”  My flesh says, “What are you going to have to show for your life if all you do is laundry and cook dinner and raise some kids and stay married.”  But God, He says in His word that the day in and day out honoring of Him is where it’s at.  In the life of the disciples I see this, just following Jesus day in and day out.  Allowing Him to teach them, encouraging each other, messing up, and being restored.  I see this in the churches that Paul writes to after Christ’s death.  The heart stopping, in your face miracles had ceased.  Paul was encouraging them to live the life that honors God day in and day out.  How many moms went to the temple to hear the reading of Paul’s letter; having just cleaned up after a meal, told kids to get their sandals on because they were going to the temple come hell or high water, shooed the goats back out to the pasture; and then were encouraged by the words of Paul to keep on living for Christ no matter what, and to be transformed!  So many woman whose day in and day out life actually made a huge impact on the kingdom, because they were just doing the Middlemarch.  This is a life changing shift in thinking for me, a miracle as it were.  I am so thankful to the Lord for freeing me up to see and giving me a front row seat to watch the miracles happening in my Middlemarch.

I Specifically Told You Not to Have the Baby While I Was at My Family Reunion

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People just don’t listen when I tell them things.  The night we landed, got settled and went to bed in Michigan I got the call letting me know that sweet Laycie was being induced due to preeclampsia and baby Kohen was on the way, eventhough the last thing I said to her before we went to the airport was, “Do not have that baby while I am gone!” Can I tell what it does to a total control freak to know all of this is going on outside my reach?  Did I check to see if there were any flights home asap? YES!  Did I weigh how mad my family would be if I was a no-show? YES! In the end I couldn’t leave and baby Kohen came into the world without my being there, shocking I know.

Before I tell you how perfect Kohen is, let me give you some highlights from my trip to Michigan.  I got to see my dean from bible school.  I pray you have someone like her in your life.  We spent a fast and furious 18 hours together.  We talked about what had gone on in the last year.  We talked about what we learned about the Lord in the last year.  We talked about the future and what we hoped for.  Sometimes God knits people together because He knows they need each other and I felt that so keenly during my time with Lisa.  As my kids say, “I want to be Lisa Hatton when I grow up, I just love her!”  No truer statement has ever been said.  I love you to pieces.  Thank you for being you and allowing me to me with you.  And yes, I’d love a cup of coffee with you.  We also got to run over to Ethnos 360 BI to see our old stomping ground.  It was so fun to say a quick hello to some of our professors, deans and some dear friends.

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From there the kids and I went up to Grand Rapids where we got to celebrate my Grandpa’s 85th SURPRISE birthday with the entire Berridge side of the family, save for one cousin who is stationed in England.  That is sad because he is my grandparents favorite grandchild.  But they made do with the rest of us.  Listen, we are not mad, we have all made peace with the fact that Mark is the favorite.  We are all fine.  Really we are.  We had a great time at the party.  My dad and Aunt Teri sang tunes that were my grandpa’s favorite.  My dad, my mom, aunt Teri and our friend Doug are now known as the “Reunion Band.”  I love to see my dad sing. You can just see that he loves it.  It was really cool to see. Plus they sang “You are my Sunshine,”  which is the song my grandma always sang to me, and her and I sat and sang it together.  You have no idea how glad I was to surprise them with our visit because I am pretty sure she wrote me off since we didn’t visit this summer.  I could not tell her that we were coming to surprise them obviously, so I had to live through 5 months of comments like, “Well I hope I live long enough to see those kids of yours again someday.”  Ouch, Yes you will Grandma, and we took you to Olga’s for lunch so now we are all square.

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The day after the Birthday party we had “Berridge Day.”  What is that you may ask?  Well is was a day that included The Kid Olympics, bowling, and a Wine Tasting Contest.  It was so much fun unless you talked during the Kid Olympics game explanation, then you got on the wrong side of Aunt Teri.  As I watched Aunt Teri carry out the Kid Olympics I was warmed in my heart because I thought, “Oh, I am just like her.  I come from a powerful long line of managing organizer Type A personalities.  We will keep this family together.”  The fact that we have pictures at all from the party or Berridge day is all down to Aunt Teri’s planning.  Hats off to you Aunt Teri, you had to do a lot of wrangling but the weekend was a success.  The best part was getting to taste wine and talk to my cousins, many of whom I have not seen in years, and holding all the babies.  Everyone had a baby but me because mine was being born in Texas.


Oh, baby Kohen.  I don’t even have the words.  What a blessing he has been to us.  Laycie has blown us away with how she has handled motherhood.  I have to say, no part of this has been what I would call “easy” for her.  She has had to navigate lots of drama, disappointment, scary things like your baby being in the NICU, leaving the hospital without your baby, going back to the hospital to bond with your baby, and through it all she just keeps going forward.  He’s almost a week old and they are finally settled in here at the house together and we could not be more excited for them to land here.  And let’s be honest, God knew what He was doing keeping me 1700 miles away.  I would have been a total wreck with worry about Laycie and the baby if I was here and having to live through all of that in real-time.  It was bad enough having to call Ashley 47 times an hour asking, “What is happening now?”  The first picture is Ashley and Jesse bringing the carseat up to the hospital…..guess who is absent from that picture? (me) The second is Ashley holding Kohen’s hand in the NICU sent to me with caption….”He said I am already his favorite.”  NOPE!


Baby Kohen has all the Griffith’s at his beck and call.  He squeaks we all say, “AWWW!”  He cries and we all rush to his side.  Sydney has begged me to stay home from school so she can soak him up.  Brock is mildly amused by him, but honestly a little scared of how tiny he is.  Jesse is talking in baby voices and cooing all the time.  He looks for reasons to “work from home.” And me?  Oh, I’m fine.  I am totally cool, totally nonplussed.  I can take him or leave him.  And if you believe that I have some ocean front property in Arizona I will sell you.  There is no end to my joy of having this baby here.  Yeah, I have returned no phone calls,  I have something like 300 emails to get to, I don’t care.  Right now he is sitting right next to me because he kept his mama up all night and we thought she should go nap and leave us alone.  So thankful to have a baby in this house again.  As baby’s go, this one is PERFECT!

We Were Fine Until I Had to Move My Stuff...

The big news around here is that the Griffith’s have a new roommate.  Meet Laycie.

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She reached out to my friend Ashley’s ministry, Selah Creek, because she needed a place to stay.  Ashley send out the call for help.  In a way that only God does things, after I saw Ashley’s post about it, the thought of Laycie moving in here would not leave me or Jesse alone.  One day Jesse just said, “Sarah, I think she needs to move in here.” I agreed.  To be honest the part that really took a hold of my heart is that Laycie is going to have a baby.  I love the thought of having a baby in the house again because if you know me at all you know how I love babies!  Sydney and Brock also love babies so when we told them that Laycie might move in, they were so excited.

We arranged to all meet so we could see if this would work.  I mean I can’t imagine someone not being in love with how I run my house or how I cook or how I do life, but stranger things have happened.  (Just for context think of the term “bossy pants”)  I was also worried that I would meet Laycie and it would all be wrong.  Let us not forget that I lived in a building for two years with a bunch of 20 year olds.  I knew what I was potentially getting myself into, and all the bad stuff that sometimes accompanies 20 year olds.

But then we met her.  Oh my gosh, not to be weird but I fell in love with her.  Standing before me was this bright young woman who just wanted to do right by her sweet baby.  She was willing to do what we asked her to do and gushed over how excited she was that the baby would have his own space.  I was just so blown away at how she faced what was before her, moving in with complete strangers, with a positve outlook.  She was open and honest when we asked questions.  Her confidence is impressive and you get the feeling that no matter what comes her way she is going to work it out.  She has a smile that is infectious.  You just want to love on her.  Plus she is bringing a baby into the world that will live at my house.  I can think of no one I like more right now.  To quote Jesse, “We were unsure of saying yes to having her move in until we met her, then it was a no brainer.  She is supposed to be here with us.”

The kids are doing great with it too.  You can see Sydney look at Laycie with that sweet look of awe.  Like she realizes, “Oh girl, you have gone before me into the halls of high school, share your knowledge of how to survive.”  And Syd and I have a thing for babies, so that won her over.  Other than the fact that Laycie does not share Brock’s affinity for Cinnamon Toaster Strudel, he is totally cool with her too.  Laycie brought Cinnamon Roll Dessert Pizza home a few days ago there by cementing their devotion to her because their mother would never get that for them.

Allow me to back up a bit, to before she moved in.  We were all so excited and everyone was helping to make preparations.  I got right to work.  This is where I can let my Type A, organized, label making, energized self free to run.  And I was fine, really I was.  I sorted and moved and cleaned out the stuff the was in the two rooms we were giving to Laycie.  I was even fine when the army of helpers came to move furniture from one place to another.  However, when it was all said and done and I walked into my bedroom–which was the place I decided to store all the stuff I moved out of the two bedrooms–I nearly fainted.  There was so much crap to orgainzed and get rid of and move to new locations.  I’m not sure if I have made it clear on this blog that I LIKE A CLEAN AND ORGAINZED HOUSE.  So it was all fun and games until I actually had to make room for Laycie and the baby to move in.

I see God at work here.  I hope you do too.  It is so easy to say YES when God puts something on my heart.  It makes so much sense to say YES and make people happy and feel like I am doing something good.  The learning comes when my YES actually costs me something and I have to make room for my YES.  When I actually have to say no to myself so I can follow through on my YES, I see just exactly how my flesh does not want to have any restrictions or denials.  I am so keenly aware of the struggle Paul talks about in Romans.  He says, (I’ll paraphrase), “I want to do what is right but as soon as I want do right, my flesh talks me out of it.”  I can feel that.  I am so glad to report that I fought that battle and won.  My room is back to normal and all it took was some “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” to keep me laughing through it all.

And another thing, as my grandpa would say, I have learned about making room for people that God brings you to love.  You have to make room physically, but also mentally and spiritually.  Just like God made room for us to be his adopted children sharing Christ’s inheiratance,  I have to make room to love His people.  So this ties into the “Oh hell no,”  post from last week.  I have had to say no to things so I can make room to love Laycie.  I had to clear out my junk so she had space to make herself at home here and I had to clear out time so I can be here for her if she needs me.  And I may have already made her promise that I get some baby time.  If I had said yes to all the things that come my way I would not have time for my family let alone a new person living with us.

No doubt that more blog post will come out of our new adventure.  I can’t wait to hold the baby.  I love watching Laycie set up his room.  Gosh, as a mama it takes you right back to when you were going to be a mom for the first time.   I remember not feeling ready to have the baby until the nursery was set up.  We would covet your prayers for our new journey.  No doubt we will get on each others nerves, and have to wade through conflict (my favorite! said me never!).

Even with all that, these lyrics come to mind:

And through it all, through it all, My eyes are on You, And through it all, through it all, It is well, And through it all, through it all, My eyes are on You, And it is well with me.

He started this journey, and made it all happen and He will walk us through this.  It is well.

Oh Hell No!

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My best friend Kelly, made this for me.  It is sitting right by my kitchen sink so I will see it all the time.  I love it so much because the contrast between the pretty cross stitch and the saying is hilarious to me.  I am sorry if you think that Hell is cuss word but if you have been around me for any length of time you know that I have an affinity to pepper my speech with questionable words.  The fact of the matter is that my best friend made this for me because she knows that I am about to enter the ring for the fight of my life, again, and this is my catch phrase.

Friends, summer is all but over and the school year is about to begin.  The driving, the scheduling, the making of lunches, the signing of papers, the pep talks, the exhortations to look for the Lord even in the halls of high school.  The late night: “Hey mom, I need a (fill in the blank) for school tomorrow or the world will end, and Hey mom where is my (fill in the blank) I can’t leave without it!” The: “I need to go here and do this thing or my life as I know it will end!”  All of this is all about to commence.  Those are just the requests from my off spring, don’t even get me started on the things from the school, and PTA, and boosters.  This is the fight of my life y’all.

There is this voice inside of me that only knows one word….MORE.  It is the voice that says:

DO more

BE more

GET more

HAVE more

BE SEEN more

BE more POPULAR

GET YOUR KIDS IN more THINGS

MAKE YOUR KIDS more

STRIVE more

 

Or my other favorite voice….You are not enough!  It is the voice that says:

If you don’t do this you are not enough.

If you don’t have that you are not enough.

If you aren’t part of that you are not enough.

If you don’t say yes to that you are not enough.

 

The “more” voice and the “you are not enough” voice bully me all the time.  They try to talk me into being busy and hurried.  They try to talk me into feeling like I am not enough and that I am not doing enough.  They key into Facebook and whisper to me, “Look at them, they are doing all the things so much better and MORE perfect than you are.” They convince me that I am not doing all that I can for my family and for my friends.  They say, “You are worthless unless you are in all the things, at all the things, and doing all the things.”  They say if my life looks different from someone else’s that I am in the wrong, and I need to change.  They say that if I am not moving, I am lazy.  They say if I am not perfect, I am not loved and adored.  And guess what, those voices are LIARS and to them I say:

OH HELL NO!!!!

I have spent too much of my life imprisoned to these voices.  My flesh and satan would love to see me trapped there, but I AM FREE!!  It is the fight of my life to STAY FREE!!  So I must have this phrase at the ready.  I have to be brave and use my phrase when those voices start to bully me.  I have to stay in step with Jesus because that is where freedom resides.

So I see someone’s post on Facebook exclaiming that their kid is killing it at life because they made this team, or that club or whatever.  The more voice goes off, “Crap!  You better haul Sydney out of bed and get her signed up for (fill in the blank) because if you don’t she will end up being just a regular doctor and not a super powered doctor lawyer evangelizing missionary to orphaned children living in an unreached people group in a region of the world she discovered because Sydney should also be an explorer searching for unreached people.   Or the not enough voice goes off, “You the worst mother ever, Brock has done nothing but watch YouTube video’s about ants and Fortnight all summer, you have not challenged him in any STEM activities, or memorized bible verses, or taught him Spanish.”  And God help me if I see a post on Facebook about a weightloss story or some new way to fight wrinkles, that could put me in the bed for days!  I use to end up trapped in feeling like I needed to do more or that I am not enough.  That thought process lived out ended in me screaming at the kids to do more or be more and them feeling like they weren’t enough, and the cycle would start all over again in my kids.  In those feelings of not enough, depression sets in, and then hopelessness and then I would be lost.  NOT ANYMORE!

Now I say, OH HELL NO when those voices pop up.  I am free to congratulate other people on their successful lives without putting my life down.  I am able to see what makes my kids come alive and focus on that.  I am able to proclaim that we are enough just as we are not because of what we do but because we are loved by God.  And with God as my coach I am able to break the cycle of needing to do more and not feeling like I am enough.  With God’s Word I can focus on what is important to HIM and not what is important to the world.  What is important to God will always bring freedom, not feelings of needing to do more.  It is the fight of my life to stay free from those voices that want to tell me to do MORE or that I am NOT ENOUGH, but freedom is worth the fight!!  So I say, OH HELL NO!

FAME! I wanna live forever!!

Do you remember the song "Fame?"  The lyrics go like this.....

I feel it comin' together
People will see me and cry, fame
I'm gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame, fame
I'm gonna live forever
Baby, remember my name
Remember, remember, remember, remember
Remember, remember, remember, remember

Irene Cara spoke to baby Sarah's heart in the 80's.  Fame and the also popular theme song to Flashdance, "What a feeling!" were theme songs to my life.  Title tracks, that lead me to create plays, performances and sing for anyone that would sit still long enough to watch me.  Being in front of a crowd was the best thing in the world to baby Sarah.  I wanted to light up the sky like a flame!

To change gears a bit, did you ever have God teach you something that you did not want to admit to people because it made you look really foolish and bad? No, just me?  It does not help that one of my spiritual gifts is messing up so bad that it cannot be ignored or swept under the rug.  What can I say, I am larger than life, I wanna light up the sky like a flame!  Also it is embarrassing to admit but I seem to be the last to know about my screw ups.  Like, every one saw it coming but me.  It's just a shot in the dark here but maybe that is because I am too busy worrying about people remembering my name?  So join me on this tale of woe, as I explain to you what God taught me about fame.

God is smart.  He knew that He had to get me interested in church enough to keep me coming back so eventually I would hear the gospel and be saved.  I am super glad He woo's each of us in the exact perfect way to get our attention.  Mine was seeing the worship team at church for the first time.  I never knew God was ok with bands, this was a revelation!  My friend Autumn invited me to church and was on the worship team.  I remember distinctly baby Sarah standing up and shouting inside me, "Fame!  I wanna live forever!"  when I saw the microphones, instruments and band members.  A thought was born in my mind, "I wonder if they would let me sing?"  I wasn't even a believer yet!  But that thought took hold.  I did keep going to church and did eventually get saved a month later.  It saved my life, literally.

I did join the worship team.  Baby Christian Sarah was on fire for the Lord.  I wanted to be in everything to do with God.  I wanted more and more of Him.  Baby Christian Sarah and Baby Fame Sarah joined hands and skipped all the way to the first worship set I got to lead.  It was the best thing in the world.  I found something that really gave me life in a time when things were falling apart. (See blog post on marriage)  However, something started to happen inside of me.  Baby Christian Sarah loved singing praises to the Lord no matter what.  Baby Fame Sarah wanted more of the spotlight for herself, and the war between the new Sarah and the old Sarah was started.

If I have duped you into believing I am a perfect christian please read no further because you opinion of me will be dashed.  The point of this blog is to be a real Christian trying to follow Christ and to record what He is doing in my life. This lesson changed the trajectory of my life, so this was a big thing for me.

Here's what started to happen.  I would lead worship, and when the set was over I expected people to say did a great job.  If they didn't I was wounded.  The schedule would come out and I would be angry that I was only leading once a month.  How could people remember my name if they only saw me once a month?  I would be jealous of other female singers if I thought they were better than me.  I would be angry with the worship pastor for not letting me lead a song.  I would ask my husband if he could hear me to be sure that my microphone was turned up enough.  I would move heaven and earth and put my family aside to say yes to a worship gig.  Basically, I had to be up there, I had to be heard, I had to have the spotlight.

Here is where the conflict happens.  Do you see that list above.  It can be broken down to  these simple fruits of the flesh:

Galatians 5: 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

I have underlined for you the ones that I was fostering while I was trying to lead worship.  Time after time I would stand up to lead God's people in praises to Him and all the while I would be sowing fruit of the flesh.  For sure God still used my worship because He is so big that He can use this wretch to reach other people no matter where my heart is.  The struggle became bigger and bigger the more I learned what the fruit of the Spirit are. (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) I was convicted by the Spirit that I was sowing to my own flesh.  I could see that I was causing dissention on the team.  I could see that I was hurting our worship pastor (who happens also to be my best friends husband, there by hurting that relationship too.)  I didn't know what to do or how to stop, and I had been leading worship for so long I felt like I could not tell people that I was struggling in these ways.

I even went to a convention with Beth Moore and Christy Nockles and submitted a question because no body knew me there.  I asked Christy, "If you struggle with not being put on the schedule, not leading songs, and submitting to the worship leader should you still lead worship or should you step down?"  There were 900 questions submitted and out of all of them she pick MINE!  FAME!  I'm gonna live forever!  Just kidding!  But seriously she did pick mine so don't ever tell me God is not pursing me and trying to teach me.  Her answer was amazing.  She said, "We have all struggled with being the background singer.  I have been in places where I did not lead songs and was just the background vocals.  The problem comes with the motive. If you are leading worship to lead God's people into God's presence, you are fine.  If you are leading them to lead them into your presence then you will continue to struggle.  If you can't get your flesh under control it would be healthier to step back for a bit."  My heart sank when I heard those words.  I think somewhere inside I knew that was what was coming but I was stuck in the "I lead worship, that is who I am," mentality.  What would happen to me if i didn't lead worship.  Who would see baby Sarah performing????? Oh right!  You would God.

I wish my tale ended with me coming home from that conference and stepping down to allow time for spiritual growth.  But no, alas my gifting includes screwing up so big that everyone knows about it.  We are coming up on a year since my, uh, "breakdown?"  (See "I can't get around writing about this blog post.")  I tried to lead worship a few more months after the conference.  I buckled down and demanded my mind and heart to produce fruit of the Spirit.  The problem with that is I can't produce that fruit.  I can only produce the other fruit of the flesh.  I needed time to work with God and to be transformed, but I was scared to death to let go of worship because it felt like who I was.  But in a small moment of bravery, I was able to muster the trust in my Good Good Father required to take the leap necessary to step down.  If I am being totally honest the conversation with my worship leader was more of a "you can't fire me I quit" kind of moment but who is keeping score?  Certainly not me, that is not a fruit of the Spirit.

And so there I was, not a worship leader anymore.  The good news is I had so much emotional stuff to deal with at that time I didn't notice not having it on my schedule.  Until I showed up and church and was not on stage.  It was humbling.  It was hard.  It was humiliating.  I dreaded the, "how come you are not leading worship?" conversations.  Mercifully, God arranged for me to have to have an ovary out at the same time so that was an easy answer.  He is kind that way. (HaHa) And so the journey began of me not leading worship.

I feel like after a tale like that I should switch fonts so you know how much God has changed my heart.  I don't feel up to the task to adequately explain the sifting that has occurred.  Let me say it this way:  stepping down from worship is the best thing I ever did.  Here's why.....

I learned that what baby Sarah needed to know is that she is seen by the Almighty God and that being seen by Him fills up that need to be famous.  That my "non-lighting up the sky life" is the exact plan he has for me right now.  And that is right where I need to be.

I learned that when you are involved in something and you cause dissension, you stifle the growth of that ministry.   It has been humbling but also the greatest gift to see the worship team at my church grow into a healthy vibrant team full of all different talents and voices and styles.  I literally gush over them I love them so much.  I went from a worship leader to the biggest groupie, only because of God leading me.  For sure I still struggle with not being "on the team."  It feels like I got left behind sometimes, but that is just to old self wondering if I am being left out.  I am trying not to believe that lie.  It's a process.

I also learned that if you are involved in something and it causes dissension in your home, you have to let that go because God is more interested in your home being unified than any ministry opportunity you might have.

I learned that relationships are more important than any worship gig or ministry.  I am thankful for God's reconciliation of the relationships I almost lost because of my pursuit of FAME.  These are the people I do life with, I laugh with and I cry with. They are more important to me than everyone remembering my name.

I learned that I could write a blog, as it were.  When I cleared out the mental space to sit with the Lord and let Him guide me instead of pursing FAME, I was directed to start writing stuff down.  First, for myself, then for my family and friends and then for this blog.  Who knew I could write something worth reading?  Certainly not me, but I can say it is the most fun and creative part of my day right now.   I had to take that leap of faith first, I had to trust Him.  Do I struggle with the thought that "maybe I will become famous because of this blog!"  No, of course not ever, that thought never enters my mind...and everyone laughed and laughed.  Of course it does!  I have to constantly fight against the lie that I have to be famous, and remind myself that I have one job and that is to make JESUS FAMOUS.

I learned that God is going to keep putting up in front of people and ask me to serve Him and not them.  Meaning just stepping down from worship does not fix the sin nature inside of me.  He keeps bringing me opportunities where baby Sarah could easily dust off her dress up clothes, make a stage and demand a captive audience.  I still harbor plans to run off and try out for the VOICE.  That need to be seen by people rears its ugly head, but each time I confess it, He reminds me that He sees me and that is what matters.  He has a job for me to do, it is making HIM FAMOUS, not me.

These lessons seem so obvious when I write them down.  Like, duh, of course you wanted to be famous and saw the worship team as your ticket to fame and stardom.  When you are in it though, and when you are afraid to let go because you are scared of what is next, well, there is where you meet with Jesus.  He says to your heart,  "Let go, I am enough, I will get you through it."  On this side of the sifting I am sad that it took me so long to trust Him, only because I am so free now.  I spent so much time in bondage to fear.  So fellow sojourner, whoever you are, read this and be convinced to take that leap of faith so that the fruit you produce is of the Spirit and brings you freedom!

 

Sydney, You Are the Coolest 14 Year Old I Know.

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Dear Sydney,

How are you 14 years old today?  It really is shocking at how fast time goes by us.  I can still remember the way it felt when you fell asleep on my shoulder when you were a baby.  I can remember vividly the fist time you ate a chicken taco, and the joy that washed over your face when you realized there was something beyond baby food.  I remember how you walked into pre-school like you owned the place, threw a passing glance over your shoulder at me and started to play.  I also remember the deepest, fiercest love bubble out of my heart when I saw your face for the first time.

For sure you have had to ride a roller coaster in your short time hear on earth.  I often wish I could have shielded you from the pain you felt when me and daddy split up, or from all the times you had to witness me having a crazy panic attack.  But then I see how real the Lord is to you and I am reminded that for all the pain you felt you also got to feel the restoration.  You got to see God restore me and daddy’s relationship right before your eyes.  You have also gotten to witness a very imperfect mom try to do life in a way that honors God, and not in a way that causes everyone to run and hide from her.  And those miracles that happened right within our walls Sydney? Those are special from God just for you.  And that is why He is so real to you.  If you had to feel some pain to get there, I am ok with that.  (And by ok, I mean not ok, wishing I could wash you memory of all the boneheaded things I have done, and changing your memories to include a mother that was perfect, but remember I’m still a work in process.)

I absolutely love that you have been saying all week, “I can’t wait to read my birthday blog post.”  Do you have any idea how happy that makes me?  I love that our family culture now includes this blog.  So, your birthday post is going to be about how cool you are.  You know when I tell you that you are the coolest person I know and you say, “No, I’m not, I am not cool at all…”  Well I am about to prove you wrong today.  The following is a list I have compiled over the last month of things that make you the coolest person I know.  And listen, I have been the coolest person I know for quite sometime so the fact that you unseated me is quit a feat, and makes you super cool.  Ready?

  1.  You are cool because you fight for Daddy and I to go on a date night.  I love that when you sense me and daddy getting annoyed with each other you stop everything and tell us to go out together.  You are gift to us, because I don’t know any kids that fight for their parents marriage like you do.  You are fierce.

  2. You are cool because you listen to 70’s rock.  I loved the look on your guitar teachers face when you told him that is what you wanted to learn to play.  You are the real deal in a world of fake music, and cheap hooks.

  3. You are cool because you learned the Hamilton sound track in 30 days.  A person that loves 70’s rock and the Hamilton sound track is so cool!

  4. You are cool because when you love something you are all in.  There is no “on the fence” with you.  That is legit because God will use that to His advantage.

  5. You are cool because your Birkenstock, t-shirt, short’s game is on point, on fleek, 2 legit to quit.  In a world of exposed butts, you choose to keep yours under wraps.  Thats good because no dude worth having wants his girl walking around with her butt hanging out of her shorts.

  6. You are cool because you know where your worth comes from.  You know it is not your cup size or pants size, it is because you were created by the God Himself, special for this day and age.

  7. You are cool because you will do what it takes to share your faith with your friends.

  8. You are cool because you love animals.

  9. You are cool because you already know you are going to parlay your love of animals in to a job.

  10. You are cool because you already know how you are going to use your job as a vet to help people.

  11. You are cool because in a world of Texas Tech Grads, you boldly declare that you are going to vet school at A&M.  (I will never wear maroon, no matter how cool you are.)

  12. You are a cool friend.  I will never forget the day you got in the car after tennis tryouts and said, “It went fine, but I didn’t get a chance to show off my skills because I wanted to help my friend who has never played tennis do well.”  I was all, “WTHECK? This is your chance to make the team, why would you do that?”  Then God pointed out to me that you were acting more Godly in that moment than I was.  Thanks for that lesson in how to be a cool friend.

  13. You are cool because you love Chick fil a.  You are totally devoted and loyal.  I hope you work there so you can support your habit of eating there all three meals a day.

  14. You are the coolest student I know.  The way you don’t love the school aspect of school but you buckle down and get your stuff done resulting in straight A’s is the coolest.  You have a fierce endurance that the Lord will use because guess what?  Life is about doing things you don’t really want to do.

14 year old girl, we are so lucky to call you ours.  You are my favorite part of the day.  I love to watch you and see you grow.  I happen to think you are absolutely perfect just the way you are.  As you enter your high school years the world will encourage you to conform and live for the low lying fruit.  Don’t go there girl.  You have so much more to offer.  And as our friend Christy Nockles says:

Hey there beautiful one, you there shining with glory

Would you let your heart hear, if I sang about you

Did you know that every fairy tale you love

They have borrowed your story

Of a maiden so lovely, and a hero so true

 

It’s just that this world is hollow

And it wants to swallow

Any memory of who you really are

Always remember to never forget

When you look in the mirror, the answer is yes

Yes you are pure as gold, yes you are beautiful

So always remember to never forget

Today we gave you your birthday present and I will never get tired of watching this video…….






 

And also this one of you telling your BFF that she is going with us to Hamilton….

 

 

Sydney you are the coolest person I know.  I just love you to pieces.  I love that you are excited to go to see Hamilton but even more excited that Lexi gets to go with us.  You have such a sweet and kind heart.  I hope when life kicks you around you come back to this list and remember how cool you are.  I am your biggest fan!

Love, mom. (and dad helped too.)

Fruit of the Flesh or Fruit of the Spirit?

Right now in my life I am preparing to teach the last day of the Galatians bible study we did this summer at my church.  I had no idea at the beginning of this study how much I would end up loving the book of Galatians.  With all things that have to do with God, He put in front of me the exact truth I need at the exact time in my life that I could learn from it.  I love that about Him.  He is such a BOSS!

The book of Galatians is the most concise explanation of how the Old Testament relates to us, the Church.  I love how in the book of Galatians Paul tells us we are children of Abraham, who believed God and was counted righteous.  So by showing us that OUR righteousness comes ALSO by faith, because we are children of Abraham.  Paul shows that God did not call us children of Moses on purpose to prove that salvation comes by faith and not works.  It just flipping blows my mind how God systematically shows us that.  Do you know why He has to show us that?  Because we want to work for our salvation instead of accepting the free gift of salvation from Jesus.  Why do we want to work for it?  Because then we don’t have to admit that we are hopeless sinners in need of that free gift–but that is a blog post for another time.

Anyway, Galatians proves that salvation is a free gift from God and that making ourselves look religious or holy will NOT MAKE US RIGHT WITH GOD.  You must believe in the free gift of salvation from Jesus to be right with God.  Without that you are simply looking the part on the outside but the inside is still a dirty unrighteous mess.  When we accept this free gift of salvation and stop working for it we are FREED up to love God the way He intended us to.  Then as we develop this relationship with God we are FILLED up so that we can love others they way He wants us to.  Once Paul proves that salvation comes by faith alone, he moves into what in the world we do after that.

In Galatians chapter 5 he talks about fruit of the flesh and fruit of the Spirit.  Check it out in the Message Version of the bible, it really makes it come alive:

Galatians 19-23a  It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

 This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

I mean, what in the world.  When I read the fruits of the flesh I was knocked to my knees because “stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; a brutal temper; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival,” could be used to describe me on my Wikipedia page.  Or it will be what the narrator says about me on a true crime show where there was no survivors because I finally lost it.  Or it will be something that Kelly, Cheryl or Ashley will say when they are interviewed about me for a 20/20 story about that girl who thought she was Lara Croft Tomb Raider, but finally ended up on a clock tower screaming about how “Lara Croft doesn’t do dishes or laundry!!!!”  I just feel like that list might actually characterize my day-to-day life.  And that scares me because that means I am living by my flesh.

But God also includes the list of the Fruit of the Spirit in this section too.  Anybody read that and throw up your hands and say, “We I’m toast!”  Or maybe you are like me and when I read that list the first time, as a new Christian, I was like, “Oh, ok I got this!  I can do these things!”  That is the, uh, WRONG ANSWER!  “I’m toast,” is more appropriate because it shows that you know you are not capable of manufacturing these kinds of fruit.  I am capable of manufacturing this kind of fruit for exactly as long as no one pisses me off.  (I’m looking at you guy at the harbor who yelled at me cuz you thought I was going to run you over.  Do you know how lucky you are that Jesus saved me?  You better thank Him because He is the only reason I did not get out of my car and throat punch you and then run you over for real!  Anyway, moving on….)  And here is the greatest news in all the land, besides that Jesus paid for my sin, I DON’T HAVE TO MANUFACTURE THIS FRUIT!!!

Do you see there where it says, “But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard….”  “When we live God’s way,” means that we are living in that freedom that comes from the free gift of salvation.  We are not working for Him, to impress Him or to get into heaven.  We are simply learning about who He is from His word, talking to Him in prayer and experiencing this world through His eyes.  When we live that way HE MAKES THE FRUIT APPEAR!

The section we are doing this week in Galatians is Chapter 6 is a beautiful challenge to sow into the Spirit instead of the flesh.  I want to write more about that next time.  I am making a concerted effort to keep these posts around 1000 words because I know my friends and family have other things to do besides read 8000 words from me.  And let me just say too, if you read these, THANK YOU!!  I am tickled to death that you are reading things that I write.  It is the highlight of my day to hear that you connected with something I wrote or that I made you laugh.  Thank you for encouraging me to write more, I have a lot of words, but none that will cover how precious your kind words are to me.   I pray that my words point you to Jesus.

Happy Anniversary!! Can We Go to the City Dump?

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Well 16 years of marriage looks like this:  We got up yesterday morning and gave each other a good morning kiss, wished each other a happy anniversary, had some coffee and then loaded up our trailer full of farm trash and headed to the dump.

Have you ever been to dump?  Don’t laugh at me but I have never been to a real live operating dump.  Did you know that archeologists look for the city dump first and foremost when they discover a new dig site?  They say it is because you can tell so much about a culture based on their trash.  This also means that since the dawn of time we as humans knew that you had to have a separate place to put your trash.  Do you know why?  Because trash is gross.  I have a whole new respect for our trash disposal system.  I also understand why trash “strikes” are so debilitating for city’s.  I’m like, “Dudes of the city counsel, pay them whatever they want because they have the power to set us into a dirty anarchy.”

On my anniversary every year I always reflect on where we have come from and I am always so thankful that we made it another year and we didn’t give up.  We almost did give up and only because Jesus got a hold of our hearts, are we still married.  As we drove to the dump it occurred to me that marriage maintenance is like a trip to the dump.  There is a-lot of messy stinky garbage that we bring into our marriages and if you don’t take it to the dump it stays in your house and festers and stinks everything up until you can’t stand the smell anymore and you want out.

I will say this, someone who has been married 16 years has no business giving marriage advice to anyone because 16 years still falls under that, “we are still working out the right way to put the toilet paper on the holder, which way is the right way to load the dishwasher, and who is going to get the mail everyday.”  Also I make a point to never make declarations of “Here is how to make a marriage work” because that crap will come back and bite you in the butt faster than anything else!  Me saying “To make a marriage work you have to respect your husband,” equals me coming home to find my husband cutting hole in the drywall with his Dremel Tool to test my resolve to respect him.  No thanks.  But I did have some thoughts about stuff I had to take the dump so they would not stink up my marriage.

  1. Take your expectations to the dump:  I expect him to treat me like a Disney prince treats a Disney princess.  I expect him to know that he hurt my feelings by not knowing I expect him to be home for dinner at 6.  I expect him to to know the exact right thing to say every single time I ask him a question.  Expectations are the root of most of my disappointment.  Assumptions and expectations are not what a good marriage is built on.  Communication is what good marriages needs.  If I have the thought, “How do you not know that I wanted you to do that?”  I know I have an expectation that needs to go to the dump.

  2. Take talking bad about your husband to other women to the dump:  This is the breeding ground for critical and disrespectful feelings toward your husband.   Don’t join in when women start ripping their husbands apart.  Don’t say “I just have to vent.”  Take that crap to the dump.  Those words will sit with you and fester and you will start to notice all the things that drive you nuts about your man.  If you need help, or to talk through something do it with a woman who will point you toward Jesus, not man hating.

  3. Don’t even think about divorce, take that word to the dump:  I let this word creep in a few years ago and guess what happened?  I finally got so mad a Jesse that I kicked him out.  Thankfully God restored our marriage and we got back together.  That word will create a space in your mind that is an escape hatch.  Marriage is no joke and hard work but it is worth it to the end, don’t hit eject.  Get that word out of your house.  I thank God everyday for the fact that I didn’t follow through with my divorce.  I would have missed this amazing guy that I am married to now.  God can fix it, I promised.

  4. Giving only “whats left” to your husband? Take that to the dump:  You know what was crazy in my marriage?  When I started putting Jesse before the kids, friends and hobbies I found out I actually really liked him.  When I didn’t have time for him he became a guy who lived in my room with me and didn’t put the toilet paper on the holder the right way.  When I started working on making sure he knew I preferred him to everything else he showed up for our relationship.  When he knew I really needed him he started to care about what was going on with finances, house stuff, kid stuff.  When I put the kids back in their rightful place below him, they started to respect him too.  It’s a beautiful thing.  He should get my best, not my left overs.  Remember, kids will leave, husbands are for life.

It is really so worth all the hard work.  I am so much more in love with Jesse today than I was the first day of our honeymoon.  I think on July 21 st, 16 years ago I was mad at him because all he wanted to do was sleep in.  I was like “who sleeps in?  You have to break into the day and grab ahold life it’s already 5:30 am!”  Well guess who was sleeping in on this July 21st, that’s right Jesse.  It turns out people do sleep in.  Being married to a morning person was one of those expectations that had to go to the dump.

All joking aside though, Happy Anniversary Jes.  I’m so glad we are still together.  I love our life and our marriage.  You are my perfect guy.  I’m proud of you and proud to be your wife.  You are exactly the right person for me.  I thank God for you.

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The Chicken Run

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Here I am again observing behavior in my animals that reminds me of my own real life issues.

These chickens.   Please enjoy this video.  (Also lets give a round of applause to Jesse for helping me with this video.  He was on his way to work and I said, “Please! I need you to open the door so I can video the chickens today!  It will take two minutes!  I promise!”  Well, he changed shoes and headed to the barn only to be met with the fact that the dogs were fighting over a dead rat that Gizmo killed.  It is hard to get a kill away from them, but you learn to do it or else you see that rat again at 2 AM because they are throwing it up on your bedroom floor.  Can I get an AMEN? So the whole video-ing thing took longer than two minutes, sorry honey!)

 

Ok so, my point is this.  These chickens squawk at me while I am letting my sweet duck out, while I am feeding the baby goats, and they squawk at me while I am feeding the big goats.  They use their most impressive voices and puff out there chest all in an attempt to intimidate me into opening their coop first.  To which I say, “You are not the boss of me and until you can use kind words you will be last to get let out.”  To which they say, “SQUAWK!” because they don’t care that kindness is a fruit of the Spirit.  They are geared up, jockeying for position and biting each other to get out the door first.  Then, when I finally open the door,  OFF THEY RUN!  I was watching them a few days ago and just wondered where are they going in such a rush?  They don’t have a plan or direction they just follow each other and run.  They are just “in a hurry to get things done,” like Alabama sings about.  And then you know WHO whispered in my ear, “weren’t you just praying about feeling rushed, and you didn’t know why?”

Oh my gosh, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  My natural bent is to be like the chickens.  Just running with no direction.  No real destination but dammit I’m making good time.

My thoughts are like the chicken run.

My plans are like the chicken run.

My comfort zone is the chicken run.

“Just go, just get it done, faster, more stuff, business, don’t stop,” are what makes up the chorus of my theme song, in my natural state of being.

But Jesus, Jesus comes in and gets in the way of my chicken run and says, “Where are you going in such a hurry?”  “My daughter, you cannot walk in the Spirit and do the chicken run. A fruit of the spirit is self-control, and another is peace, when I see you running the chicken race you look like you are walking in the flesh because I see selfish ambitions, jealousies and bursts of wrath from you, turn around and follow me back to walking in the Spirit because that is a safer place for you.”  Over and over again He reminds me of this.  Over and over again I have gotten lost in the flesh that tells me go faster, work harder, fight more, get ahead of everyone else, and over and over he gets in my way and looks me in the eyes and says, “Stop being a chicken running for no reason, you are a daughter of the King, not a chicken.”

And so, I try to go back to walking in the Spirit.  And I try to capture the thoughts that tell me “hurry up!”  In fact, in God’s humor, or in His good Mercy He gave me a husband who can’t stand to be told “HURRY UP!”  And just to be sure I got the joke, He gave me two kids who actually freeze up when you shout, “HURRY UP!”  (Side note: both of my kids had to have speech intervention because of stuttering.  And BOTH speech pathologists said, “Mrs. Griffith, they don’t start stuttering until you get here.  You HAVE to stop when they are talking to you and look them in the face, otherwise they feel too hurried to get the words out. Got it, thanks!)

What I have learned is that walking in the Spirit is not the absence of “things to do.”  If it was as easy as “do-less-stuff” everyone would do that.  (one more side note:  You know what my most hated phrase is?  “Stop doing so much stuff!”  Oh my gosh, thank you, you just solved all my problems!  Why didn’t I think of that?  I’ll just sit here and do less stuff, but can you do me a favor?  When my head blows up from my anxiety will you mop up the floor?  Because we have already established that we don’t need to let the dogs eat things like that.  Great, thank you.)

Walking in the Spirit is this beautiful dance of learning how to just be with God and let Him direct your steps.  Now some people are going to read that and go, “Oh really? It must be nice to just let the wind blow you one way or another, but I have a job and responsibilities and things I have to do.  But that is exactly what I mean.  It is this awareness in your daily life of the Spirit.  I am learning that when I have that feeling of “Hurry up!” that is when I look to the Lord.  I say to Him, “Lord I don’t want to do the chicken run, help me re-center and not just be running for no reason.”  I do this over and over and over.  I am turning into a “hurry up” detective in my own life.  I am starting to become repulsed by being in a hurry.  I as myself, “Am I running the chicken race here?” That is all Jesus prompting me, and teaching me how to get out of the chicken race.  The schedule has not changed but the heart has.  And when the heart changes that makes all the difference.  Say no the chicken race!  SQUAWK!!!

Sojourn Farm: Where Dinosaurs Still Roam the Earth

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WHAT THE HELL??? Did you know this was a real thing?  This is an alligator snapping turtle.  I believe they originate in HELL!!! This type of turtle got one of our sweet ducks this week.  How do I know it was this resident of Hell that got her?  Because I saw the jerk eating her!!!  It was all very traumatic and I am so sad that our female duck was eaten.

When I saw her laying out in the water I knew it was bad.  Mostly because our ducks don’t go in the pond.  They are love to stand on the shore line and root around in the mud for bugs.  Downton never goes in the water and Cora only goes deep enough to float. They are more into pools and water troughs and things they can see the bottom of.  I made Sydney row out in a kayak and retrieve her body.  Somebody asked me yesterday, “You made Sydney row out there knowing that turtle was in there?”  My answer is, “Yes, yes I did.”  Don’t judge my parenting.  The ducks are my favorite animals and I was not going to leave Cora out there for that dinosaur to eat all day long at his leisure.  It’s not like I made Sydney swim out to get her body.  She had a very sturdy kayak from Costco.  We are not dealing with JAWS here.  As she paddled out I literally thought to myself, “I have my Dave Ramsey Emergency Account fully funded and I will spend every dime of that to save her if there is any chance.”  Well, God heard that and when Sydney finally made it to shore it was clear that there was no chance.  That bastard turtle reached out of the water and snapped her neck.  At least she didn’t suffer but I have a message for the turtle…..

Change “Mandarin” to “Alligator Snapping Turtle”






And another one….. Change “my father” to “my sweet Cora.”


 

I don’t know what Jurassic Park movie you escaped from but your time is up dude.  I have friends with guns, dynamite and one friend that said she would watch the pond from a dear stand…the point is we are coming for you.  Did you enjoy your Duck a la’orange because that was your last meal.

Anyway, the fall out from this loss was one very sad little buddy who had lost his wife.  We comforted him with Kale and a swim in the water trough.  I was ready to hope in the car and drive to Tyler to pick up some ducklings I found on Craig’s List so he would not be lonely.  Jesse put the kabash on that with the point of, “Don’t you think we need to get rid of that turtle first?  I mean otherwise we are just feeding it.”  Right, good point.  And this is why the Lord put us together.  It broke my heart to see him all alone in his little duck hut eating bugs.  I know that animals don’t feel things like us.  I was ready to walk out of Jurassic World when they animated the dinosaur to look like he had a tear rolling down his face.  (Come on!  Reptiles have to lick their eyeballs to keep them moist!)  But when I saw Downton out there calling for her my heart broke.  Also I was so sad that we wouldn’t have anymore duck eggs.  My whole Egg slogan is “Sojourn Farm Fresh Eggs: Every Dozen includes a luck duck egg.” (Credit to my dad for that slogan)  Now we would have to start all over again.

But then, the morning after her death, there was a duck egg in the duck hut!  Now, I had not had any coffee yet so I wasn’t thinking clearly, but my mind went to, “Oh my gosh, she is back from the dead!”  Then I went to, “Oh I bet its a rogue chicken egg.”  I asked Syd if there were any chickens in the Duck Hut when she fed, and she said no.  So then I started to ponder everything I knew about my Jumbo Pekin Male Duck named Downton…..

Side bar, I have a Batchelor’s of science in Agricultural Economics with a minor in Animal Science from Texas Tech University.  I took two poultry classes.  I had to sex poultry in that class.  So why I did not actually check Downton’s sex, is beyond me.  All I can say is that he acted like a dude, he was dude sized and I caught him “on top” of her twice.  Now if living in this day and age has taught me anything it’s that you cannot assume someones gender by the traditional context clues.  Here I was gender profiling Downton.

So as it turns out, Downton is just a bossy, butch, big-boned lady who likes to assert her dominance by jumping on other ducks.  Sydney looked up a video on how to sex Pekin’s just to be doublely sure.  So now our slogan still works because Downtinina is still laying an egg everyday.  I have apologized profusely for congratulating Cora on here egg laying ability this whole time when it was Downinique the whole time!  She also has recovered from losing her “friend.”  She still goes down the shore of the pond like her and Cora use to do, but Downanna has never gone in the water.  We use to tease her about that, turns out she knew something we did know.  We are working on feminizing her name.  The problem is she already comes to Downton.  So that is a whole mess, but I don’t know how to fix it yet.

We are really sad to lose Cora.  And we really are going to have to do something about that dinosaur because I don’t want him getting our swimming Corgi.  Not sure what the plan is for sure, but that pond eco system has gone unchecked long enough.  If we have learned anything from the Jurassic movies it’s that messing with nature is always a good idea.  I’m sure there will be more blogs posts about it.  For now, we are just thrilled that we still get a duck egg everyday.

We Are Officially a FARM!

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We have an EGG!!!  With the discovery of this EGG Sojourn Farm is officially a farm.  (Dad, stop calling it a petting zoo!)  Now, there was some confusion as to who this egg belongs to.  This egg came into the world amidst animal habitat confusion and many animal complaints.  Here are the facts.  This egg was found in the duck hut.  So you would think we could assume it was a duck egg.  Not so fast.  About two days before this egg showed up, the chickens claimed the duck hut as their own, the ducks claimed the back yard as their own, the big goats claimed the barn as their own, and the baby goats claimed the living room as their own, and the dogs were hiding in Sydney’s room.  The humans who live here were left to pick up the pieces.

With the discovery of the egg, I decided to try to let everyone sort this out.  But the next day things got worse.  I found two eggs in the duck hut.  Downton and I also had to chase the chickens out of the duck hut that night.  They had really started to stake a claim.  I put all my Poultry 101 class knowledge to work.  (I majored in animal science for two years, until we had to slaughter cattle I was all in.)  I figured the chickens had out grown their coup.  I don’t mean to body shame anyone here but our coup says it can fit 12 chickens.  Ah-hem, our chickens must be super-sized because they stopped fitting in the coup a few weeks ago.  We tried to make the best of it and put a roosting bench outside in their scratching pen.  The problem with chickens is that, well, they are chicken.  They are scared of everything and only feel safe at night when they are all together up off the ground.  They were telling us that they were unsatisfied with their house by taking over the duck hut. Saturday morning we set out to rectify the situation.

We took the duck hut, which is actually a dog kennel and moved it into the barn where the original chicken coup was.  We (Jesse) re-engineered the door out to the scratching pen so they could get their chubby rumps in and out easily.  Now the scratching pen is more of a vestibule at this point because they are in there long enough to yell at me in the morning to let them out.  Once free, they roam the whole property like they own the place.   They do have a scratching pen though, in case I have to keep them locked up.  I can’t imaging the chicken profanity that would cause.

We then took the original chicken coup and moved it over to the other side of the barn.  We turned it into the new duck hut.  We had to entice them with something good because they really love the back yard.  I don’t know if you are familiar with ducks but they are way more messy than dogs, so I don’t want them in the backyard around the pool.  Jesse cut a hole in the barn wall to make a way from them to have the coup and a little scratching pen.  We also had to engineer a way for Downton to keep the chickens out of his pen.  Downton totally remembers when he and the chickens lived together as chicks.  He just wanted to be friends and the chickens shunned him because of his big feet.  So now he and his wife have nothing to do with them.  We are working on loving your neighbor around here.  We also needed to keep them separated so we could solve the mystery of the eggs.

A side note on Downton and Cora.  They have a huge pond that they could live in and swim in.  When they were younger we moved them down to the water’s edge with a sub par duck enclosure.  A raccoon broke in and attacked them.  Downton defended Cora valiantly but lost a few feathers and bled like he lost a wing.  Sweet Cora must have been in the raccoon’s mouth or something because she had a huge puncture wound in her chest.  I wasn’t sure if they would survive, but they did!  The residual effect is that they do not like to be very far from the back yard.  They do not swim in the pond.  They splash around in the water hose.

Don’t ever question what kind of life the animals around here have.  I dance around all day making sure everyone is emotionally groovy.  I will not have ducks in my backyard pool area.  I have to draw the line somewhere.  I have goats in my house for goodness sake!


Now everyone’s house’s look like this…. 

 Chickens new nesting boxes.

Chickens new nesting boxes.

 Chickens roosting bars.

Chickens roosting bars.

 New duck hut.

New duck hut.

 New duck outside space.

New duck outside space.

And finally everyone is singing my praises again.  The chickens are happy as clams. (There you go Jonathan, that saying just works!)  The ducks are slightly confused but love their new house.  It is right under the night-light so it always has bugs in it.  And now the mystery of the eggs is solved…..

dun dun da….

It is a duck egg!!!  Cora is laying an egg everyday for us!  I’m trying to come up with a marketing slogan for this.  “Sojourn Farm Eggs: Every dozen includes a duck for luck!”  I don’t know, but I crack myself up coming up with stuff like this.  I’m so thrilled because this means, not only that she did not get permanently injured in her attack, but also that we might get little ducklings in the spring!  If I see her or him start sitting on a pile of eggs I will stop taking them away from her.

They are delicious!  (I had to try them first before anyone else around here because they were unsure.)

At the time of writing this we have had two random chicken eggs.  I think their little layers are just getting revved up.  The new problem is that they lay them wherever they want.  With the move they are all jacked up and confused.  Supposedly if you put ceramic eggs in the nesting boxes they will “get the point.”  I crack up thinking about what goes through a chickens mind the first time they lay an egg.  “Look what just came out of my butt?!?!?”

I just love our little farm.  I love caring for the animals, even though I complain about it.  I love learning to be flexible and thinking outside the box to fix problems.  I love learning what they need to thrive.  I love what the Lord is teaching me out here.  He is everywhere in all these little creations.  More to come on that later.  For now, just know we are officially a farm, and I’m so thrilled with it!

Happy Birthday to My Main Squeeze, An Open Letter.

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Dear Jesse,

You turned 41 years old on Monday.  I’m so thrilled to celebrate your birthday.  Don’t worry, I am not at all concerned about the fact that I married such an older man.  41 looks so good on you!  Babe, in the midst of life, and my spiritual gift of being critical of you it may come across that I am not totally over the moon in love with you, or that I don’t get on my knees everyday and thank God we are together, but trust me, I love you more everyday, and I am so thankful for you.  I decided a good way to show you how grateful I am for you would be to come up with 41 things that I love, admire, and like about you.  I added like because as I typed 41 I thought, well that is a long list I better put like just in case I run out.  Now I will warn you, some of these you may read and think, “Is that a compliment or a roast?”  In those moments I will refer you to the 101 times you have “complimented” me by saying something like, “Yeah, I love those shoes they look like something Jesus would wear,”  or “Yeah that dress looks good, it looks like a couch.”  So let’s get started:

  1.  I love the way you love Jesus.

  2. I love the way you love me, and would do anything to be sure I am not feeling any stress at all.  (I do suspect that your devotion to this is more about your well-being than mine)

  3. I love the dad you are to Brock and Sydney, they hit the dad jackpot with you!

  4. I love that you hid behind “all those are Sarah’s animals” but I find you out with the dogs, chickens, ducks and goats more than anyone else.  It says something about the tenderness of your heart that you love animals.

  5. I love that I can let you sleep in on Saturdays, make sure no one wakes you up, and with that one day of sleeping in, you are a new man.  It is your recharge for the week.

  6. I love how mad at me you were when I told you I was kidnapping you this week to take you out-of-town for your birthday.  I love that you were so mad because you did not want to miss the first Monday Man Night at church because you were the one who organized it and you wanted to be there to be sure it all went off without a hitch.  It makes me proud of you when you take ownership of stuff, it means you give a damn.

  7. I love that when you take a shirt off a hanger you hang the empty hangers with all the other empty hangers in your closet.  This makes if very easy for me to put your clothes away.

  8. I love that you love cars, all cars; remote, muscle, fast n furious type, trucks and minivans.  But don’t every try to buy me a minivan again.  Lara Croft Tomb Raider does not drive a minivan.

  9. I love that your car is always so clean but your desk looks like the zombie apocalypse went by.

  10. I love how I have learned that it takes you two hours to wake up.  I now know that I can talk to you after 8AM and you will be sweet Jesse, before that you are jerk Jesse.

  11. I love how you thanked me the other day for asking the waiter to sit us outside because we needed to be away from the busy, crowded, kid filled restaurant.  I got your back babe, I know you don’t do crowds, I will protect your introverted soul.

  12. I love that you told me this birthday get away was your perfect birthday party.  Just you and me, and the quiet, with no schedule.  (Just a side note, that is not my perfect birthday please refer to Ashley, Kelly and Cheryl for more info)

  13. I love watching you fight for structure in your life.

  14. I love watching you try to figure out how to love the Lord, serve in ministry and find time to work on cars, fix up your shop and build and R/C track.

  15. I love that you ask yourself 100 questions before taking a step forward.  I will admit that I did not use to love this about you, but in the years we have been living life together I see how your meticulous planning has saved us from many train wrecks.

  16. I love how you approach money, budgets and family business.  You do it with ease because you know it all comes from God anyway.

  17. I love that saving money is more fun to you than going to Groovy’s and getting a new Umgee shirt.  I love that for you, but not so much for me.

  18. I love that you are always in the moment, always.

  19. I love that you never tell me no, but you say, “Did we budget for that?” or “Lets sit down and plan out how we would do that.”  These are also things I did not love about you for a while but now I see the value in them.

  20. I love that no matter the situation, the crisis, the problem you have a gadget in your backpack specifically for that problem.

  21. I love the mystery that is your backpack.  Is it Marry Poppins’ carpet bag or is it Pandora’s box.  I don’t know.  All I know is that it rides in the car with you buckled in like a baby.

  22. I love that you are always researching how to do things on You Tube, especially when you could have your own You Tube channel on how to do things.

  23. I love that when you got the job of Building Maintenance Man at church you literally came alive.

  24. I love your heart for our church.

  25. I love that you make sure everything is all set up and ready so that people have the best church experience they can have.  Example: Filling in the gap in the worship center doors so that the sound from the lobby doesn’t interfere with service.

  26. I love that you are so worried about Doug being hot on Sunday that you actually go up there on Saturday and early Sunday morning to make sure the thermostats are set.

  27. I love that it drives you crazy that you can’t get the church cold enough for 11:30 service.  It means you give a damn.  I love that you care.

  28. I love the way you talk to service guys on the phone.  You are so kind and caring even-though I am sitting next to you yelling, “NO IT CANNOT WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW TELL THEM TO GET THEIR ASS HERE NOW.”  That is most likely why people prefer to deal with you and not me.  Whatever, I have other gifts.

  29. I love the way you care about maintaining our house.  It reminds me of Papa Johnny.

  30. I love that you told me the other day, “Doug is going to have to bury me in the church because I am never leaving Cornerstone.  I don’t care if I have a job there or not, I’m still working there.”  I love that you love our church that much.

  31. I love that I got this text from Ashley after VBS:

    “Btw your husband was a total gift to me today too. He literally pushed a broom and took out trash all day. I love the way he serves! He just shows up and fills holes. Such a gift to me. Make sure he knows that. Didn’t know if that would be weird for me to tell him ”

  32. I love that you will do any job for any one even if it is taking out the trash.

  33. I love that you come home all the time and say, “Hey I heard _______ talking and he needs money to go on his mission trip, I think we should give it to him, where is the check book,” or “I was talking to _________ today and they need a car but I don’t want them to go into debt, lets help them out.”  You have become the most generous person I know.

  34. I love that you come from a banking family and you hate debt–YOU ARE SUCH A REBEL!!!

  35. I love that we share a love for all things Dave Ramsey.

  36. I love how you would pour yourself out to get people out of debt.

  37. I love how you have this ability to get people to do stuff without them even knowing you were insisting they do it.

  38. I love how much you love the people who come to our Dave Ramsey Classes.

  39. I secretly love that you tell me you are not scared of me anymore.  I love that you stand up to me.  Just don’t let’s get carried away with all that.

  40. I love that we share a love of all things Texas Tech and that you let me devote a whole room to Tech in our house.  Lord please be with the Red Raiders today as they play in the College World Series.  (And please be with the football team this year, cuz where were you last year?)

  41. I love you, just you.  Everything you are, all your idiosyncrasies, your introvertedness, your love of beef jerky, your love of Weird Al Yankovic, your love of the 80’s, your love of 80’s hair bands, and your love of  meaningless trivia.  I love all of it.  I’m so grateful you are mine.

Looky there, 41 things I love about you and I didn’t have to use “like” at all.  I love you Jesse Griffith, you are my favorite part of the day.  I wish you could see yourself through my eyes because you would be so impressed with yourself.  You have no reason to doubt yourself or to question yourself.  You are the bomb. com to me.  I love you babe.  Happy Birthday!!

Love from our much younger wife,

Sarah