Horton's Happenings

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Beginnings!

     It is quite funny to me that no matter what age you may be you are never too old to experience new beginnings.  At the age of 18, I began college.  Then I turned 21 and married my very best friend!  My entire world changed at the age of 25, when I gave birth to our first child.  Over the next several years I gave birth to three more children which have opened my eyes to new beginnings and experiences every day.  Well, today I am 35 and I becoming a college student....AGAIN!  I tried my hand at graduate school right after finishing my B.A. but due to my work schedule and intense sickness with my first pregnancy it became overwhelming.  So, in my second semester (11 years ago) I had to withdraw.  If you know me....I HATE to quit!!  But, when I held my baby girl for the first time and looked into her beautiful blue eyes I knew I had made the right choice.  I wanted her to have my undivided attention.
     So, at the age of 35 and four kids later, I have decided to return to school and finish what I began in the year 2000.  I am working on my Masters in Professional Counseling with a dual licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy.  My classes will be all online courses.  Now with that being said let me just introduce you to my crazy thoughts right now.  I admit I am overcome at times with FEAR!  Yes, I admit it...I am scared out of my mind!!  I have not written a research paper in almost 12 years.  I haven't studied anything, except the Bible or leadership materials, within the last 12 years.  I haven't stayed up all night wracking my brain to figure something out....well, unless it was a bad dream a child had or trying to figure out how to help my child through a sickness....in 12 years.  So, yeah, this mommy is afraid!  My fears are, but not limited too:  not being able to spend as much time with my kids and family as I would like,  my husband having too much on his plate (with his full time job and then coming home and being mommy while I study), failure, not being able to keep up with my daily house chores, making "special" time for my husband, making time to just have fun, making time to run (I know that sounds selfish...but I have worked so hard to get to where I am in running), this is a big one...making sure I am having time with God, not being able to comprehend all the material, etc.  I could literally keep going on and on but literally I could sum it up in one word:  Failure!  That's it, I am afraid of failing on many levels.
     Do you ever reach a point when so much worry and stress hits you that you know you literally can't take any more?  Yeah, that's where I feel I am...but I know I am not!  At these times I run to God!  I know He wants to help me and take this for me.  So, I throw my hands up and say, "God, I can't take one more thing...Please help me deal with all of this accordingly.  Give me strength, patience, wisdom, and faith to get through this.  I love these very profound, but simple, words in Psalm 56:3-4, "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His word).  In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.  What can flesh do to me?"  So, there ya go...my "New Beginning" is becoming a graduate student and ultimately a Professional Counselor.  You may not hear from me as much...I will have to study a lot!  But I ask that you PLEASE pray for me to do well and be the best counselor I can, making sure I glorify God in all things!  Pray for my husband as he tackles more things while I am studying.  Pray that my kids don't feel "mommy neglected".  Pray that this all will come together beautifully and that I will look back one day and smile at these few years.  I love you friends and family!!  You are the best!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's Going On Around Here?

This picture is of my youngest daughter, Bethany, but her expression completely explains my emotions today.  I sense she is saying, "What?!!?"  Which is exactly how I have felt today!  Have you ever woke up in a decently good mood but one small, and I mean tiny, thing just sets your mood for the day?  Yeah, that would be me today.  I have prayed, "Lord, please get me out of this bad mood, now!" only about a thousand times today and it's just now 1:00 p.m. 

The day began with someone completely ignoring me....and no, it was not one of my immediate family members.  Then it lead to cleaning up a huge, bad, poop accident that happened to the little 2 year old girl I babysit. This all happened before breakfast....not good!  Well, my two little ones finally woke up and I thought things would get better.  Samuel decided he didn't like the little friend we babysit and Bethany didn't want to share.  So, I became a referee most of the morning.  I decided we would have an early lunch and got out the little blanket we have our "lunch picnic" on everyday.  After getting all of the kids settled on the blanket Samuel yells out, "mom, something is really wet over here!"  Yep, our little friend's cup had leaked all over the carpet.  At this point I am begging God for nap time to come quickly.  Well, nap time finally rolled around and our little friend we babysit went down for her nap like a champ.  However, my child, Bethany got out of her bed about six times before I decided...why try anymore.  I let her and Samuel play with playdough while I folded clothes.  I proceeded down the hallway to put clothes away in there proper places only to turn around and see playdough being stuffed in my 3 year old's ears.  Really??  Playdough was done for the day at this point....up you go playdough!  Ok, let's try a cool cartoon and "rest" time.  LOL!!!  That was a joke!  Samuel comes running around the corner yelling, "I need to go poop!"  So, off we run to the bathroom, and quickly!  Once he is settled I thought I would put away more clothes...then, I hear a crash!  Bethany falls off a old trunk we have sitting in our living room....yes, she decided climbing it would be fun.  Bethany begins to scream and then Samuel starts yelling, "mom, I am done!  I need to get off the potty!"  I find myself looking at a crying 2 year old that wants to be held for comfort and hearing a 3 year old that needs attention...ya know what I mean.;)  I became frustrated!!  Very frustrated!!  The day was not getting any easier, in fact it was getting more difficult!  Then I decided....ya know, this sweet girl just wants to be held...just for a minute.  She wants someone to hold her and tell her it will be ok.  So, I did!  I told Samuel to wait and I took Bethany up in my arms, to love and comfort her.  At this moment I felt the Lord speaking to my heart.  Although I didn't want to make Samuel wait for me....he had too.  You see, I felt like God was saying, "if you are never told to wait...how then will you learn patience?"  In this world today everyone wants gratification and they want it immediately!!!  There are so many lessons learned in the "waiting" that would never be learned if every request were answered immediately.  I wanted God to fix my anger issue immediately this morning.  I didn't like the person I was.  But, ya know, I would have never had that "moment" with God to learn a lesson He was trying to speak to me if He had fixed my problem immediately.  It's ok to wait.  Look what He is trying to teach you during the wait.  And mother's.....it is alright to make your children wait for something....even if it's your attention.  They know they are loved and highly favored in your eyes but they will learn patience just like you during their "waiting".  Happy Waiting!")

Friday, December 2, 2011

Acts 20:35

"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’"  Acts 20:35

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin."  Matthew 6:28

My  heart is full this morning!  Full of memories of being at places and times in my life when I wondered how things were going to work out; i.e., feeding my family, clothing my family, paying the next bill.  I am thinking about thousands of people in our world right now that are wondering about the same things.  I feel their heart and their weight they are carrying....why....because I have been there.  I am also reminded of all the people that reached out and blessed me all throughout my life.  The times when my parents wondered about the same things and then someone from our church would show up with a bag of clothes or a warm meal.  My dad has been a minister for over 40 years and if you know anything about ministry....well, the salary is not the greatest.  So, growing up I would have sweet women within our church bring huge bags of clothes to my mother and say, "hey, my daughter has grown out of these, if your daughter can use them then please take them."  What a blessing!!  As I have grown older and now have four children of my own I am still seeing that blessing today!  There are angels that have shown up on my doorstep with clothes for my kiddos!!

A few years ago Britt and I lost our full time job as youth pastors.  The pain was so great and then as time went on the pain shifted to worry.....our thoughts were, "how are we going to take care of our family??"  During this time we became pregnant with our fourth child.  I got so tired of people giving me weird looks and asking me, "don't you know how that happens??"  Really??  Not a great time to ask a mother that question!  Yes, I know how it happens and I also know how to prevent it, but God had other plans!!  We were completely dumb founded when we realized I was pregnant.  We had done everything we could to prevent another pregnancy.  But when God has a plan, He has a plan and His ways are better than ours!  So, once we got past the shock of our fourth pregnancy we felt so blessed.  We knew this child was going to bring much joy into our lives, hence her name....Bethany Joy!  When we lost our job we thought we would be without one for maybe a couple of weeks or even months.  Well, those few weeks and months turned into a complete full year!  There were days filled with worry, tears, anger, etc. but there were also days full of laughter, joy, and happiness.  Some of that laughter, joy, and happiness came from people simply reaching out and showing random acts of kindness to us.  I remember my sweet friends showing up on my doorstep with tons of food and energy!  What do I mean by "energy,"....well, they cleaned my entire house!  These same people (along with others) blessed us with money to buy our children Christmas that year and also a minivan.....yes, I said a minivan!  There were also people that tithed from their income tax refund and sent it our way!  There were others that would call and say, "I am thinking of you! I am praying for you! I love you!"...which touched my heart just as much!  There were others who gave us clothes or food.  You see, they didn't have to do any of this!  But they chose to bring a ray of sunshine to someone who felt they were in their darkest valley.  Those acts of kindness and those sweet people will never be forgotten!

Why am I sharing all of this....I don't really know!  I know God is making me do a major self-check right now in many areas of my life.  Today he has laid on my heart all those in need, because I have been there.  I am so thankful to God and to all of those who have ever given to me or my family....and I am not just talking about financially.  I pray that I can always remember how it felt for someone to show me a random act of kindness.  I pray that I can be, and also teach my children to be, the person that brings random acts of kindness to someone else.  Please, please, don't ever underestimate the power of giving!  You may not have money to give but you can always give a smile, a kind word, a touch, etc.  Just my thoughts today!  Happy Giving!:)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Year In The Making

Well, I finally accomplished something I had been working towards for an entire year.  I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon and I wanted my first 1/2 to be the Soldier Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.  This race is absolutely amazing and I pray I can participate in it again next year.  It starts out on Post at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA. and then trails through the Post and onto the Riverwalk.  You finish on Post running through the flags and a memorial of our fallen soldiers.  At the finish line you are greeted by tons of soldiers and the Major General.  The soldiers award you with a medal and a coin (Army tradition).  It was the best feeling ever!!!  I was truly inspired because I got to run in honor of a fallen soldier by the name of Paul Pabla.  He was a friend to my brother in law, David May, and by Dave's description he was a great guy.  Every mile was truly an inspiration as I was cheered on and high fived by they men and women that serve our country.  After mile 1, there is a pretty good hill...guess who was there for encouragement...Drill Sergeants!  Yes, they were yelling "nice" words of encouragement!  I was loving every minute of this!!!  I am not a fast runner by any means but I LOVE running a long way.  Since I have finished my first 1/2, and know that I am capable, I would like to start working on my speed.  My husband, Britt, is truly an amazing runner!  He did absolutely amazing!!!  I asked him awhile back if he would try to qualify for Boston, which meant running 26.2 in 3:15 or less.  Well, he did it with no problem....his time was 3:09.  He was on target for a time of 2:50 but at mile 18 began having a nerve problem....nothing a chiropractor visit can't fix!:)  He is running the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL, in just a few weeks.  I want to be like him when I grow up...LOL!!!  Our sweet daughter, Faith, took several pics of us that day. I hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

10 Years.....Where Did It Go???

I remember the nerves.....thinking to myself, "Oh dear God!  What am I doing?  I have no clue what I am supposed to do?  I am only 25 years old!!"  Yes, those were just a few thoughts that I had the night I walked into Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital 10 years ago today.  You see, I became a mommy that day and I was scared out of my mind!!  My dream, as a little girl, was to grow up and meet my prince charming.  We would have three children and I would stay home to take care of them while he went off to work during the day.  We would have the "Leave it to Beaver" type home and family.  LOL!!!!!  The things we dream of as children are quite hilarious.  Well, my dream came true on November 1, 2001, as I looked down into the eyes of a blue eyed princess straight from heaven.  Somehow when I looked down into those eyes God erased all my fears and replaced them with an abundance of love.  I didn't want her out of my sight!  Even the nurses at the hospital would beg to take her to the nursery just so I could get some rest.  My answer every time was a quick, "no".  The first 2 years she was stuck to my hip and we did everything together.  Now my blue eyed princess is 10 years old and this morning she walked out of my house in a quick sprint to the car so she could make it to school on time.  My heart melted as she turned around and told me bye and a quick, "I love you mom!"  My dad would always say, "they step on your toes when they are younger but on your heart when they are older."  That is so very true!  She no longer steps on my toes but can cause my heart to skip a beat when she looks across a room and gives me a quick smile.  When she hugs me a tear swells up in my eye each time.  That girl will someday (when she has my amazing grandchildren) will know how much the small looks, smiles, and "I love yous!" mean.  I could go on and on about her and how awesome I think she is.:)  I mean, I am her mom.:)  My heart is overflowing with love and thankfulness today!  Thank you dear sweet Jesus for making me a mother, not just of three children like I dreamed of as a child, but of four amazing beautiful little people!!  I LOVE being their mother!!!  Faith, I am so proud to be called your mother!  Today is your special day and these have been the best 10 years of my life!!!!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for you!!!  Go get em' girl!!!!
(This is a pic of Faith when she was 5 years old.  She had just finished being a flower girl in a wedding.)

The Sea of Emotions

So, where do I begin??  I haven't posted in awhile due to several circumstances.  I spent much time cleaning around the house October 22-23 preparing for a visit from my parents.  I was so excited to see them because it had been several months since our last visit.  Plus, this was our first visit since my parents had moved from Florence, AL, to Imboden, AR.  LLLLOOONNNGGG Way away!!!  Anyway, I was super excited for them to get here and just spend time hanging out and catching up on life.  We were enjoying our visit when I received a very unexpected phone call from my husband on Wednesday afternoon (October 26th).  My heart sank down to my stomach as my husband told me that a dear, sweet friend of ours was very sick.  This friend was not like any other friend, he was more like a grandfather or a very close uncle.  This man was one of those people that you look at in awe because of his wisdom, humility, compassion, forgiving spirit, giving heart, etc. and seriously question yourself..."how can I be more like that?"  He was a walking depiction of everything I believe a Christian should manifest to the world.  His name was Louis E. Cottrell, Jr. and I deeply loved that man!  I got the honor of getting to know him through my husband and his family.  I began dating my husband my senior year of high school and noticed Mr. Louis being around a lot.  He was so much fun!!!  I always loved being around him!!  I loved hearing him laugh...he had the BEST laugh!  And then he would open his mouth to sing and it was like heaven came down and entered the room.  I have so many memories of his sweetness.  Now, I don't have as many memories as my husband, but the ones I do have I will hold onto dearly.  Mr. Louis taught me how to properly cut a steak and how to order it so that it would taste its best.  He provided two very young lovebirds (who were completely broke) an amazing honeymoon adventure and then a place to live (in his basement) for almost five years.  He was always there!!!  And now...he is not!  Mr. Louis passed away from this earth very quickly the morning of October 27th but he will not be forgotten!  As we attended his visitation and funeral arrangements we were reminded of his humble ways.  He had so much to brag about but chose not too.  He truly was a man of honor!  Mr. Louis was a man of respect, integrity, compassion, and love.  I will forever miss him but I bet he is having a blast right now!  I can see him singing, enjoying blending his amazing tenor voice with other beautiful voices in heaven.  I enjoyed my five hour trip back home yesterday listening to funny memories my husband had made over the years with Mr. Louis.  Mr. Louis, my heart can never thank you enough for all you did for me and my family!  I can never thank you enough for the influence you had on me and my husband!  I pray that your laughter, wisdom, humility, compassion, forgiving spirit, and giving heart will be carried on throughout the years by all the people you touched.  We love you Mr. Louis!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Awww...what a moment!

Ok, so I was cleaning off my SD card and moving pictures onto a portable hard drive....and I came across this!  One of my all time favorite pictures!!!  I happen to catch this right when she kissed him!  LOVE IT!!!  Daddy and princess